Complimenting is attractive for many people. Most people prefer to and view it as more constructive to say something positive than to say something negative. After all, who does not want to be appreciated for what he does? Although everybody makes mistakes now and then, most people mean well, don’t they? This way of reasoning is surely plausible which may explain why I frequently hear people saying that is good and important to compliment frequently. They claim that this is the best way to motivate people. It is correct that complimenting can be useful. An adequate compliment provides us with the type of feedback that can help us become aware of which of our behaviors are effective. Furthermore, a compliment can make you realize that there is someone who is paying attention to you and who feels involved with what you do. This is why complimenting effectively can be useful in different contexts like parenting, education, management and co-operation.
But is complimenting really always so pleasant and motivating? There are also people who are skeptical about the use and value of complimenting. Some say that they often see compliments as insincere and exaggerated as if it were some kind of trick. Others say they often get suspicious when they are complimented (“What does he want from me?”). Still others say they don’t like to be complimented because it gives them the impression that the other person looks down on them (“Who does he think he is to judge me?).
What’s the deal with compliments? Are the advocates right or the skeptics? My answer is that both the advocates and the skeptics are right. Complimenting can be valuable but only in certain circumstances and when done skillfully. In those cases the advantages can be achieved while negative side effects can be prevented.
The Message (MSG)
During a time of economic crisis and depressing news, Me and a cohort at Syracuse University decided to lift the spirits of people on campus with some encouraging words. For two hours every Wednesday afternoon, we stood along a busy walkway holding large “Free Compliments” sign and saying nice things to everyone who passed by. “I like your red coat.” “Cool snow boots.” “Very nice smile.” Some students said they deliberately walked past “the compliment guys” every Wednesday just to hear a kind word.
I was struck by the increase of traffic that had began to flow by us as well as the people expectancy of the people with the soul goal of commending us, rather than finding fault or being critical. Is that how I, as a follower of Christ, view others each day?
Instead of being like the person who is focused on evil and whose speech is “like a burning fire” (Proverbs 16:27), we can take a different approach, knowing that what we say begins deep inside us. “The heart of the wise teaches his mouth, and adds learning to his lips.Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones”(vv.23-24).
Kind words may be free, but they give a priceless lift of spirit. Why not encourage someone today?
The power in words can build up or tear down–
Create a big smile or produce a sad frown;
So in all your contacts with people each day,
Be sure to encourage in all that you say.
A gentle word of compliment falls lightly but it carries great weight. n whatever situation you are in, you can show your respect, support and love by consciously choosing your words and speaking them with a kind and loving attitude. Yes, it takes diligence and restraint, but if you choose to be careful about what you say and how you say it, you can succeed, even in the toughest situation.
Kind communication is other-centered and honest. Using “І” statements instead of the accusatory “You” statements is a simple way to communicate well.
Instead of saying, “You never clean the counter,” you can say, “I feel unappreciated when I have to always clean the kitchen counter.” It’s a simple twist with a big reward. The listener feels empathy for you, instead of feeling accused by you. These little examples are choice nuggets for anyone that is in the positions that deal with the public or who have suffered with abusive behavior.