The compliment habit


Our mothers told us “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” But what if you do have something nice to say? Do you say it? I do.

Many years ago, I realized how often I admired something specific about others without ever expressing it – a lost opportunity to share something positive. I made a New Year’s resolution to share the sincere compliments I was thinking.

I started telling friends and coworkers that that colour suits them, or their laugh makes me smile or I enjoy their different perspective. Soon, I was telling strangers on the bus that I thought their baby was beautiful or the supermarket cashier that he was rocking some great tattoos.

Surprisingly, I’ve had many people say that they were feeling low and my comment made their day. Most people smile and thank me. No one has been annoyed or accused me of harassment. And every time, I felt happier.

It makes me wonder why, as a society, we don’t have a compliment habit. With so much to gain and seemingly nothing to lose by sharing sincere compliments, why aren’t we doing this more?