Is There Such a Thing as a Bad Compliment? (Correct Answer: Yes. Yes There Is.)

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Ah, the well-paid compliment. Nothing adds a spot of sunshine to your day like a genuine effort of admiration given to you by someone you hold in high esteem. Or a well-dressed stranger with a nice haircut. Truly, it matters less who is delivering the compliment and more that it's sincere -- and that the person stops talking before accidentally undoing the compliment. Some real-life examples:

Good compliment:
"Mom! I'm so glad you wear cute clothes so we can share!"

Undoing compliment:
"Except for pants. I don't think we can share those."

The save:
"Only because your legs are longer than mine!"

Just this week:

Good compliment (by a teenage girl who probably wanted to go shopping or something, but whatever):
"Wait, Justin Timberlake is only 33? Dang, you have almost 10 years on him and you look waaaaay younger than him."

Undoing compliment (by another person after hearing said compliment):
"Yeah, Justin Timberlake looks OLD."

The save:
"Whoa, that came out totally wrong. What I meant was you definitely look younger than a 33-year-old!"

I'm trying to teach my girls to look for opportunities to pay genuine compliments to people. To notice their fellow human beings have made an effort and to give them a little love for it. Why? Because a sincere compliment leaves a person feeling warm, and appreciated, and better off for having encountered you that day. And they will generally remember those lovely compliments well after you've crossed paths. Which is nice, too. It does seem, however, we still have a little work to do on the "seizing opportunities" front, as evidenced in my recent Facebook post:

Amy McCormick Dawson

It's a work in progress, people. Also, I would like to genuinely compliment you each and every one for your outstanding taste in blog reading. Exquisite!

XO --

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