I want to start a compliment revolution. There are a few revolutions I’d like to ignite, actually, but this one is super easy. If you’re with me, (go ahead, shout it now, “I’m with you!”) I think we could change the world this very week. So I’m declaring this the week of Global Compliments. Someone call Hallmark and the Nobel Peace Prize committee.
How to give a compliment:
1. Sincerity is paramount. Fake compliments are very bad juju. The good news is that you shouldn’t have to look too hard to find reasons to compliment the people around you.
2. Compliments on how great someone looks are an easy way to spread the love …
I was standing in line at The Gap and there was a thirty-something woman ahead of me—cute as a button, she was. Pixie hair cut and red nails. She was wearing a hounds tooth knit poncho, skinny jeans, paten leather ankle boots, and an over-sized men’s watch. She had it goin’ on. I waited until she was snapping her wallet shut and leaned forward and said, “You look great,” and gave her that chick-to-chick well done nod. “Oh really? she said. “I don’t feel great.” And then her eyes filled with tears. “Gee, that was so nice to hear, thanks.” And I just nodded, a bit taken aback myself, my own eyes a bit misty. I hoped she walked a bit taller all the way home.
3. Compliments are a tiny but potent form of intimacy. If you’re complimenting a total stranger, make it brief and quick so your pure intentions don’t get misconstrued as a come on. Sometimes, it’s best to compliment someone as a “drive by” or last minute gesture. And use your best intuition for the vibe. I once walked up to a woman in a food court and said, “You look fucking fabulous.” She just about choked on her salad roll, but she did smile from ear to ear and I saw her grinning and nodding to herself as I walked away.
4. Compliments for good customer service are a joy to give, especially when you go out of your way to give them.
Last week I called customer service to open a new bank account online. “Just keep clicking ‘other,’” The guy prompted me. “And be sure to transfer this there before you do that or you’ll get dinged a fee.” He was my hero. “Robert,” I said, “this was such great service. Do you have a supervisor I can talk to? I’d like to tell them that you’re great.” Well I thought Robert was going to break out into a show tune he was so happy. And, get this … when I spoke to his manager, he told me that staff with the most positive customer feedback will win a free cruise this year. So my one minute compliment may land Robert a good tan and some pina coladas when he most needs them.
5. Keep it simple. Send love through your eyes and voice. Imagine things blooming from your lil’ gesture of goodness.