When’s the last time you stopped to compliment someone? Alternatively, when was the last time you received a compliment? Either way, a few seconds of face to face communication probably put a smile on your face and a spring in your step.
Like many social skills, the art of delivering and receiving compliments is on the wane in the hurly burly of 21st Century living.
Giving a compliment means you have taken the time to observe a positive attribute in another human being. To help the recipient out, it pays to make sure the compliment is specific and spontaneous. Don’t spend days agonising over how to make the comment. A compliment should be heartfelt so practising in front of a mirror beforehand is probably going to lead to a robotic, contrived delivery that could have the opposite of the intended effect leaving the recipient, flustered, awkward or uncomfortable.
A compliment is a verbal pat on the back – and we all need those! It could be based on anything from recognition of the person’s kindness or efforts to their skills and expertise. Comments on physical appearance should probably be given sparingly – there’s just too much room for things to go wrong! Regardless of how well-intended you comments may be, if your attention clearly makes the other person uncomfortable, back off. It’s not serving its purpose!
Similarly, receiving a compliment is also an art form. Don’t reject the compliment out of hand. Smile, make eye contact with the person and take a moment to enjoy the praise. Be gracious yet humble. Compliments can be a great boost to self-esteem and help us to connect with each other.
And remember to pay to forward. If receiving a compliment on an otherwise gruelling day gave you a welcome lift, aim to do the same for someone else. You might just make their day.