This post isn’t for the narcissists among us, unless you have an interest in seeing how the rest of us feel about compliments. We are taught to say please and thank you as children, and perhaps some parents include the niceties of accepting a compliment. The rest of us not only turn varying shades of red when complimented, we get tongue tied. (I still have reading Peggy Klaus’ book, Brag! The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn Without Blowing It on my to-do list.)
I don’t remember my exact age, but it would have been in the 12-14 year range when my method of dealing with compliments was abruptly altered. Prior to this incident, I would argue with the person offering the compliment. (Sound familiar to anyone out there?) One day a well-meaning but sharp tongued adult told me that I was being rude by contradicting the compliment. I was taken aback and hadn’t yet found my more vocal current style.
Luckily the adult went on to say that if I felt uncomfortable with a compliment, the best response was always to say thank you. And leave it at that. No explanation necessary, certainly no need to contradict the compliment.
Since that day I mostly only continue the practice of hedging a compliment in my head. I have to qualify that because people who know me well read this blog and might feel the need to bring up a time or two when I didn’t just graciously accept a compliment. On an off moment, or couched in a weakness – like my lack of style.
Would any of you like to share an experience of giving or receiving a compliment? I have found as I get older that the more specific compliments are the most memorable and likely to impact the quality of someone’s day for the better.
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