Did you compliment someone?

So did you compliment a stranger?

A couple of weeks ago I gave you a weekend assignment to give a complete stranger a compliment.

I didn’t really mean to do a follow up on your assignment and I’m definitely not grading you. I mean what’s the point of that if I don’t even have gold stars to give you. The only reason to take part in any assignment is for the gold star at the top of the page. Not to say you did a good job, but just because who doesn’t like a shiny gold star that smells like adhesive?

 

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But a few of you went BACK to the original post to tell me what you did and who you complimented so I thought I’d open the gates and let everyone talk about what they did and who they did it for.

Not because we should all brag about how great we are, I’m just curious about it.

If you didn’t read the original post or you didn’t have the opportunity to compliment a complete stranger on their rock hard ass or excellent math skills then feel free to tell us about a compliment you got and still remember.

I can give you one. It didn’t come from a stranger, it came from my father when I was young. Maybe 10 or 12.

We were in the local grocery store parking lot and an old woman was trying to pull into a parking space but someone had left their grocery cart there. This was back in the day when grocery carts were left willy nilly all over the place because stores hadn’t thought up the brilliant idea to have a corral for carts in the actual parking lot.

I ran over to the parking spot and pulled the cart out so the woman could park. When I ran back to where my father was he said “Not everyone would have done that”. And that was it. No gushing, no elaborating, no telling me what a wonderful human being I was. Just .. “Not everyone would have done that”. The same sentence could have been uttered if I’d punched the old lady in the nose, but it’s a sentence I’ll never forget for some reason. I’m sure my father complimented me at other times but he wasn’t what you’d call gushy. His personalized license plate was “Grump”.

I think there’s a certain cache that comes from getting a compliment from an otherwise miserable person. It seems to mean more than getting one from someone who compliments everything and everyone.  It also had nothing to do with how I looked or what skills I had.  It was a compliment about me as a human being.  It was a compliment to my character.

I have no idea if that compliment made my day at the time but I do know it helped to make me who I am. That One. Single. Sentence.

Mind you I also fondly remember the time someone told me I had a great ass.

Have a good weekend.

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80 Comments

  1. Liz says:

    My only comment on this post re your fathers comments is that I like to compliment people – I don’t want people to value my individual compliments any less because I make an effort not to be a grump? Cause trust me, I can out grump some of the best 😛

  2. Kathy Hartzell says:

    I like to offer complements whenever I can. For example, at the checkout at Target, the clerk has a colorful hair ornament, tell her it is attractive. I guarantee you will give her a boost.

    The very next day after you gave the assignment, I was hosting a party and my contractor and his wife arrived….as he was walking in, he complemented me on my blouse…..I swear, I wanted to ask if he reads your blog. Nice fellow that he is, and he is not only competent and creative, but a genuinely nice guy with a lovely family, but the six months he practically lived here I doubt he ever

  3. Jamieson says:

    When I was 20 and waiting in a dance club* coat check lineup at the end of the night, a very fashionable woman of my age said “you’re a great dancer.” I imagine I had been really loose and enjoying the music on the dance floor upstairs and it showed. I was so embarrassed and confused: I couldn’t fathom why any stranger would actually compliment me on my dancing ability. Anyway, I shot her an ugly look and a sarcastic reply, my self-consciousness about the situation making me fear her comment was actually a sarcastic jab. She said “Geez, learn how to accept a compliment” and walked away.
    After she left I decided I would indeed accept the compliment. Even more importantly in the long run however, I decided to steel myself when receiving a compliment, thanking the person and accepting that it is actually sincere rather than caving to my own self-doubt and assuming the aim is to poke fun. Eventually this came more naturally to me and I am now a gracious compliment receiver (and giver).
    So here I will thank that stranger 25 years ago for boldly complimenting another stranger and teaching them a valuable lesson in human relations, too.
    That is the end of my tale.
    *The Big Bop, circa April 1989.

    • Nancy Blue Moon says:

      That is a great story Jamieson..and a very valuable lesson to learn indeed..

    • Barbie says:

      Thanks for sharing that Jamieson! What a lovely story of humble learning. Not everyone can admit to things like that. I have also had to learn many lessons through the school of hard knocks! 🙂

  4. michele says:

    I did not ‘complement’ per se…
    BUT…I did go over to meet a new neighbor who’s child is (I suspect) on the autism spectrum. He is almost three…and have NO words.

    I also have a special needs kiddo…not autism, but medically fragile and gross developmental delays.

    Anyway, I brought over some ‘bubbles’ (what kid OR adult does NOT like bubbles???) and I feel the mom felt that I ‘got’ her son…and was not ‘judging’ her. (if that even makes sense)

    • Amber says:

      Hi Michele, so wonderful you were able to see your friends’ feelings. It’s hard to do, you deserve real recognition!
      You might like this Ted Talk, from a boy with autism who didn’t talk until, I think, five? Look into him, see what his mum has to say. You might find something good there, for yours and for your friend’s children.
      All my best,
      Amber
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uq-FOOQ1TpE

    • Tigersmom says:

      As a parent of a child who is on the spectrum (high functioning but on the spectrum, nonetheless) I can’t tell you how much it means to have someone ‘get’ my son and not judge. There is real anguish in seeing your child be dismissed or discounted or misunderstood. And real tension and stress in never knowing how your child is going to be received in new situations.

      So, for what it’s worth, I think your gesture definitely qualifies and prompts me to compliment you on your incredibly kind act.

  5. mia pratt says:

    I stopped with a small street dog laying outside the butcher shop and petted him and told him he was beautiful, and then I gave him a meaty bone from the bag I was carrying home for my dog. How could I not? He thanked me for the compliment, of course, having great manners despite his current situation, which told me that at some point in his life, he had a human of some means and social status. Then he ran off with the bone towards the lake shore. Seeing the look on his his smiling, drooling face as he ran off made my day<:}

  6. Mike says:

    I failed at that assignment, and I felt guilty because that weekend I received compliments on my shoes, tie, moustache, a different pair of shoes, and someone told me I was amazing. All from strangers too.

    But a few months ago I told a girl that I liked her shoes, so it all balances out.

  7. Amber says:

    A woman at the local gas station told me that I always have ‘such sparkly eyes’ 😀
    I assume she is a reader of yours, as no one ever randomly compliments me. So thank you Karen, for making someone notice that I have sparkly eyes! I’ve never had those before, and like them a lot.

  8. Janice says:

    When I bought my last pair of eyeglasses, I chose a vintage cat-eye frame to match the theme of my upcoming retro-style wedding. Retro because I love the look and retro because I was a first-time bride a age 47. My dress was tea-length, I wore a huge turquoise crinoline under it and I was planning to wear gloves and a fascinator instead of a veil. But, the best part of this story is what comes next. I was doing a trial run of hair and makeup for the big day at a trendy salon. As I was walking out, I bumped into a very hip, young man whose style I admired. After we both apologized for crashing into each other, he gave me a once over look and said, “I get it, the hair, the makeup – – those glasses…..you are retro chic and killing it”. Absolutely made my day.

  9. Rosey says:

    My favorite comment was from a girl in High school ahead of me a couple of grades. I admired her because she always seemed so friendly and well-liked. She stopped me one day and told me that I always seemed happy and that I had a beautiful smile. Absolutely made my freshman/teenager day! It also taught me a lesson that people liked this girl because she was kind and tried to build people up. I knew if I could do that I would always have a friend. Compliments are the best!

  10. Dana says:

    My son, when he was little, would scream at the grocery store check out. Every time. From birth to about 3. One time my older daughter was pestering me for something, my tiny son was screaming, and a woman went out of her way to tell me that the way I was parenting was wonderful, and that she was a social worker, or counsellor, or something like that, and that she appreciated seeing it. I was at the end of my rope that day, and this was a very wonderful compliment to receive.

  11. Melissa says:

    I have a strong inner critic, and taking complements are hard for me. The most recent nice thing that someone told me was my neighbor, who told me that “she was so glad we are here”. My husband and I bought our house about a year ago, and I am the newest and youngest person to join the neighborhood in probably 20 years.

    The complement I gave, in honor of your challenge, was to a women about my age, that I was sitting next to at a workshop. I told her that I really loved her sweater color, and it really complemented her hair. It felt nice to say, but she certainly seemed surprised!

  12. Louise says:

    One compliment that stands out for me happened my first year in high school. I was definitely feeling an “outsider,” as I knew absolutely no one there, and because I was, well . . . different. I was in the bathroom, putting on my deep pink lipstick (in the 1970’s, when everyone wore white, frosty stuff), and one of the most popular seniors walked in. She looked at me, then said, “You know, you are going to be a real beauty when you get older.” I gaped at her, and she just turned around and left. What a lovely, kind thing to say to a 14 yr. old who was in the throes of teenaged insecurity!

  13. Stephanie Hobson says:

    I fell in love with my granddaughter’s new boyfriend when he told her that I was “adorable”. I’m 69 and don’t think anyone has ever called me that before. lol

  14. Ramona says:

    I have taught my children from when they were young, if you are thinking something nice about someone, just say it to them. You will always make them smile, maybe even make their whole day. It always warmed me down to my toes when I would witness one of them sharing their nice thoughts with another. I follow that advice, so I am constantly complimenting others. It’s just so easy to do, and its free! And it feels good to see a perfect stranger’s (or friend’s) face light up. One that stands out to me from that weekend was when I was at the grocery store. A lady was walking toward me and had on the coolest retro looking dress. As she was just about to pass by, I blurted out “awesome dress!” I think I surprised her a bit, as that was our only interaction with each other, plus the look on her face, lol! But I did hear her thank me even after we had already passed each other. Compliments may not phase some people, or matter much, but you just never know when a few kind words could change someone’s whole day around. Love this post, Karen! And to everyone else… If you’re thinking it, just say it!

    • Sarah In Illinois says:

      I love that you are teaching your kids to compliment others! I am going to start teaching my step-kids to do the same! And of course, remind myself to complement others at the same time!

      • Ramona says:

        It’s so easy… You never have to concoct something, it’s ALWAYS sincere. If you’re thinking it, just put a voice to that thought! How many times have you thought ‘wow, what a great smile!’ or ‘nice hair!’ or ‘what a great waitress!’? Just say it! And one thing I’ve noticed over and over on this post is how people are saying that sharing a compliment left a smile on their own face. I love that!

  15. Tracie says:

    I have made a point to compliment several strangers since your original post, Karen. Usually in the elevator as I head to work. There is always somebody who has the cutest shoes or a really great hairstyle, which I boldly make some sort of reference to. I’ve noticed that when giving someone a compliment, they either accept it very happily, and with some great surprise, or look at you like you’re some kind of idiot. I prefer the former. One of my most precious compliments came second hand. My best friend’s husband said to my then boyfriend, during some sort of bonding ritual, “you’re a lucky guy, she’d be such an easy woman to fall in love with.” Awww……p.s. I’m actually on the current post, I should get a compliment for that, being as I’m always so far behind…..

  16. Dagmar says:

    First off, Jamieson, your story touched my heart. It goes to show that it takes one act of kindness to change someone’s life forever. I don’t know whether anyone else on this blog does this, but I have days where I wonder whether my past actions or words have changed someone’s life forever ? (in either a good way, or a bad way) I sometimes wish that I could let people from my past know how much of an impact they had on me. I will take a page from your book, Jamieson, I am putting my thank you’s out into the universe. Or, in this case, the most incredible blog I know. And Karen, thank you for allowing us into your life, and in turn letting us interact with each other. Such bonus points for you in heaven!

  17. Farquist says:

    I played in a Jazz Band in high school in the 70’s and we got a gig for New Year’s Eve. We were required to dress formally for the occasion. I wore a long-sleeved, form-fitted white blouse with a mermaid style, long, black skirt. An older member of the Band who was popular and beautiful told me I looked like Mary Tyler Moore. Now I look more like Lou Grant, but I’ll never forget that compliment.

  18. Susan says:

    I find with age that my mouth filters have eroded and I mostly say exactly what I think. Luckily, my thoughts are usually nice ones since I have a little convenience store, but some men are quite taken aback when I tell them how good they smell. I don’t say that to too many women ; most inexpensive perfumes smell just like bug spray to me. But it’s so easy to tell people what a pretty outfit they have on or how much that colour suits them or how nice their new haircut is. I don’t look for nice things to say; like the assignment, I just think it and say it out loud. As a side effect, it’s really good for business. A wise man once said, “the secret to success is sincerity. Once you can fake that, you’ve got it made.”
    Jamieson’s story is a wake-up call to us all, on a more serious note.

  19. Su says:

    These stories are awesome! I once saw a small girl about 5 or 6 with her momma in the store. Child had obviously dressed herself and wore a plaid wool skirt with a bright neon green flowered shirt, cowboy boots, fake fur vest and a fairy wand. She was dancing around the shopping cart. I smiled and stopped and told her that I loved her outfit and that she had a super smart mommy who obviously knew how special she was. Mom smiled real big and told me that she had learned that her daughter had a mind of her own and she was picking her battles. I told her (having raised three likewise strong minded daughters) that attitude would serve both of them well in latter years. I think she really liked that someone wasn’t judging her on how the child was dressed.

  20. Jody says:

    I did compliment a stranger at the grocery store the same day as the post. I didn’t compliment her because of the post but because I really liked her earrings. If I like something someone is wearing or their hairstyle or….whatever, I quite often will pass along a compliment This young woman seemed so pleased and perhaps a bit embarrassed she even made told her mom about the lady who like her earrings. She was about 12.

  21. Tigersmom says:

    I was watching my son’s swimming class and kept noticing the enormous smile and wonderfully happy demeanor of another younger little boy in a different group. He was enjoying himself so much and taking on every instruction with joy and abandon that I couldn’t help but smile. About halfway through the lesson a woman dressed in scrubs came in. She waved and smiled at this little boy and then went to greet her toddler who was with her nanny.

    Toward the end of the lesson she came around to the side of the pool where I was to get a closer view of her son. I asked her if he was hers and she said yes. I told her how wonderful his smile was and how much I had been enjoying him in his joy and how fun he was to watch and she just beamed as she thanked me.

  22. Jane says:

    When I was recently separated and took a job at a small cafe a school friend from many, many years ago came in. We had always walked to school together….I was the cute little blonde girl that had lots of friends. She on the other hand looked like the teacher in grade four and her mom was a single mother…..still rather uncommon 40 yrs ago in a small town. Thankfully, I never thought about any of this and we walked and laughed back and forth to school for several years. I can’t even remember whether we “hung out” in the playground or not. Anyway, she came into the cafe, told me she’d had several scares with cancer and now makes a point to seek out people who were special in her life. She very kindly told me how important I had been to her during those years…..brought tears to my eyes! So, like other readers have said…..be nice to everyone, pay compliments….you just never know how much good you’re doing in someone else’s life!

  23. Luanne says:

    I thanked a stranger for brining some humour and a fun interchange when we were both fighting our desire to be anywhere but where we were. She smiled politely, and as I walked away, I saw her consider the “thank-you” and her expression slowly turned from confusion to happy. It was nice. 🙂

  24. Nancy R. says:

    I complimented the cashier at Canada’s Wonderland about her starfish earrings. At first I was grumpy about paying $20 for parking but then when I saw her earrings, thought about summer and swimming in the lake I was cheered up. She had such a wonderful smile on her face after I told her how adorable her earrings were. Made my day.

  25. Rebecca says:

    It really feels so great to be given a genuine compliment by a stranger. Over the past 2 years, I’ve really learned to accept compliments versus writing them off as some joke or doing the compliment the person who complimented you instead of thanking them thing.

    So a few months back, I was leaving the gym and didn’t really give my hair much thought but as I was walking out of the locker room a girl was walking in and she stopped me to tell me how much she loved my hair. It caught me by surprise and couldn’t have come at a better time. I felt unnattractive (in general) and desperate for a haircut. It wasn’t much but it made me beam.

    I give compliments to people I know all the time but I’ve been making a solid effort to compliment strangers more often, usually about what they’re wearing.

  26. Dee says:

    I told a co-worker I met for the first time that her hair was gorgeous.

  27. Kim from Milwaukee says:

    I have the affliction of saying whatever I feel as well, so there are very few days that go by that I don’t say something to someone about what they’re wearing, how they look, etc. However, it has taken many years to feel comfortable going out in public without any makeup on, which always brings to mind the most memorable compliment I’ve ever received.

    I was about 12-13, walking into the corner drugstore to buy pads, didn’t have a stitch of makeup on because I was just popping in quickly for my emergency, when a older man, out of the blue, said ‘You’re going to be Miss America someday.’ I looked around wondering who he was talking to, and he smiled at me. I was so embarrassed that someone noticed me, but to this day I’ll never forget the impact that had on little ole me. Took decades to sink in, but that was the kindest thing anyone has ever said and at the perfect time in my life, too. Bless you, Mister, wherever you are!

  28. Patti says:

    I was surprised how hard it was for me to compliment a stranger. I regularly compliment people I know, but opening up to a stranger was difficult! I commute to NYC every day on the railroad. I’ve always admired the style of this one woman I see daily, she always looks so put together and stylish but I’ve never said anything to her (commuters don’t speak to each other after all). Anyway, after reading the original post, I pulled myself together and when the train pulled into the station and we were all filing out, I told her how much I loved the dress she was wearing and asked her where she got it. She seemed appreciative of the compliment (she probably gets compliements all the time) but it made me feel good to say something nice to her. I left the train with a smile on MY face!

  29. SuzyMcQ says:

    I try to compliment people often and really sort of love the surprise on their faces, so it’s become somewhat of a challenge to see who I can startle the most. I always, always, tell parents of well-behaved kids in restaurants how proud they should be of their children, and, compliment people in the grocery store…it’s a great place to compliment because they just aren’t expecting it. Just this week I was perusing the paper plate section with another female shopper. I knew she and I had the same motive, finding the nicest plates for the best price. As we discussed the pros and cons of what was available, it became clear, fairly quickly, that she had found the best size and quantity at the best price. I told her she was amazing in her deductive abilities and thanked her for her shopping prowess. She walked away with the biggest smile….all over paper plates.

  30. Olga says:

    Karen, are you going to post some pictures of your ass so we can see if the person complimenting you wasn’t lying to you?
    I have to say that I’m afraid giving people compliments in person, and not because they might take it in the wrong way, but because I am shy with “new” people and saying something to a stranger will make me more uncomfortable then them. I hate receiving compliments also, it makes me blush and then I wonder for the rest of my day (or two), about my hair, my purse…my ass or whatever else they might complimented me about, like “why they even noticed me? should I change my hair? (my purse…my ass)”…

  31. Nancy says:

    I work with a woman that is mean as a junkyard dog. With beautiful hair. Because of our assignment, instead of avoiding her, I complimented her on her gorgeous hair. She sat and gaped at me and said “what do You want?” Poor thing, bless her heart, now I feel sorry for her.

    • Ramona says:

      Ha ha!! I would have said (with the same attitude that she had towards you) “What I WANT is for YOU to know that I think you have gorgeous hair!” And then spun on my heel and left… LOL! No, that’s not true. I am never savvy enough to think of what to say at the exact moment, but I for sure would have thought it, after the fact…

  32. Barbara says:

    I go to a lab for routine blood work once a year. The lab tech is very stoic, and easy to classify as a “sour puss.” I usually find something genuine to compliment her on, and she’ll smile and thank me. I think that is a positive way for both of us to begin our day.

  33. Mel says:

    When I was 17 my high school sweetheart broke my heart a few weeks before prom. My sadness must have shown on my face because a customer at my part time job as a cashier asked what was wrong. I told him and he empathized with me. 15 minutes later he came up to my line with an envelope, smiled, put it down and walked away. Inside was some happy face stickers and a card in which he wrote that a nice girl like me deserves to have a smile on her face.
    It was one of the kindest things anyone has ever done for me. I have never seen him again but I will never forget his kindness.

  34. annie says:

    There is a woman i see regularly and love her cropped hair cut. So, last week, i did the obvious thing….. complimented her on her very cute and well suited hair cut???? no certainly not. Because it wasn’t preconceived or planned in any way i just said the first thing that came into my mind as we were chatting.
    “i really love the shape of you head.” oh yes i did say that and i REALLY meant it. not everyone can pull off the halle barrie cropped look. and mostly it has to do with the shape of your head.

    and you know what? i think she really revelled in the compliment. She kind of had that look like “you know what? i DO have a nice shaped head.” or maybe “you know what? you were TOTALLY dropped on YOUR head.” one of those thoughts was surely running through her mind. either way i think it was a good moment for her!

  35. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    I am always happy to give a compliment..when you put a smile on someone’s face you also put one on your own..I can’t think of one in particular at the moment but I do remember a very special thing that someone I admire very much did for me on my 60th birthday..She posted about it on her blog for the whole world to see..some women might be offended by having that done to them but it made me feel so special..I felt like I was floating the rest of the day because you see..I do not have the kind of close family that some of you are so lucky to have..My parents & brother are gone..my 2 sisters are busy with their friends and I see them maybe a couple times a year..and they do not speak to each other..I do not feel sorry for myself but am just stating the facts..That was the only Happy Birthday I received that day except for my son and boyfriend..So I just want to say Thank You again for thinking of me in your busy life..to me it was a most wonderful compliment….Oh yeah..nice ass..lol

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Nancy. And see? I had no idea that mine would be one of only a few birthday greetings you got. Again proving, you never know what the effect of what you say will have on someone. 🙂 ~ karen

  36. jeannie B says:

    I haven’t been in touch with any “strangers ” this week but I always try to give genuine compliments to everyone I meet. Because I know that saying kind and thoughtful things can touch a person’s soul. And you never know what is in another’s heart and what trials they can be going through. It’s very evident from these postings, how a kind word can last a lifetime.
    Well, actually, I did meet one stranger this week. He or she, was a young raccoon, sitting on the top of a bush outside of my kitchen window, in the moonlight, eating birdseed out of one of the feeders. So I, leaning on my windowsill, told him that he was being very neat in not spilling the seed or not damaging the feeder. lol He paid no attention!

  37. Alice says:

    I told a woman at Dollarama that she had very well-behaved children. First she looked surprised, then she said, “They’d better be!”, then she smiled and thanked me. I think that went well.

  38. Tres says:

    Not this weekend (in fact 40+ years ago) I had a 2nd grade teacher who was celebrating her 40th birthday. Apparently I came up to her and said, “You may look 40 but you sure don’t act it.”

    I have run into her a couple of times as an adult and she will tell that story to anyone around – says it is her favorite complement of all time.

  39. Katie says:

    What a coincidence! Just today I was telling a friend about the original post and the compliment I gave…

    There is an incredibly kind man who works at my gym. He always stops his scrubbing, sweeping, or emptying of garbage cans to say hello. Last week he was painstakingly picking up tiny pieces of litter that had accumulated in the parking lot. I was admiring his work and was ready to drive away when I thought of your challenge and decided to share my appreciation. I got out of the car and said, “Thank you so much for helping to make this a beautiful place. Everywhere else in our neighborhood is such a dump, and it makes a big difference!” It was really nice to see how happy the compliment made him! Also, I feel like I’m not alone in my daily crusade against the litter in our neighborhood!

  40. Ellen says:

    I work in retail, so I see a lot of people in the course of the day. It’s second nature for me to compliment people. I like to think that if you think something that’s both good and true you should say it right away. You never know who is starving for a kind word.

  41. Linda S. in NE says:

    I was house-bound the weekend of our assignment, but I think I made up for it the following week at the grocery store. I complimented three strangers inside the store, and carried the kindness out into the parking lot where a man was circling trying to find the best parking space. His driver side window was down, so I yelled, “Nice truck”! It really was a nice looking vehicle, and one he obviously took pride in owning. He had already gone past me, but I did hear him yell back, “Thank you”.
    The compliment I will never forget occurred more than 45 years ago. (So how is that even possible?!?) I was young and single, on my lunch break from working at a bank. I was waiting with others in the crosswalk, waiting for the light to change. A gentleman walking from the opposite direction made eye contact with me and said, “You have the most beautiful legs”! Not only made my day, but also my memory bank.

  42. Kristin Ferguson says:

    I have always made a habit of complimenting strangers whenever I can, ever since I read How to Win Friends and Influence People (which, if you haven’t read it, you should. It’s not actually about trying to manipulate your acquaintances. It’s mostly about how to be a better person.) Dale Carnegie tells a story about how he was waiting in line at the post office and could see that the clerk was in a bad mood and overworked. He looked to find something he could sincerely compliment him on, and he noticed the man had a terrific head of hair. When he got up to the clerk he said so, and the man just beamed. That story really stuck with me. Usually I just compliment people because I genuinely like something about them and it is spontaneous, but occasionally I’ll actually anticipate their crankiness and forestall it with a compliment.

  43. LazySusan says:

    I’m sort of a serial complimenter. Somewhere in my late 20’s, I started telling people what was crossing my mind, when it was favorable to them, and haven’t stopped. Before that I was too shy, but somewhere around mid-20’s, it just started feeling really good to see a surprised and happy smile on the face of someone I didn’t know. I also try to make easy the life of someone whose path I cross who is having a bad day or a rough time, like waitresses, cashiers, pretty much anyone who has to deal with the public. If you’ve never dealt with the public in a service capacity, it’s amazing how many rude and downright unkind people exist. It’s nice to be able to put a smile on the face of someone having a bad day by just being nice to them. So, yes, I fulfilled the assignment, every single day.

  44. kris says:

    I told a random woman the other day that her dress was beautiful and she looked fantastic in it. And it really was and she REALLY did! She seemed a little shy and slightly taken aback, but I hope it made her happy. 🙂

  45. Jan In Waterdown says:

    I have a lot of fun giving a compliment to a dad holding a small child . . . as I walk by, I say something like “What a cutie! . . . and the kid’s not bad either!” That never fails to get a good laugh from both of us. Win/Win!

  46. Jacqueline says:

    It’s funny that one of your most memorable compliment moments occurred in a parking lot (I loved that story, by the way)– the compliment story I’m about to share also occurred in a parking lot. The parking lot of a grocery store. I was in a self-checkout line at my local grocery store, and I saw that there was obvious tension with the couple in line ahead of me. I have no idea what their back-story was, but the guy seemed to be shooting the girl down at every chance he got. “Don’t put things in the bags that way;” “Is that really a good price?” etc. After self-bagging their self-checked goods, they left the store. I proceeded to go through the motions at the self-check lane, all the while thinking about this couple and feeling a strange sense of worry. Anyhow, when I got out to my car, there they were! Right next to my car. The same two folks who’d been in line ahead of me, loading up their car with grocery bags. I complimented the girl on her dress, and the compliment was sincere (it was a flowing, white, summery dress, and she looked great in it). I felt like after that moment, she had an added lift to her steps– it was a private happiness that seemed to take her away from the negativity her partner was radiating. I hope, in its small way, it gave her a little boost that somehow helped her regain her footing that night.

  47. Muff says:

    My parents and I were at a concert on Monday night – really enjoyed the evening. At the break I stood to stretch and the gentleman behind me (who had also been really enjoying the concert) was wearing the most beautiful turquoise shirt paired with a black vest and trousers – very smart on him. I smiled through the second half of the show and when we were standing up to go I took the opportunity to say what a great colour that was on him. He was tickled. We chatted for a moment and he told me that he had auditioned for the group we were watching a week ago and had just found out he had been accepted. He was so excited! I told him how great that was and we hugged (I’m at least old enough to be his mum). Made my night as well as his I think. Afterwards my mum, who had been excited for him as well, said to me “Do we know him?” No mum, it just felt right to say something.

  48. Jamieson says:

    I’ve just put into words a thought I’ve had for some time, Karen. Every morning for years now I have thoroughly delighted in reading and watching your hilarious, insightful stories. By sharing your creative adventures, growing your own food, tearing up your land, raising your chickens, and grinning and growing through the occasional hardship, YOU Karen have become my own private Laura Ingalls Wilder.*

    *and on rare occasions my Nellie Olsen

  49. Christy says:

    Confession. Compliments – I love to give ’em and to get ’em! 🙂 Great post!

  50. The world needs more posts like this for sure. You are awesome!! And, that’s one of the many compliments we can think of to describe you!

  51. CGH says:

    As long as they’re genuine, they’re great! Great post!

  52. Becky says:

    Oh, oh, oh! Although I did follow through on your original assignment, and commented then…I have to tell about a compliment I paid this weekend (without even thinking about your original post, I must confess).

    I was at a big family and friends gathering hosted by my cousin, and the children were enjoying the pool. One little boy–maybe 11 or 12 years old–was just going about his business, doing flips off the diving board. I was watching in awe, such unselfconscious athletic grace. Finally I just had to tell him how cool I thought that was, and how good he was at it. He thanked me, and I could see a little more spring in his step after that.

    I was just reminded how much it helps a child’s self-esteem when any accomplishment or skill is noted. And I wasn’t “consciously” even thinking I was complimenting him–I *was* in awe of that little guy’s ability.

  53. I do this all the time and I did it the other day. I was picking my daughter up from gymnastics and one of her team members had a family friend visiting. She was a teen (probably 15-ish) and just had the prettiest smile. When my friend introduced me to them, I told her how pretty she was and what a gorgeous smile she had. I know she was taken aback. People don’t tell teens that stuff and teens so desperately need to hear it. It is my preference to compliment people on WHO they are more than their looks, clothes etc but it is harder to find those opportunities among strangers. I take them when I see them though.

    Karen, your blog is so much more than a blog. It is a community of goodness here and you are making the world a better place. You make me a better person. Heck we even have a garden now!

    • Karen says:

      OK. you people are starting to think I’m a much better person than I am, lol. I’m not! I’m actually pretty cutting. Sarcastic. Tough. Kindda mean, really. If I do say so myself. ~ karen!

      • Tigersmom says:

        Being someone who is also fluent in sarcasm and capable of the odd catty remark myself, that doesn’t mean that you or I are not good people. I’m pretty sure you never set out to do harm or inflict injury, it’s just that patience has its limits and a low tolerance for bullshit is often required for preservation of one’s sanity. You don’t strike me as someone who strikes first or without provocation.

        Proportionately, you do more good than harm. Much more good than you realize, I suspect, with the amount of inspiration you provide to your readers. The kind of inspiration that leads to increased self-confidence and improved feelings of self-worthiness and capability.

        You can’t just go out and buy that shit, so take the compliment, Silly! ; )

  54. Becky says:

    What Tigersmom just said!

  55. Karol says:

    I sent a letter to all of my FB friends 60 days before my 60th birthday, and asked each of them to perform a random act of kindness every day in lieu of gifts or a birthday celebration. My favorite response was from my office mate/friend who not only did what I asked, but did it for an ENTIRE YEAR and journaled it. She presented me with the journal on my 61st birthday.
    I believe strongly in paying it forward. It was the nicest gift I have ever received.

  56. Kari says:

    I told a girl she had pretty mermaid hair and she loved it and we smiled at each other all weird and awesome and stuff. Then, later that day, a woman helped me stuff a large deck bench into my small trunk and I didn’t even ask for her help. Karma! But this is by far my favorite, a couple of days ago a little boy was pushing his brother in a wheel chair and they just stopped and said “hey” but they seemed kind of shy, but when I smiled and said hey back they gave me the sweetest smiles I think I’ve ever seen. I don’t know, I have never in my life, my heart just completely melted to the ground, I seriously died.

  57. Mike says:

    Finally did it! I told a girl that I loved her glasses. She told me she loved my moustache. Then I made her coffee.

    The End.

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