Word-Of-the-Week #939: Compliment

August 4, 2022 by  

Compliment: an expression of praise, admiration, or congratulation.

When was the last time you paid someone a compliment? When was the last time someone paid you a compliment? Was the response (in either situation) “brushed off,” or discounted in any way?

I am a big believer in giving compliments and this week’s WOW features excerpts from “The Art of the Compliment: Everyone needs to know how to give and receive compliments,” by Hara Estroff Marano.

She writes, “Compliments are one of the most extraordinary components of social life. If given right they create so much positive energy that they make things happen almost as if by magic. They ease the atmosphere around two people and kindly dispose people to each other. Of course, there is a way to give them. And, just as important, a way to receive them. And everyone needs to know how to do both.

Compliments derive from taking notice of praiseworthy situations and efforts. So they are a mark of awareness and consciousness. We need to cultivate awareness of the good developments that are all around us.

People benefit from being the objects of compliments, but we also benefit being givers of them. Recipients benefit from knowing that we notice and learning that we value them. So compliments are powerful in motivating continued efforts. People strive to do more of what brings praise from others.

Compliments are little gifts of love. They are not asked for or demanded. They tell a person they are worthy of notice. The art of the compliment is not only a powerful social skill; it is one of the most fundamental. You don’t need to be an expert to do it well. You just need to be genuine. If compliments are a gift from a donor, their reception is equally a gift—a return gift to the giver. How a compliment is received can invalidate both the giver and the observation that inspired it.

Sadly, too many people discount compliments. Example: someone says, “Hey, you gave a really good presentation.” And you say, “Oh, I just slapped some stuff together in five minutes.” Such answers instantly suck the positivity out of the air and deflate the donor. They make the giver feel stupid for noticing and commenting on something so unworthy of praise. They totally invalidate the person’s judgment.

There is only one way to receive a compliment—graciously, with a smile.” And by saying, “Thank you.” One thing Chris and I do every day is tell each other how much we appreciate and love each other. Compliments abound and so does the positive energy they bring! Remember, what you think you about, you bring about. The same thing applies to expressing praise, admiration, and congratulation.

This week’s focus is on giving and receiving compliments. Who is worthy of praise long overdue? Who deserves to hear what a great job they’ve done? How many “gifts of love” could you give? How would it make you feel to have others know you value them?

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