When was the last time you complimented a stranger? Excluding that time you were in the club bathroom and you loved that girl’s shoes. Not counting complimenting customers at work to adhere to friendly service standards. But a time when you were out in public, doing your own thing, and complimented someone you crossed paths with. It may take you awhile to remember- writing this article I realized that I am guilty of not doing this often.
Now, think of a time that you were a genuine compliment by someone you did not know. You probably blushed and got shy. Perhaps you got a fuzzy feeling in your stomach? Looked down at your feet and said “Oh, thank you!” Then you probably went back home and said to your family over dinner “You will not believe what happened to me today!” proceeding to retell the story of the compliment with your own embellishments to sensationalize the events.
it happened, my point is, you felt good right? And aren’t we always looking for more ways to feel good? Then when you feel good, you’re more to do more good- and a pattern of kindness emerges. Compliments are one of the simplest to give and receive, and best of all it’s free! I don’t know about you, but with everything going on in the world I was struggling with a feeling of helplessness. I am one person, and I am far from wealthy, what can I do to help lift up ?
One day I was out walking my dog when I crossed paths with another dog owner. We smiled and nodded at each other while our dogs sniffed and touched noses. As I was about to walk away the dog owner said “I love your hat! Where did you get it?” I was wearing a black brimmed hat with a gold chain accent, which in the fall is a part of my go- dog walking attire. I blushed, smiled, looked down at my jacket and felt kind of shy. replied “Oh, thank you! got it at some vintage store downtown.”
“Well it looks super on you! Take care!” and she walked away. Let me tell you, I felt so good afterwards. In fact, I proceeded to find a nice tree to pose underneath and took selfies almost after. I can truly say, that moment made my day go from average to great!
on my serotonin high, I walked back to my building and got in the elevator with one of my . I’ve ridden the elevator with him about a thousand times, and he always has the nicest sneakers on. Plus they’re always in pristine condition- which seems miraculous to myself who cannot keep mud off my shoes to save my life. I thought to myself I should tell him I like his shoes, he takes pride in them, he’ll appreciate that I noticed. And I did.
“You always have the nicest sneakers! And I admire how you keep them in such great shape,” gesturing first to his shoes then to my beaten up rubber boots. He paused, looked at me, looked at his shoes, and then smiled before saying “Oh, thank you! Yeah my collection of sneakers are my prized possessions, the thing that means more to me is my wife.” We shared a laugh before exchanging good nights as he got off the elevator. That’s when it hit me; compliments are contagious!
Had that dog owner not complimented my hat, I may not have felt confident enough to talk to my to tell him I liked his shoes. Her act of kindness not made my day, but it propelled me to be kind to someone else. Who knows, I made my ‘s day! I also observed that after giving the compliment, and having it so well-received, I felt better too! After a little more research I learned that giving compliments is actually proven to make you feel as good as receiving them and it helps manifest a more positive mind set.
I am making a pledge to myself- from now on I’m not going to keep these compliments alone in my thoughts, I am going to say them out loud! I thought hard about times when I did compliment strangers. Though it took me awhile to remember anything specific, two moments stood out in my mind.
One day I was in line for coffee behind a girl who had her nails painted in this beautiful shade of blue with little flowers painted on the ends- so I told her I love them, and I learned that she did them herself! Another day I was feeling bold and the guy beside me on the subway was listening to one of my songs in his headphones. I typed out my compliment on my cellphone and lifted it to his eye line. He smiled and laughed. He took his headphones we realized that we had both been at that bands concert a month earlier!
Human beings are social creatures- yet we tend to live in our own world a lot of the time, forgetting about those around us. Taking a moment to connect with one and other — no matter how brief- is proving to be more important than ever. Paying a stranger a compliment can be life affirming when you realize the positive power your words can have on others. Sharing a smile with someone helps bring sunny thoughts even on your cloudiest of days.
Now I am passing on my challenge to you, take two extra seconds and give out a random compliment to someone you don’t know. Who knows, that small gesture of kindness will turn their day around. Perhaps you’ll be surprised with the feeling it gives you in return. Go ahead! Sprinkle about some and joy, we could all use more of it, and find out for yourself how contagious compliments can be!