There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread. –Mother Teresa
You know how some people are just a pleasure to be around, bringing sunshine wherever they go? It’s easier than you think to be one of those people, or at least to brighten someone’s day. It’s even good for you! Research has shown that giving compliments can strengthen your relationships, make you happier and live longer, improve your health, and even help you sleep better at night.
Why? Because people live longer and are happier when they see the positive side of life – and if you are looking for the good in people so you can compliment them, you are more likely to notice the good things all around you.
Make the World a Better Place
Your world will become sunnier, too, because behavior that is rewarded is likely to be repeated. As people get positive feedback for a behavior, they’re more likely to do it again. This means, the more you praise people for being kind, brave, generous, thankful, and loving, the more you will be surrounded by kindness, courage, generosity, gratitude, and love.
In long-lasting relationships, compliments outnumber criticisms by more than five to one! Nobody likes to be taken for granted. Giving compliments and recognition lets people know that you notice and value them.
Be Honest and Interested
When you give a compliment, make eye contact and smile, and use friendly body language. Don’t say just anything – be honest. There’s always something positive and truthful to say!
An example: Someone asks how you like their new dress and you think it’s hideous. Respond with something nice and also true. Say, “Oh, what a gorgeous color!” or, “It’s such an elegant style!” or, “You look beautiful in it, and so happy!” Then ask a question. If she loves her new purchase, she will enjoy talking about it. Ask, “Where did you find it?” or, “Is this the first time you’ve worn it?” Showing interest in someone is praise in itself.
When giving a compliment, make sure it is about the other person, and not about you judging them. For example, if your partner promised to clean out the car two weeks ago, and only did it this morning, say, “I really appreciate your cleaning out the car,” rather than, “Thanks for finally cleaning out the car.”
Compliments Are for Everyone
Women tend to give more compliments to each other and fewer to men, except when they are flirting. However, positive feedback builds strong friendships, and that’s between people of any gender.
Some Nice Starters
While you get in the swing of offering more compliments and praise, here are some to start off with. Use these wherever they apply!
- I love your smile.
- Thank you for being so considerate.
- I enjoy talking with you. You always have an interesting point of view.
- I’m so glad we ran into each other. It’s always great to see you.
- It was generous of you to buy my lunch. Thank you!
- Your eyes are sparkling today.
- You look so happy, it’s infectious.
- I always love seeing how you’ve done your hair, you do it so many beautiful ways.
- I love your shirt; that fabric is really pretty.
- I appreciate how clearly you stated that point.
- You are so kind and patient with your daughter, it’s wonderful to see.
Put Yourself in Their Shoes
Not everyone is comfortable receiving compliments and praise. Some people might think they don’t deserve it. Others from a different cultural background might think accepting a compliment is impolite or immodest. Follow the Golden Rule: offer as much praise as the other person is comfortable with, since that’s what you would want them to do for you.
Praise is a gift that keeps on giving. You make other people happier and healthier and give your relationships strength and longevity. Then—what a bonus!—the more you do it, the happier and healthier you become! As you practice telling people what you appreciate about them, you’ll notice more and more things to appreciate, and every day the world will seem kinder and more overflowing with blessings.
Now this is your turn. Share the best compliment that you have ever received or gave somebody.