Have you ever analyzed how you accept compliments? When someone says your dress is pretty are you apt to say, “Oh, this old thing,” or if someone says your hair looks lovely, is your response something like, “I finally got around to combing it” Some of you may think the one giving the compliment is just being nice or feeling sorry for you. I confess that I have sometimes brushed off compliments.s. There are times when I wonder if the person doing the complimenting is really sincere or maybe even feels the opposite of what she is saying. Or, I’ve done this, too, to get the attention off of me, I’ve complimented the person right back. Sometimes we find it hard to believe the nice things people say to us. I think it is a self-esteem thing! You may find it interesting to learn that sixty-one percent of the compliments are between women and are usually appearance based. Men freely compliment women but are less likely to compliment each other.
Generally our compliments come from people we know, friends or family. Getting them from a stranger is an entirely different thing. Surely a stranger is not a person we should suspect, and their compliments usually transform our day and leave us feeling genuinely appreciated. I’ve got to tell you about the compliment I received just the other day.
I was pushing my shopping cart through the grocery store when a woman coming in the opposite direction, and pushing her cart, looked at me and said, “What a fantastic
skirt!” Taking me by surprise, I said rather shyly, “thank you.” I started moving on while she said ,”Isn’t it a lovely skirt.” I didn’t know, if by then, she was talking to someone else. I didn’t look back and felt that I hadn’t handled the situation very well. Would it have been better to tell her where I got the skirt, so she could get one herself? I was utterly amazed that she would take time to pause and give genuine praise. There was a lesson for me here. Giving compliments is a gift and giving that gift to a stranger may well be a bit of positivity in their negative world.
The way I reacted is the usual way I accept compliments. I’ve always been told to just smile and say thank you, but this time I wished I had said more. I could have told her that she had made my day, that the skirt was inexpensive and available in a local store. Then again, she may be one of those people who sincerely hopes to lift people up with her kind words. But, no,she honestly responded at a glance, liking what she saw.
I’ve received other compliments from strangers. Once in a department store, a gentleman
stopped me to ask where I got the shoes I was wearing. He wanted to buy a pair like them for his girlfriend. For some reason I was uncomfortable with this encounter but I did manage to say, ” Oh, I purchased them in this very store.” Walking away from him, I realized I hadn’t told him that that was years ago. I consoled myself by thinking he probably found a pair he even liked better. In Florida, last winter, a woman said, “I like your sandals,” I did say thanks, then looked down to see what shoes I was wearing. I must say I then appreciated those shoes even more than I had before the incident.
Getting back to my skirt, there is more to this story. I left the grocery store and headed for the mall. I went into J. C. Penny’s and there on a sale rack, right in the front of the store, was the skirt I was wearing. I don’t know about you, I don’t like seeing something I’m wearing hanging on a store rack, and on sale besides. I always feel like someone might think I had taken it. I was convinced that, indeed, I should have told the stranger who complimented me where I had purchased the skirt. She would have found it bargain price.
I’d like to know how you handle compliments you receive. Have you ever complimented a stranger? Who knows, those door-opening compliments may lead to fascinating conversations with some very nice people. (That’s if you say more than “Thank You.”)
I asked my husband to take a picture of me dressed in THE skirt. Some of you may say, “yuck,” others, “It may be o.k. for you but not for me…and still others may say, like the stranger in the grocery store, “It’s fantastic.” I want to know how you feel about compliments, or even about my skirt. I hope you’ll write to Shirl and You.