Monday, May 24, 2010
Compliments are healthy for you
Surely it’s not so unthinkable that someone likes something about you. And they might even say it.
Then what do you do?
Elizabeth Bernstein (WSJ, May 4, 2010) talks about why we are so unsettled by compliments.
Of course, some compliments are, shall we say, mixed? She cites the example of a man dressed to the nines in a receiving line and a dowager said, “You certainly do dress well…for a fat man.”
I used to get the “you have such a pretty face” one, followed by a pause where I was to mentally insert, “Too bad your body is so fat.”
“You short people sure are intelligent” was another back-hander she cited. Or “You must have been pretty when you were young.” Or (this one made me laugh), “You look like Kevin Spacey.”
One thing about compliments—we hear what we want to hear. If we are feeling insecure, we may take it as a shot.
We can accept compliments easier from a peer—someone who knows how hard you work or whatever the praise is about.
Sometimes you will believe something nice from a mere acquaintance and not from a loved one.
Just be sincere. Don’t overdo it.
If you are praised, just say thank you.
You also don’t have to toss out a compliment in return—this isn’t tennis.