The One About Compliments

On Monday night, I spent nearly four hours sitting in the corner of the dining hall. I was trying to figure out some homework, but more importantly, I was trying to write my article. One hour in, a friend of mine walked in, so I invited him to sit with me. Another friend joined us around the same time. Long story short, we ended up telling stories before I decided to start asking them questions that got progressively more personal.

One question was “What is the best compliment you’ve ever received?” I was not expecting the answer to be the story of the day we met when I complimented his band t-shirt. Now, it could have been a joke (at this point it was 11 p.m. and we were all exhausted, laughing over answers from some not-so-serious questions). However, that answer stuck out to me. It made me realize that though I try my best to compliment people, most people are way too shy to.

People don’t understand that their words can change someone’s day. They could make someone who’s having a bad day feel slightly better just by admitting that they like their shirt. A lot of people freeze up when people compliment them because they aren’t used to it. They aren’t used to having other people say that they like their hair or their outfit because people are so scared to be embarrassed by letting others know the things we like about them. The fear is rooted in how this person perceives us—we don’t want to compliment them in fear of them thinking we’re weird. When did it become weird to be kind to someone?

Now, I’ve been doing my best to compliment people even more than usual. Not overly complimenting everyone, but complimenting more people than just my group of friends. I started noticing how people change when you compliment a tattoo of theirs—I found out a boy does his own and we talked for a good couple of minutes about his tattoos. People leave with a smile when you say they were really good at the Open Mic you went to or that you think their haircut is cool.

The point is to be more conscious about complimenting people. Pay more attention to how much you do it and try to do it a little more. Contrary to what you may believe, they won’t think you’re weird for liking their shirt—they’ll be happy that you noticed. Just like you would want someone else to notice how you’re wearing a color that brings out your eyes or the ‘awesome kick’ you had during that soccer game; people love it when other people notice things about them. Other than that, I hope you’re all having a good week.