Just say it out loud.
A weekend assignment for you.

 

Men. You’re gonna have a hard time with this.

But it doesn’t mean you’re exempt.

I have another weekend assignment for you. For some it’ll be incredibly easy, for others, absolute torture.

I want you to compliment someone.

I want you to compliment someone you don’t know.

You do not know this person from a hole in the ground. They are strangers. Maybe even strange.

There isn’t a single person on this planet who doesn’t appreciate a compliment and it’s even better when it’s from a stranger.

How often have you seen someone and thought “I love their hair.” Or their jeans or their sweater or their eyebrows? Usually we keep this information to ourselves. So then Miss. Perfect eyebrows, who probably spends half her life getting perfect eyebrows never hears about how we too think she has perfect eyebrows.

We’re all guilty of talking about other people behind their backs, and that doesn’t just apply to their questionable taste in footwear. We tend to do it with the good things too. Like, Renee looks great lately, doesn’t she? We’ll say that to whoever we’re standing beside. Unless we’re standing beside Renee.

In the grocery store we’ll see someone who has a nice wallet or an incredibly polite child. We just observe these things and keep them to ourselves.

But why? Why when a compliment is so easy to give and it makes someone else’s day so much better?

Because we’re afraid. Afraid of offending them, afraid of invading their space, afraid they’ll take it the wrong way, afraid we’ll somehow look like an idiot. Also we just can’t be bothered. It takes a lot of energy to muster up the breath and the sentence. Plus if you’re shy it’s even harder.

If you’re a man it’s doubly hard because if you compliment a woman you’re afraid you’ll be seen as hitting on her and if you compliment another man, you’re afraid you’ll be seen as hitting on him. It must be hard to be a man.

So this weekend, just compliment someone. That’s all. Anyone. Don’t make it up or compliment something you don’t really like, just for the sake of complimenting. Find something you like and say “I like that”. That’s all there is to it.

Women shouldn’t need much help in this area. It comes a little more naturally to us. Being kind and considerate and caring and complimentary. It’s our nature to nurture.

And for the men out there, you can never go wrong with complimenting another man’s car/motorcycle/callouses. And women will never be offended if you compliment their boobs. We like it. We think it’s great. Honestly. Trust me on this one, I wouldn’t leave anyone with such nice callouses astray.

It’s not in my nature.

Report back here once you’re done. I can’t wait to hear how it goes.

Have a good weekend!

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109 Comments

  1. Alison says:

    We don’t know each other, so here it goes: Karen, you have great boobs! And probably great callouses from all of your awesome projects. Hopefully not on your boobs.

  2. Alison says:

    Also, maybe for bonus points, we can accept compliments without minimizing ourselves. I think us ladies are particularly bad at this part of the game. Just say “thank you” and smile. My coworker and I are trying this on each other; we can usually last about thirty seconds before we say something snarky about the ourselves!

    • Flossie says:

      I love this idea, but you are so right. Accepting a compliment is harder than giving one. Someone says “I love that sweater,” and of course the first thing you say is ,”I got it at a garage sale,” rather than “thank you!”

    • Rebecca says:

      That’s great, Allison! I need to work on this one. Thanks for suggesting it.

  3. Amber says:

    I love complimenting random people. It’s always a bit of a shock to them, and it is hard for me because I’m shy. But I love it. My favorite compliment this week I gave to my welding teacher, Hutch, a crusty ex-military guy who teaches industrial arts at the local tech highschool, along with adult ed. I told him that I’d been scared of arc welding for 14 years (since the technician who was teaching us in college set himself on fire and burned someone elses’ eyes). And then I had to do some arc welding for Hutch. But I asked myself which was scarier: a machine that could burn me, electrocute me and blind me; or disappointing Hutch?
    When I told Hutch this he stopped dead, and I knew I’d said something that really mattered to him. I’m glad it mattered.

  4. Jamieson says:

    I am happy to say that I do this regularly and it makes me feel good as well as the receiver. I am getting better at accepting compliments too, per Alison’s comment. Also, if someone – even a stranger – has a stray boog peeking out of their nose, I tell them. It’s embarrassing for them in that moment but they are WAY happier that the next 100 people didn’t see it too (especially restaurant wait staff). It’s not giving a compliment to a stranger, exactly, unless it’s a particularly attractive booger but I’ve not encountered that scenario yet.

    • Karen says:

      LOLOLOL. Omg. Now there you go getting the kids all riled up before bed. I’ll never fall asleep now. ~ karen!

    • Liz says:

      I try to live my life complimenting people because I agree with all – people just don’t complement others enough and it generally makes people feel good.

      The other day one of the ladies from uni was getting up and I noticed the front part of her bag was open and her lady things were kinda obvious, I said Oh your bag is open. She closed it and we both shared a laugh and a look saying “didn’t want to share that with the rest of the men in the room!”

      • danni says:

        Dear God, this one took me a minute. I was afraid “bag” meant something else in Brit-speak because “lady things” means girl-parts to me and was trying to figure how Liz was able to politely tell the gal to shut up her bag so her ladyparts didn’t show. It’s kinda early here, and I am just starting my coffee. A little is on my keyboard now.

    • Melanie says:

      Jamieson, I think we may be twins, separated at birth. My mother especially appreciates the nose thing (or spinach-in-the-teeth notifications), but I’ve found strangers do, too.

      For as long as I can remember, I’ve smiled at, talked to, and complimented people I don’t know. Pretty much every day. I think I got it from my parents (my now-grown son does it, as well). I never really think about it, until someone’s reaction makes me realize that a lot of people need more kindness and appreciation in their lives.

  5. Becky says:

    I do this all the time. I wish I did it more. I see a lot of people, and I just want to walk up and tell them they are fabulous.

    karen, I think you might need a stack of these cards… we all should have at least one in our purse/wallet to hand out. http://indulgy.com/post/XwM3EXRp41/genius

  6. Jeff says:

    Hi Karen, as a guy I would like to let you know that I love your blog and been living your advice for the past 30 years!

  7. Kate says:

    Assignment accepted! One per day or one all weekend or as many as we think of?

    Here’s a start: I love your blog, I’ve thought it often but never said it.

  8. dana says:

    No leaving the house this weekend. Taking the dryer apart. Its making a screeching sound and not getting warm.
    When walking my dog I often get “I like your dog”. If they were to come toward me and my 5yr old they would get their head chewed off. Im sure they wouldnt like him then. I would absolutely DIE if a stranger told me they LIKE MY BOOBS! :O

    • Bernard says:

      Although sight unseen and not wishing to promulgate instant death….I like your boobs.

      Hmmmm….perfect stranger + profitless compliment = weekend assignment complete.

      Thanks.

      And Cheers.

  9. Becky says:

    My random person complement was to the makeup counter guy as I walked through the mall. He was beautiful with awesome hair. His hair was so different I had to complement Then we had fun talking about his hair and how much fun he has making it cool and interesting. I could tell he was happy I told him how cool I thought it was. Karen, this is my favorite assignment. I decided about six months ago to make an effort to smile at anyone who made eye contact with me. It’s been fun seeing some startled faces. I guess some people aren’t used to getting random smiles (or i look strange when I smile…….:@
    Keep it the fun stuff coming!

  10. Mindy says:

    Assignment accepted. I’m horribly uncomfortable and anti social, so this will not come naturally, but I’m doin’ it. Nice boobs might come across as strange. Nice tits is way more acceptable.

  11. jo says:

    I do this all the time, it is easy and makes people feel good, me too.
    Usually it is about shoes or children.
    I love kids, and I have shoe envy, been on crutches for 2.5 years.

  12. Susan Preston says:

    I always try to tell people how fabulous they look, great job they’ve done, or how kind they were to someone else. I’m told almost everyday how someone has appreciated what I have done for them, how they like something I made for them or even how neat my old truck is. The best appreciation is when one of my children , grandchildren or even my dog tell me how much they appreciate and love me. That makes my day even more special!
    I also enjoy finishing my day with you Karen and if I fall asleep, earlier than normal, starting my day! Thank you!

  13. TucsonPatty says:

    I love this assignment. I try to tell folks (Store clerks, waiters, helpful folks) when they do something awesome and that I love it, and I also try to tell “the manager” when something is Not Right. How do these folks ever know when they are getting it right, or on the other hand, really blowing it…
    One of my now 22 year old daughter’s first sentences was “Let’s find the manager.” I laughed so hard at that. I am really proud that I do this often but I always need a reminder to step up the game…
    Karen, I appreciate you, your blog, and most of all your humor and integrity. I nominate you for the “Great Person of the Day Award”. The end.

  14. Pat says:

    I always figure that if I am thinking a complimentary thing about a stranger then “just do it” …ccompliment them on whatever it is you are admiring. Even if it is their terrific handbag or jacket, it still tells them they have great taste and look good. Usually the compliment leads to some social chit chat. In a store, I also do not hesitate to ask someone’s opinion about something I am thinking of purchasing. Strangers are more honest about how something looks on you than your friends and relatives when it comes to clothing items.

  15. Nicole says:

    Giving out compliments can do more than make the recipient feel good. You too could be the receiver of compliments if you follow it up with “where did you get that?” I once complimented the cashier at Costco on her jacket and went straight to the store where she bought it and got one for myself. Another time I saw a woman wearing an absolutely elegant sweater at the grocery store and I never said anything to her. I mentally told myself that I should get myself a similar sweater assuming that they were out there in the stores only to come up empty handed. If I’d only said something to her!
    Now I am a mom to an undeniably cute baby. I get compliments on her almost every time I go out and it always makes me feel good. Although I do find that about one in twenty people comes off as creepy complimenting a baby. I’m imagining these same people should not be complimenting strangers boobs.

  16. Heather says:

    Good one Karen!! I made this a personal challenge about 20 yrs ago when I read an article that said it takes 5 positive things to be said to someone to cancel out how they feel about one negative comment. I decided then that since I was brought up with “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all” rule the opposite must stand as well. It is second nature to me now. It is awesome that you are getting strangers to be a source of good in other strangers lives. Love this.

  17. Ruth says:

    Easy-peasy….

  18. Tigersmom says:

    I do this. It drives my uber introverted husband nuts. That’s not why I do it. I literally can’t help myself.

    I’ve also been on the receiving end and it’s pretty awesome. Especially when you can tell that someone went a little out of their way to do it.

    You’re one of the only people that I don’t get highly annoyed with for telling me to do something.

  19. jane says:

    My personal mission: Each day I want someone to think “My life is brighter because I crossed paths with her.” Working hard to do that. Sometimes easy. Sometimes fun. Sometimes utterly nerve-wracking. (Oh god, what if I sound like my mom, who sounds creepy when she compliments people) But yes, well worth doing. Always.

  20. Randi says:

    I do this without thinking about it …I say a lot of things without thinking about it as well, but…I feel good making others feel good.
    I suppose i got the habit from my dad who could strike up a happy conversation with anyone. smile and you’ll always get a pleasant smile in return !

  21. I will do this all weekend, even though I make it a practice to do it whenever I can. I also like to finish up a survey after talking to a service rep on the phone, with when asking how they did; I say that they should be given a raise!

  22. mayr says:

    Beautiful, lovely, wonderful Buddha-esque post.
    Thank-you for your gracious heart.

  23. marilyn says:

    i always try to do this…it makes other people feel great and i do too..win win ..my Mom was a champ at making people feel good.so kind and warm, she gave everyone the warm fuzzies.i try to emulate her in every way, she was amazing

  24. Danni says:

    Wow, strange karma here! Just the other day a complete stranger walked by me and said “nice haircut”… in the meanest mean girl voice ever! I couldn’t believe what I had just heard, faltered, and then couldn’t find her when I went looking for her to tell her that it was the best I could manage post-chemo, but I’m sure I would eventually grow hair she may approve of, but I doubted she would grow a brain. It still bothers me!
    Flip side, standing in line one day the woman behind me told me my look was adorable (!!! I’m in my 50’s!!) and she loved my haircut. I still smile at that. (I did look fierce! All about the boot!)
    Now that you made me put the two together, I will do this!!!

  25. sue says:

    My mother modeled this behavior and my daughter does it too. We all appreciate compliments and it is a win win since the giver and reciever both feel better. Complimenting people who provide a service is especially rewarding since they often hear rude comments. This is such a great reminder and I enjoyed reading the good will and ideas of others.
    I have got to get better about recieving them, tend to minimize what I hear, which is foolish.

    Boob compliments? I don’t know about that one…’-)

  26. marli says:

    YAY!! I do this all the time. drives my husband crazy, and occasionally the kids too, though they are more like me in this department. I’m always talking to strangers, it’s the best way to make new friends and find out information you didn’t know (like: “hey, did it hurt when you fell face first into the tackle box?” yes, I’ve asked that a number of times and haven’t been punched out yet, smiles. most laugh and say “ABSOLUTELY!!”)

    anyway, cool assignment. you rock. does this count?

    smiles, marli

  27. jainegayer says:

    Wasn’t it Maya Angelou who said people will not remember what you said or what you did, but how you made them feel. And you are so right, Karen. We say the nice things in our head but we don’t take the time to tell the person. I know for me, it’s because I’m shy or I don’t want to be intrusive and I so need to get over that.
    Great assignment!!

  28. Sarah In Illinois says:

    I LOVE this project! I do try to compliment others once in a while, but not nearly enough!

  29. Ginny says:

    Wonderful idea! I will start with you. I came across your website about 8 months ago and I have been a huge fan ever since. I look forward to reading your articles every morning and have often thought about commenting on them but never have. I am a big DIYer so I love all your helpful hints and you are such a hoot! I shared your blog with my sister (also named Karen) and we think you are awesome!
    I will compliment as many people as I can this weekend…and going forward:)

  30. Dagmar says:

    There is this BBC show that my non-husband and I watch on a regular basis, and these people come on via Skype to a studio full of doctors and show all sorts of anomalies of body issues. When I say *show*, I mean, they whip everything out and the doctors usually say, please come closer to the camera so we can get a better look. Now, the name of the show is called “Embarassing Bodies” live from the studio. And their slogan is: there is no shame, we’re all the same. It’s actually rather fascinating, I don’t think I’ve snickered once, but I have felt sorry for some of these poor folks. So to make a long story short, you beautiful girl, Karen, are preaching to the choir, I tell people how I love their purse, or haircut, or shoes. I have no problem asking where they have purchased something. Why? Because we are all the same- everyone feels good when they are noticed. And boy have I gotten some amazing advice, just by complimenting, and asking where someone got something. And I always learn a thing or two if I mention it to an elderly person, because they have the best stories.

  31. Ev Wilcox says:

    Yes to everything, but the boobs. Do NOT like any comments on mine, unless from my sister or sister-in-law. They are large, not perky (do not recall them EVER being perky!) So, NO BOOB comments! I do the compliment thing often. Most of the time it seems appreciated. I remember it was hard to get started, but I was determined to try to spread a bit of happiness, so I do it pretty often. Feels good,doesn’t it?! BTW, a roast beef dinner sounds great! I do them whenever I feel like it-does not have to be a cold, snowy day! You rock, Karen!

  32. Becky says:

    I’m lovin’ this! A good reminder…. I already do this to a certain degree anyway, but more cannot hurt! And the impact of the random compliment was impressed upon me recently when a woman in the grocery store told me she really liked my hair. (I let my hair go gray years ago, in my 30s, and it was nice to have someone tell me they liked it–and that wasn’t even one of my better hair days.)

  33. Tracey says:

    Great assignment.
    Technically you asked us to report back “after” the weekend, so I hope we get to hear some comments on what kind of compliments were given and the reaction to them.
    I also have been doing this forever. I think because I never real felt good about myself, and was not complimented at home, rather the opposite. It was awful.
    Now, I have a desire for others to feel good about themselves, and in a smal way maybe I can help with that. The most beautiful woman/man in the world may have a lot of insecurities. about 25 years ago I was in a very bad depression. I was walking aimlessly through the grocery store, as basic tasks were near impossible. A stranger gave me a compliment and it brightened my spirits in a very dark time. I’ve never forgotten that.
    Thanks again for suggesting this Karen. We live in stressful times with declining personal
    Interactions, and we need to get back to talking and being nice to real people. Hope that makes sense.

  34. Irene says:

    You get so much good stuff back too! Warm and fuzzy. 🙂
    I too, don’t keep my mouth shut much, but I have to tell you about my favourite ever response.
    It was a few years ago. I was in the pharmacy, and the most beautiful woman walked in; you know, the kind of person you just eat up with your eyes and can’t look away? She must have been in her late 70s, with long pure white hair done up in the most elegant soft bun, perfect discreet make-up, just right for her age and face, skin you ached to touch, and the most lovely, understated and yet so elegant outfit. Everything about her softly whispered style and elegance.
    I went up to her after standing and staring for far too long, and said: “Excuse me, but I was staring at you and just had to come and tell you that I think you are very beautiful.”
    After her initial second or two of startlement, she told me that no one had said that to her in many years and that I had said it at just the right time, when she needed it most. I got the HUGEST hug too; the best reward ever. 🙂
    The warm and fuzzies!

  35. Rondina says:

    Every once in a while, when I compliment a young business woman on how nice she looks, there are some that look at me strange. I don’t know what to make of that. Older women just say thank you and appreciate it. Sometimes it leads to discussions about where we buy our clothes or who does our hair.
    A random compliment is equal to a random act of kindness like paying it forward. Living in an urban area, I wonder if these younger women have never received a compliment from someone they don’t know. I stopped complimenting men about anything long ago. I got the feeling that they thought I was coming on to them. With the gray hair now, that shouldn’t be a problem now.

  36. Linda B says:

    I. Love. This.

  37. Jennifer says:

    I was at the gas station the other day and I was yelled at by a crazed woman. She yelled, “YOU TOOK MY SPOT!” I yelled back, “I LOVE YOUR HAIR!” That was that. No road rage report taken. No pepper spray. She just left. Once in a while I’ll pay for the person in back of me in the starbucks drive thru. Someone did that to me one time and it was such a nice thing to do. Made my day.

  38. Bernard says:

    The Long Evolution:
    1. She wrote, ” Men. You’re gonna have a hard time with this.”
    He thought, ‘EGads…another female product review…run a-way…RUN A-WAAAY!!! (Best used as always in the voice of King Arthur a la Mont Python)’

    2. She wrote, “But it doesn’t mean you’re exempt.”
    He thought, ‘Uh-oh! Let’s see, so far, I have something which is common to women, and I may (probably) shrink from the topic. If the words anus and commensurate number of nerve endings are in the following paragraph, see above and watch some old NFL footage (preferably with snow and blood) immediately and for a prolonged time.

    3. She wrote, “I want you to compliment someone. I want you to compliment someone you don’t know.”
    He thought, ‘Ouch! Hey! That was an unkind cut. I always compliment people…when I want something.’
    4. She wrote alot of stuff.
    He thought, ‘ True enough.’
    5. She wrote, “If you’re a man it’s doubly hard because if you compliment a woman you’re afraid you’ll be seen as hitting on her…”
    He thought, ‘Experience is the best teacher, because – THAT’s HOW WOMEN REACT FOR REAL! And so do the men who may witness such compliments.’
    And as She continued to write, “…if you compliment another man, you’re afraid you’ll be seen as hitting on him.”
    And so he gasped outloud, ‘Only if You’re insecure about what You really are! Ha! Take that back to the store.’
    Then She said, “It must be hard to be a man.”
    He noised, “Duh?!”
    But then he thought, ‘Does beat the alternative, eh?

    6. She wrote more good stuff, but then, “And women will never be offended if you compliment their boobs. We like it. We think it’s great. Honestly. Trust me on this one, I wouldn’t leave anyone with such nice callouses astray.”
    He thought (after the gut-wrenching laugh spasms had eased), ‘Mmmmkay, I now have someone in Canada upon whom I can rely upon for bail money. Excellent. Just 47 more States, 8 Provinces and Quebec to go – then I’m covered.’
    7. Then She wrote, “It’s not in my nature.”
    The word Nature rang in my ear (the one on the right is currently suffering from an infection, so the ringing was not nearly as distinctive). I don’t really proffer compliments for gain…at least not anymore. The resulting smile is complimentary enough. That I think is in our collective Nature…to please one another on an honest-to-goodness basis.

    That is why I think this is the best assignment of all.

    Thanks Karen…for a great place to visit and a worthy injection of “just do the Right Thing”.

    You da best.

    Cheers.

  39. kathy says:

    Boobs? No way; will you suggest nice package next??

    But YES to the other things – sincere admiration or appreciation expressed. How lovely and how good it feels to know that you’ve shared a happy thought with a stranger. As for the cute baby, little girl, etc. comments. You know, we had that for some time. Daughter was cute, dammit, but certainly there was something inside her, too, that was lovely. So one day, upon the advice of the school secretary, I replied to that comment with the observation that she was full of goodness inside, too. Or, another time, that she was pretty smart, too. And soon, she stopped being so shy with strangers. Turns out, being admired for her looks was not acceptable to her even at the tender age of three!

  40. Denise says:

    It’s also great to let your children see you compliment others … (who cares about their initial emberassment 🙂 They can see first hand how a stranger reacts to a random compliment and how it can bring a smile to a stranger’s face, and also how it makes the person giving the compliment happy too!

  41. janpartist says:

    Nice things I try and share with people if they come to the front of my mind (sometimes I don’t realize I’m thinking something nice about someone until after they are out of my immediate vicinity)…Snarky things (oh, yes, we all have them) I try and keep to myself (and not share with others).

  42. jeannie B says:

    I had the most handsome blonde, young man doing some yard work at my house a couple of days ago. But, he had grown a long, raggedly long beard. So, I said, ” Great beard!” And then added, ” Have you joined the Taliban?”
    No, I really didn’t. That’s what I was thinking. Sometimes, a compliment should just stay in your brain. LOL

  43. I do this all the time, and I’m always amazed at the surprised, and then delighted, looks on faces. I’m less likely to compliment a man for fear of him thinking that I’m coming on to him, though I have done it. More than once. And I’ll never forget the day a man standing behind me in the Second Cup leaned down and said, “I really like your earrings. Where did you get them?” I was wearing a pewter coffee cup in one ear and a milk jug in the other. I like to think he wanted a pair for his girlfriend. I walked away with a smile. Fun post, Karen.

  44. Ella says:

    Great idea!! Will do!

  45. Olga says:

    I get anxiety meeting new people. I get all blotchy and red when strangers talk to me or when I have to ask a question. In reality, I’m afraid of people – they are mean, sweaty and hairy. However, a lot of times I just act like I’m just cool with everything and I don’t care if I speak like a human who lives in the country where wild bears walk the streets and people drink vodka for breakfast. If I see nice things, I let people know about it. Now, accepting a compliment is a lot more challenging for me. I hope noone compliments me this weekend, otherwise I will be thinking that they doing it because they reading your blog lol

  46. Jake says:

    I actually do this quite often, it is amazing how happy it makes me feel, just to say something nice to someone. It has at times got me the evil eye, you know the “should I be calling the funny farm” look, but mostly it makes people smile.

  47. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    OH MY GOD!!..You are going to have a lot of guy followers with black eyes or aching crotches next week..lol..I myself have no trouble doing this and I do it quite often!! Have a great weekend troublemaker..LOL

  48. Brenda says:

    This is something that I started doing years ago. I’d think, hey, I like that perfume. Or…she has gorgeous eyes. Or I really like her hair. I don’t compliment strange men all that much, I don’t want them to think I’m flirting. But I regularly tell women of all ages something nice that I’m thinking. Thanks for the reminder. This is a really great idea.

  49. Sboo says:

    A flight attendant complimented my shorts the other day when I was getting on the plane. They are bright vermillion. She said they were summery. Since you tend to feel grungy (not summery) after even a quick flight, I thought it was a nice compliment! Will be out of town this weekend, so lots of strangers available for this assignment.

  50. Samantha says:

    The woman cashier at Costco had amazing dangly sparkly earings…I really liked them out loud. 😀 She told me they were Swarofsky.

  51. Jan In Waterdown says:

    Hah!, it looks like I did my homework before I got around to reading today’s assignment. I just finished talking to the manager of my local Target to tell him how great the customer service is in his store and to point out the employess in particular, when I realized one of them was him. We tend to “ask for the Manager” when something’s not right but it’s fun to do it when something IS right! I call that Win-Win!

  52. Doria says:

    Karen you have great knockers! Don’t be shy, show ’em off. High and proud for everyone to admire. You are an inspiration!

  53. Nan Tee says:

    I think I can do this…and will try to do this every day. Have a great weekend, Karen. 🙂

  54. Mike says:

    I’m a man and I was raised Irish Catholic. This won’t end well.

  55. Karen says:

    What a sweet thought! Coincidentally I had a lady stop me last week at Walmart to tell me ” I was a beautiful woman”. Needless to say I was taken aback but it really made my day/month/year. I’ve had some tough times lately (marriage breakup) and it made me feel great to have a stranger stop me to make my day. Moral: you never know what people are going through and kindness is free so don’t be shy and pass along a compliment once in a while. It will make you feel better too.

    • Kari says:

      SO true. A little kindness can help someone going through something more than we may ever know. I know when I’ve been complimented on a bad day, even if it’s just a small thing, it REALLY made a difference.

  56. Becky says:

    This has been fun already today! I am working on a rain “barrel” (actually using a galvanized livestock trough idea found here: http://www.thebikegarden.com/2012/05/setting-up-galvanized-stock-tank-as.html ) to capture the water coming off my new shed, and spent the afternoon at Tractor Supply and Lowe’s getting all the parts.

    At Tractor Supply I complimented the young woman at the checkout on her knowledge of what I needed, and I think she was a bit surprised! And at Lowe’s the same plumbing guy who always asks me if I need help and I have to tell him no because I am just kitchen design browsing, helped me with the parts I needed to assemble a faucet on the trough; when I stopped back by and told him he had a great smile (and he does), he just smiled even more!

    Karen, I mentioned in an earlier comment that I do this some already, but doing it now with even more mindfulness has been really uplifting for me. After a really rough year last year, I am trying to “practice gratitude” even more, as well as connect more with the people around me. Your “assignment” has given me the little push I didn’t even realize I needed! Thank you.

  57. Kristin Ferguson says:

    I just complimented an old lady on her beautiful gray bun (the hair kind of bun) and she loved it. It really was a beautiful ‘do. It was in the Trader Joe’s parking lot, which has seen many of my complimenting attacks. Do you have Trader Joe’s in Canada yet? Because it is truly awesome and should be available to everyone.

  58. Laura N. says:

    I always find it interesting that my daughter can compliment people she doesn’t know.

  59. Laura Bee says:

    Yes! I will continue! With a greater effort just because of you lol.
    Last night was the art fundraiser-I complimented a beautiful young lady in attendance. Gorgeous & sophisticated. Pin-up dress, red lipstick, great hair. Her mom was right there.
    Actually, those are the compliments I love to recieve, ones directed at my daughter for who she is & what she does. She is 3 1/2 and has been called “Fierce!”

    On a side note: if you were in Port Dover today for the Friday the 13th ride, I am sure you would have recieved many compliments on your boobs. Your cups would overflow with them.

  60. Debbie says:

    Thank you for a lovely and validating column. Complimenting people has been a way of life for me for a long time. Maybe it is because I never got compliments from my parents. (True.) As a teacher, whenever I had to call a parent for a negative reason, I made two calls for positive reasons – no matter how small the achievement. I have to admit, I enjoyed hearing the change of tone in a parent’s voice when they realized I was saying something good!

    Sometimes, I can’t help myself and will blurt our a compliment. People’s reactions are priceless.

    My view is that it is easy to complain, and it should be just as easy to compliment.

  61. Kari says:

    I complimented the check out girls nail color today. I do that pretty often but I’ve never just walked up to someone and complimented them. Hmmm now I really want to so I’m doing this tomorrow.

  62. Ember says:

    My kids had VBS at church this week and they were “secret agents”. Each night they got an “assignment” for the next day and this was one of them. Random acts of kindness was another…for complete strangers. Great minds think alike! I love your blog. You inspired me to container garden so thats what the kiddos and I are doing this summer! So excited! Oh and with the compliment thing…I always try to give the moms in the store that have the screaming kid/babies a reassuring smile and tell them their baby is precious. As the mom of a baby who had colic, believe me, a smile without advice on what you are doing wrong is greatly appreciated.

  63. Jan in Waterdown says:

    Good grief . . . now look what you’ve started! Good on ya, Honey!!

  64. danni says:

    You never know what a small kindness can do. Yesterday was the last day of school here. My 13 year old came home and told me that a boy asked for her phone number. This is a kid that she had greeted every day and said goodbye to every single day, his locker was near hers. He told her that he wanted to keep in touch over the summer, because she (my daughter) had been the most important part of his day all year. That her kindness had ‘gotten him through’ the year.

    He is a kid without a lot of friends, chubby & nerdy and apparently gets teased somewhat by the turds in the school who will someday pump my gas. And in front of a hall full of kids, said these things to my daughter. Ripple away, kindness!!

    • Thank you of sharing this. I have a 13 year old and it is such a ROUGH age for some kids. Your daughter is a really sweet person for being kind to one of the kiddos who probably needed it the most. I’d hug her if I could. Well don raising her Mama!!!

  65. julesie says:

    I love the idea of this as a weekend assignment but this is a part of our regular routine here in midwest America. Maybe it isn’t as normal as I think is but my hubby regular will tell the sales clerk if she has beautiful eyes or compliment someone on a dress or hat or anything. Sometimes they look at you like your from another planet but mostly they just brighten up. Just last week he told a stranger her dress was really pretty and last night he told an acquaintance that her hair looked great down (cos it’s always tied up.) I tend to comment on things I love like someone’s jewelry or a talent. It seems silly to not say something. And I like it too. I have violet contacts and I bet at least once a week some stranger just stops me and tells me how cool they are. It makes me feel unique and special. But hubby and I both were dying over the boob thing. I am pretty sure that complimenting a total stranger on her boobs in small town MN will get you slapped. Ha. Or just thought of as that creepy guy. I am not even sure I would like being told I had great boobs by a stranger. A male friend that I trusted~ heck yeah, but some random guy.. not so much. I might be old fashioned. Ha.

    PS: Karen.. I think your blog is hilarious and I love your sense of style and playfulness. And you have cute hair.

  66. Patty Reed-Pederson says:

    My husband wants to know what I am laughing about? You sure inspired all of us faithful followers.

  67. Niki Dee says:

    Well, if a male complimented my books there would be no hesitation before I complimented his extraordinary eyesight. As a matter of fact a lady at the airport complimented me on my shirt today…now I know if she could’ve seen my books, she would have complimented me on those instead. 😉

    • Niki Dee says:

      And if I could see my keyboard… I would’ve corrected the auto spell to read boobs… but I will accept compliments on my books as well!

  68. Jan in Waterdown says:

    This is for “danni” . . . after reading your post, my eyes welled up. You have a very fine daughter who is well on her way to being an amazing woman! I didn’t have nor want any children but I do know this is due, in no small way, to the way she was raised. Please give her a hug from an appreciative woman who will likely never meet her but thinks the world is a better place because she’s in it.

  69. Linda S. in NE says:

    You do the nicest things, Karen. Thanks for the reminders.

  70. Janet says:

    Similar to a gratitude journal, this assignment helps us look for the good in life and my current readings remind me that whatever a person focuses on expands. So true. I really enjoy reading this blog. Karen, I enjoy your sense of humour and willingness to share. Thanks for a great blog.

  71. Tigersmom says:

    I’m mildly riddled with guilt for not completing this assignment this weekend. I do compliment strangers regularly and compulsively when struck by something, but for me, it has to be genuine or it feels (and I think it comes across as) forced. I only came close to being struck by something once this weekend and the situation was such that I would have been intruding too much to get this girl’s attention

    Can I compliment Betty on her irresistible candor and spunk? And her leopard bathing suit, too?

  72. Scott says:

    I saw a girl with a very intricate tattoo on her arm of a honey comb and a bee. I told her I liked it and asked her why she got a bee tattoo. Turns out it was an anti GMO Monsanto tattoo. She didn’t figure most people would understand the meaning but being an avid gardener I understood.

  73. christine says:

    We went to a pub for lunch on Father’s Day and the waiter was working the whole place alone. The service was slow, but I took my assignment and told him I could see he was super busy and that he was doing a really good job. 🙂

    • Karen says:

      hah! That’s great. I had the same sort of experience at Rona the other day. A girl was in training and of course I was buying all weird stuff, most of which didn’t have a bar code on it. I told her not to worry and I was in no rush and think of how much she was learning through this single check out, lol! ~ karen

  74. Michele preece says:

    A few years ago a friends husband told me “you’ve got great boobs” although I was a bit taken aback it was a lovely compliment especially when you realise the context. I’d just had a breast lump scare, he and his wife were the only friends I’d told because I needed her advise as I was scared ( she was 5 years into a cancer fight with secondaries just confirmed throughout her spine and hips). It really boosted me but I realise it was probably hard for him emotionally with all that ahead of them. Sadly she passed away last year on his birthday and in his eulogy he said everyday spent with her had been the best birthday gift ever possible. Got to go I’m welling up!

    Great assignment, you never know what other people are going through and that compliment might just get them to the other side of the crap.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Michele – I’m so sorry for the loss of your friend. It’s a horrible, wretched disease. But yes, you’re right. One compliment can lift someone’s entire day and sometimes even more than that. ~ karen

  75. Deb says:

    I have been busy sewing flower girl dresses so have just now had a chance to catch up with Art of Doing Stuff,” which is totally unlike me….but there you have it. I haven’t had a huge chance to compliment anyone at all in the last few days since I haven’t really seen anyone in the last few days. I do have to share, though, that my granddaughter who is almost 4, and for whom one of the flower girl dresses is for, always seems to find something good to say about e-v-e-r-y-o-n-e. Seriously. Everyone. It’s amazing. Don’t know where she gets it. She says things like, “I yike the color of your door,” or “I yike your car, Auntie Dadash (translation is Sascha).” Amazing. (She did say she loves the flower girl dress…whew). I am going to learn from this one, for sure.

  76. Sara says:

    Awwww…you should visit the Souteastern United States or Texas. I have never once in my life experienced any of the fears you mentioned about complimenting complete strangers. We compliment one another unabashedly down here. Maybe it’s all that sugar we put in our tea. It makes us sweeter. 😉

  77. I was on vacation last week and missed all of your posts so I am just now catching up…BUT I did this probably everyday anyway(it’s my nature) and I met the loveliest people on the beach every single day. I think a compliment (sincere of course) is an invitation to get to know someone sometimes. And I can think of two people who actually stopped me on the beach to compliment me too. Both times we ended up talking for a while.

  78. Brandy says:

    So I was completely inspired by this article. To the point that I have created a group called “A compliment a day” on Facebook. I added all my friends (hopefully they won’t want to strangle me!) but also told them it was ok to opt out with no hard feelings. Anyway the premise is that every day or so (when life allows) you are to go in to the group, tag someone, and give them a compliment. Whether something small or something huge. Just give somebody an unexpected present, a shout out, anything to make their day a little brighter. So thanks so much Karen!!! I found you through a pin on pinterest about created a wreath from a pool noodle and I was laughing so hard that I just new I had to read more by you. So thank you so much for the laugh AND the unexpected warm fuzzies.

    • Brandy says:

      gah, lol, you can totally tell by my spelling that it is 5AM!!!!

    • Karen says:

      No problem Brandy! Yup. I’m quite a dichotomy. You never know what you’re going to get here. And congratulations on your new Facebook page! ~ karen

  79. CIndy says:

    Along this line, but kinda related, is thanking people. I mean sincere, deeply felt thanks. I try to write letters to managers of businesses whose employee went above and beyond to make my experience in their store the best. I also celebrate Thanksgiving each year by writing a thank you to someone who made an impact in my life (or my children’s lives). Quite often this is a teacher that they had years ago. Sometimes it’s someone from my past who touched my life. We all find ample occasion to complain, but taking the time to sincerely “thank”……..That’s real gift giving.

  80. Pingback: Bramble Patch: June 24

  81. trish says:

    hi karen, this week i stumbled onto your blog and tonight have been clicking through your old posts and came across 2 weekend assignments — just say it out loud and do something you’ve never tried — so with one fell swoop here i am doing both lots of homework I LOVE YOUR BLOG !!!!! which i’m telling a total stranger by leaving a comment, never posted a comment before — so there it is homework finished and its not even the weekend yet — that is pretty amazing in itself as i believe deadlines were invented so we could procrastinate. Thanks heaps !!

    • Karen says:

      Welcome Trish! Now that I see how quickly you work I’ll have to come up with a bigger and better homework assignment for this weekend. 😉 ~ karen!

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