My Compliments to You.
by Risa Green
I have a somewhat reserved personality, and I will admit that this does not always make it easy for people to get to know me. In the past, women (who are now my good friends) have told me that when they first met me, they felt that I was cold, and kind of bitchy. Which, in my defense, I’m not (or at least, not always). I’m just not initially a super warm and fuzzy kind of person, and it doesn’t help that my mouth naturally turns down, causing me to perpetually frown as I go about my business, even if I’m perfectly happy. (And also causing construction workers and many annoying, uber-happy strangers to command me to “Smile!” as I walk down the street.) But it’s always bothered me, this perception I give off of being a bitch, and so recently, I’ve decided to try to do something about it.
In an effort to Seem Nicer, my New Year’s resolution this year was to give more compliments to people, whether it’s strangers, acquaintances or good friends. Now let me clarify – I’m not talking about giving people fake compliments. I don’t believe in telling someone that they look great when they really look like they haven’t slept in a month, or in telling someone that I love their shoes when I wouldn’t be caught dead in them. It’s condescending, and people know when someone is feeding them a load of crap. And let’s remember, my goal here is to come off as less bitchy, not more. Instead, what I am talking about is giving people real, genuine compliments. Because the truth is, I think nice things about people in my head all the time, I just don’t always verbalize them. I’ve tried to think about why this is, and I’ve only been able to come up with two reasons: 1) Sometimes, especially when I’m dealing with people at checkout counters or cashiers, I just don’t have time to get into conversations, so I keep my mouth shut and move along, and 2) sometimes it just doesn’t occur to me that the other person might actually want to hear what I think about their hair/outfit/jewelry/shoes, etc. But when I really considered this, I realized that it’s totally ridiculous. Of course people want to hear what I think if what I think is nice. Who doesn’t like getting a compliment? And so I decided that from that point on, whenever I think something nice about someone, I’m going to tell them. Plain and simple.