I was at the rehearsal dinner for Slade’s wedding last week, speaking to his mom and step dad. Out of nowhere, his step dad said something like “Man, you have great hair” to which his mom followed up “Yeah, you really do“.
Wow. I was not expecting this! I know I have good hair but god damn did it feel good being complimented like that.
It’s honestly the most memorable thing I have from that dinner (aside from Simoncini’s ‘this hand… is going up your ass tonight‘ line) and selfishly raises my impression of them – ‘cmon, how could they be bad people, they said my hair was great!’.
I started thinking about compliments in June when a girl said she loved the suit-with-no-tie combo that I was wearing. Another even more brief example was a guy on the trail giving me a thumbs up during my workout. It made me smile.
Compliments are great. The receiver is (almost) always happy and the giver feels good about themselves too. All that said…
I very rarely give compliments.
Whether it’s to total strangers or close friends, my compliment rate is embarrassingly low. I think most people are low frankly. And you know what, I bet the people who give a lot of compliments feel pretty fucking good about it. I don’t think many people regret giving compliments.
So why don’t I give more of them?
I see two reasons:
1. The notion that it may come off insincere or as an insult; a mock of whatever you’re trying to compliment. “Nice shirt bro!” to a stranger wearing a Trust the Process shirt may come off as “Nice shirt, you fucking loser!“. So what’s easier than having a compliment misinterpreted as a diss? Not saying anything at all.
2. Compliments take confidence. We’re too worried about what WE look like as the giver of the compliment. The thought of ‘is it weird if I say this?‘ is ever present even though 95% of the time it will be well received. It will make the person you’re giving it to think about themselves the way I did after my hair compliment – flattered and did not think it was weird at all.
Since June I’ve considered giving myself a quota – give one compliment a day, to anyone – and see how it goes. For various reasons, I have not formally committed to this, but it’s still something I think about, pretty much every day. I don’t think I would regret this.
Not surprisingly, this ties in well with my previous post about being selfish! If I give out a bunch of compliments, people will like me more and think I’M the man! This is a win-win (though as I said that’s NOT the actual reason WHY I’m doing it)!
Long story short, I think compliments are underrated and that we’d all be better off giving them out more freely.