I trained some teenagers on team building skills during the long vacation. Part of the games played was to write something good and complimentary about their colleagues in the class. The students initially were reluctant to do so largely because they felt they didn’t like everybody in the class. In fact, there was a particular girl they had planned for because according to them, she was a bully and very proud. I however, insisted that they must think deep and write something complimentary about everybody. After this little exercise, I asked them to pick their papers and read what was written about them. We later discussed how it felt being complimented and having to compliment someone. Some said it felt good to read the good stuff about them and they were able to see something nice about other people too. Of course, some said they felt strange doing the exercise and reading all the nice things written about them. However, the most important thing was that the majority felt good and were going to keep what their colleagues wrote about them.
A word of compliments boosts confidence and elicits cooperation from whoever we give it. No one is hundred percent bad or good but we should, whenever we see something good about someone highlight such good points. A simple good morning brings a smile to the face of whoever we say it to and a thank you shows that we are appreciative of the person who just served us. A smile brings a sense of camaraderie even if the smile is to a total stranger. There is something warm about a total stranger greeting and smiling at you. Smiling also makes us more approachable and removes the rough edges.
Being very generous with compliments shows that you have a positive and high self esteem. This also affects how people relate to you as a person. Generally people are drawn to you and want to have a relationship with you. Be respectful and courteous to people not because there is something you want from them but because that’s who you are as a person. Of course avoid being fake and insincere about your compliments because the recipient will always know if you are being insincere and this raises suspicion and could undermine a relationship.
The most memorable compliments are those that are specific and not vague. It shows that you are paying attention and actually notice the person. Compliments are like little gifts of love. They are neither asked for nor demanded. It tells the recipient that he is worthy of notice. How the compliment is received validates the donor. Unfortunately, most people like my students feel uncomfortable when they are being complimented. Given a negative response to a compliment deflates a donor. The best way to receive a compliment is to graciously smile and say thank you without having to explain it away.