One of the rules I try to live by is to pay lots of compliments.
I don’t mean smarmy false flattery.
I mean the real thing.
I believe there is at least one occasion EVERY DAY to pay someone a sincere compliment.
Just look around you. You are surrounded by people looking nice, doing great work, trying their best. Tell them so.
It makes them – and you – feel really good.
To help you get started with daily compliments, here are a few suggestions:
1. When you are in a restaurant, and the kids at the next table are being well-behaved, go up to the table and tell the parents so. Lots of kids are great in restaurants. But parents only seem to hear about the times their kids aren’t so great.
2. At work, when someone says something really smart in a meeting, say, “What a good idea” for everyone to hear. And then after the meeting is over, send that person an email saying, “You were awesome today.”
3. If a salesperson gives you advice, don’t just respond with a cursory thank you. Be personal. Say, “You are really helpful and I appreciate it.”
4. Teenagers may often act like assholes, but underneath they are insecure. (Remember… you were there, and you were a mess.) Find something truly nice to comment on. Say, “What beautiful eyelashes you have” to the girl who packs your groceries. Even if she puts the bread on the bottom.
5. Do the same for older people. Older women often pride themselves on the good taste they have acquired over a lifetime. When you are standing next to an older lady, you can usually find something that expresses the care she takes to look nice. A good purse, a pretty scarf, earrings, perfume. Notice what it is, and tell her.
6. Do you have subordinates? Don’t just tell them what to do. Tell them, “I need your help.” Say, “I’m glad you’re here.” And when they do something right, don’t say “Good.” Say “Great.” Say “Perfect!” if it is.
7. And almost everybody has a boss. When she shows you something new or explains something, tell her she’s a good teacher, if she is. Say, “Thanks. I get it now. You really made it clear.”
8. It’s easy to take your spouse for granted. I certainly do. But every now and then, try to remember to appreciate some of the small things he does. Does he make the coffee in the morning? Say, “I love coming into the kitchen and having a cup of coffee waiting for me.” When you’re going out, before he can tell you that you look nice (which of course he SHOULD), tell him first – “You look great!”
9. For all men: (teenagers, young men, old men, and probably toddlers): “Nice car.”
Note: This is an audience-participation post. Please add the compliments that you like to give – or like to hear!