Gracious Me: Gift of Compliments & Complimenting

Language can be cool and cruel. What we say and how we say it tells a lot about us. At times, the key to representing ourselves in the best light is to hold our tongue entirely. As Americans we enjoy a little somethin’ called “free speech.” It allows us to say just about anything we want, but the question is should we? Sometimes our words can result in the verbal equivalency of a hot pink thong exposed beneath a pair of low-rise jeans. We’ve all seen it and heard it, and I think we can agree… it’s not good! Last Gracious Me focused on the way gossip and the cruel side of communication, this week lets turn our attention to the cool. One of the cool ways we can communicate is through the art of giving verbal gifts. Kind words packaged as compliments. But giving and receiving these verbal gifts can be tricky, here are a few gracious reminders to giving and receiving the gift of compliments…

Giving Compliments

In their purest form, compliments are verbal gifts. They’re a wonderful way to simply encourage another by drawing attention to their strengths. The best compliment focuses on the recipient alone and not on the one giving it. It’s all about the gift, never the giver. Compliments should be given freely, often and from the heart. Sometimes we fall into the trap of an insincere compliment. You know, throwing out a line (pun intended) with the hope of hooking a gift of your own? Or we tell someone we love what they’re wearing in the quest to discover where they got it, how much it cost, and where we can buy it. As Mark Twain once said, “I can live for two months on a good compliment” so is true for those we are complimenting. A good sincere compliment will not only make someone’s day, but can add a spring to their step for weeks to come.

Receiving Compliments

Accept a compliment with a genuine “thank you!” Period. Say no more. Sometimes we get uncomfortable and dismiss the compliment or even go so far as to give reasons why the compliment is invalid with a “Oh this old thing?” or “my hair, really? I didn’t even brush it today” Just as we wouldn’t reject a gift on our birthday, so we shouldn’t reject a verbal gift. And if you’re unable to receive the gift at that moment then rather than returning it, simply tuck it away for later. Never give it back. Acceptance is the first step to living truly Gracious Me! So this weekend I challenge you to find sincere ways of encouraging others through compliments… and accepting the gifts freely and with a spirit of gratitude, by saying “Thank You!” Gracious Me, gracious lifestyle column by etiquette Expert Mindy Lockard

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