Why Bother to Give and Receive Compliments?

Why Bother to Give and Receive Compliments?

When was the last time you received a compliment? How did that make you feel? Incidentally, when was the last time you gave a compliment and how did it feel to bestow it? Interestingly enough, it is believed that giving and receiving a compliment produces the same results in both people, making them equally, a little happier. 


The other day, I met a friend for lunch. Because of an employee shortage, there are fewer and fewer restaurants to choose from in our little town. But, we were lucky enough to find one that we both liked and that was also open for business. As our hostess seated us on the deck that overlooked a beautiful bay of blue water, I noticed we were not the only ones who’d decided to go out to lunch that day. The place was packed.

I wasn’t bothered by the amount of time it took for us to be served. The food was delicious, the atmosphere was casual and my friend and I had a pleasant visit. At the end of the meal, when the waitress brought us our check, I looked at her and said, “You know, you are a very good waitress.”  Her face broke into a smile. 

“It is my first day,” she said.

“Well, you are doing a great job.” 

“Thank you.” 

Our casual exchange of words took less than sixty seconds, but it gave us both a big return. I felt happy that I could reinforce the good effort put forth by a new waitress and the waitress appeared to feel valued by my words.  

Compliments are a gift. They are a buoy to anyone’s heart. They are free and powerful too.  Spoken regularly, they become easier to speak. We only have to look around a little bit to notice who is around and could benefit from a kind word. 

Another thing about compliments, they beget praiseworthy actions. When someone pays attention to something I am wearing and makes a comment such as, “I really like those colors on you,” you can bet I will wear that outfit again. Not that I am fishing for another compliment, but I want to wear whatever makes me look good. 

I am not a pretender, so when I give a compliment, it is genuine. Whether I am noticing the beautiful earrings a friend is wearing or the welcoming smile of the clerk sitting at the front desk of the health club, a few words that acknowledge something praiseworthy about them inevitably gets a positive response. 

So why bother to give or receive a compliment? Paying tribute to someone or accepting someone else’s gift of genuine appreciation will only make happier individuals if even for a moment. 

Why Bother to be Surprised?

Why Bother To Be Surprised?

Lately, I’ve been noticing the unexpected, unplanned and small pleasantries that occur at least once in my life on any given day. These little surprises give my heart a lift. I’m caught off guard and suddenly, I feel glad. Like biting into my favorite chocolate candy, these little unorchestrated surprises give a large dose of momentary pleasure. 

        Good Moments

Someone once wrote, “One of the greatest moments in life is the moment we recognize we have them in the first place.” Great moments are those interludes, interruptions or pauses that take place in an ordinary day. But, they are extraordinary. These junctions between the planned and the unplanned, the expected and the unexpected cause us to pause. We want to savor the second. We want to absorb the minute of goodness that has come our way. Though we have schedules to keep and goals to accomplish, en route of these comes an encounter. Something  that is almost indescribable.  

For instance, this past week I was caught off guard when two different people on two different occasions took the time to remember me. One sent me a text, out of the blue, with a very kind message of appreciation. Another person, an ex-brother-in-law, pulled into my driveway, delivered a bottle of wine and a friendly greeting. Both of these incidents were something out of the ordinary in the midst of an ordinary day. 

A friend of mine, who studies dreams, told me that the more I write my dreams down, the more dreams I will remember. I find the same to be true concerning those moments that I consider to be a gift, a little twinkling of goodness that comes my way. The more I notice them, the more of them I begin to notice.

Seeing wildlife is not extraordinary. It is not uncommon for me to see eagles, ospreys and deer when I go out for a run or a bike ride. But while kayaking two weeks ago I saw a heron take flight. I was close enough to notice something I’d never noticed before. I saw the heron shorten its long neck as it began to fly. Instead of watching the National Geographic channel on television to learn about herons in flight, I got to live a National Geographic moment. A small, yet momentous sight for my eyes. 

Why acknowledge the unexpected as something good? Why be excited or surprised by the unanticipated? Though I don’t get to control these appearances, or preserve them to bring out later, I do get to feel the lift they give my heart in that wink of time.  

Why bother to be surprised? Those little nuggets of goodness are to be enjoyed. Why not notice them for their intention- a simple pleasure.