Complimenting is an art!

We have all received compliments at some point of time or the other. Some we remember, some we don’t. And then there are those few that we cherish – the ones that bring a smile on our face anytime we think of them. It could’ve been years back, but every time we think of them, the same feeling of happiness comes by again. What is it that makes a compliment tick and stick for so long? Here are a few things that made the difference:

1) How they feel depends on how you say – Firstly, like everything else, complimenting too is an art. And art means expression. Consider half the job done, when you say it with expressions and communicate your energy and enthusiasm behind the compliment. It is such that it lifts the emotional state of the receiver in an instant. Passionately communicate rather than merely stating. Compliment is an expression of praise or admiration not a generic talk.

2) Make it an identity – Anything positive can be made to an identity level statement. For example, you are a terrific orator (instead of, ‘you speak well’); you are a great singer (instead of, ‘you sing well’). This will help them get associated with a positive word for themselves and repeat their excellence in other contexts too.

3) Remember & recall – It is important that you are explicitly quoting what you liked the most. That way, you are giving evidence that you were fully there and focused; and by stating specifics, you are also helping the person understand what the best part about what they did was and help the other person bring their unconscious excellence to their consciousness. Hence repeating this behaviour will be easy for them in the future.

4) Don’t stop just yet – Stating one sentence is easy. But, if you really liked something and truly want to appreciate, be generous with words. If their actions blew you away, the least we can do is sweeping them off their feet with our words, isn’t it? This is one place where we wouldn’t leave a person wanting for more. Let’s just give it to them since they deserve it.

5) ‘Buts’ can be parked – Following up a compliment with a ‘but’ is as good as negating. It is said that whatever precedes ‘but’ is bullshit. Think about it – “I like you…but…” And you don’t even want to hear the rest of it because you know the first part is not absolute. A compliment is strong enough to stand alone. It doesn’t need the support of advises or suggestions. Let’s park them for a later date if required.

6) Stick to the present rather than the past– Sometimes, when we like something about a person in the present, we tend to compare it with the behaviour of theirs from the past which we didn’t appreciate as much. This can backfire at times. Also, rather than spending more time talking about a past that wasn’t appreciated, we might as well focus on the present that we appreciate. The golden rule is ‘stay put with the desired behaviour’.

7)  You could be better, but that is for later – It isn’t about you, so fully focus on the other. Even if you have done something similar, or if you were the one who is responsible for their excellence right now, that is not most important right now. Be magnanimous and selfless in appreciation of the other. A simple sentence like, “See, I told you” or “I did something very similar” can reduce the effect of a compliment. You can’t appreciate and advice someone at the same time!

8) Compliments don’t need cousins for comparison – Rather than telling someone that they were better than another, appreciate them for who they truly are. That way we are truly celebrating excellence without putting down another. When we compare we may forget to see their uniqueness.

9) Don’t miss the moment – As much as the compliment, the timing is also important. Say it as soon as you experience their excellence. Say someone won an award and if you wish them after 3 months, even when you had the chance to wish them the same day …!!!

10) And then stop – Anything in excess loses its credibility. Saying the same thing in different variations isn’t effective. In fact, it makes people think that there’s no depth or content in the compliment. So, it’s good to know when to stop just as well.

As much as it is a joy to receive a compliment, there is just as much in giving a compliment and lighting up someone’s day too. Intent is always right behind a compliment. Getting it right hence, becomes easy. There could be more things to make a good compliment a cherished experience. Feel free to share. And, have a wonderful day ahead!


Your Space – My Space – Our Space

Is the space around you all about yourself or does it have space for others to co-exist too? Or is it all about others and not about you?

There’s nothing wrong with thinking about the other, so long as there’s space for you. There’s nothing wrong with thinking about oneself, so long as there’s place for others too. For mutual coexistence, it is important that we are aware of each other’s space. It is even more important that we respect the spaces. As we are aware, our freedom ends where the other person’s nose begins. But sometimes we think that we can twist and turn the other person’s nose if it doesn’t match our requirements. That is not only possible but also disrespectful and harmful for a relationship.

Think about all the environments where we exist. At work, because we manage people as leaders, do we in the name of feedback and career growth expect people to change their very nature to suit our space?

What about at home, would it be upsetting if someone doesn’t eat the way we want or talk according to our criteria? What do we do then? Do we want to change them?

People may or may not be mindful of your space, but you can be. And if you are, you can ensure that your space is your space. No one needs to give you your space so long as you know to graciously occupy your space. For that, the first thing is to accept, recognise and respect yourself as an individual and that your space is just as significant as anyone else is in this world. If we keep letting others take our space, they will always continue. If you want it to stop, it is vital to communicate that you would appreciate some space. No one takes offence to that. People don’t feel hurt if you tell them you respect your space. They may feel hurt if we tell them we want their space or that we disrespect their space. People may not magically realise that they have been encroaching your space. But you can make that magic happen. A gentle, yet firm communication on what’s important about it will go a long way in establishing a respectful space. Where there’s space, there’s growth, freedom and respect.

You can be gracious of other people’s spaces too. If you are having conversations, is it all about you or what you want to talk about? Or are you mindful of different people and their interests too? There was a man who once said, “I am sorry, I have been talking about myself for a long time. Now let me pause and you can talk about me”. 🙂

Are your jokes WITH people or AT people? When we joke with people, we aren’t making fun of them or their identity. When we have fun at other’s expense, we may cross the lines of respectful boundaries and attack a person’s core self or identity. That no longer remains our space.

Don’t you like to be around people who respect you and give you your space to exist freely? Whatever you want others to be, you can be an example and lead the way. No one likes to be around a person who is always about themselves and wants others to dance to their tunes. They may find temporary acquaintances or fair-weathered friends but not the ones who stand by through all weathers. Sooner or later, life catches up. If you are all about yourself, you will have no one but yourself to care for you. And I m sure none of us want to be in that state.

When we correct, suggest, advice, get angry or irritated at people – it is good to be aware if that is because they are not matching our criteria or if there’s genuinely something wrong with what they are doing or saying. If we can’t respect kids and give them their space to make their choices, their mistakes and have their learning, how would they learn to respect us and our space in our old age? If we can’t respect our elders and their space and their limitations, how could we expect others to be mindful when we age? Can we give people the liberty to exist freely?  Just because someone is my spouse, friend, child, parent, colleague or subordinate, they don’t have to be someone they don’t wish to be. And just because we are one of the above, we don’t have to cease to exist what we truly wish to be or have the potential to be.

Let’s speak to the extent that we remember to listen
Let’s listen to the extent that we remember to speak
Let’s live in a way that we can co-exist
Let’s co-exist in a way that we can love!