The Power of a Compliment

5 Aug

Have you ever had that moment where you see someone walking down the street or sit next to you and noticed something they were wearing that looked great on them? Did you then give them a compliment?

As outgoing as I can be, I verbalize only a small fraction of the compliments that I have in my head. I’m never sure if it will be taken well or appear as a weird stranger approaching them.  Recently, I was grabbing a bottle of wine around the corner from my apartment and noticed the woman in front of me wearing a bright shade of hot pink with patterned black and white shorts. The color was stunning on her and complimented her skin tone so well. I’m too pale to wear that color and was a tad jealous. As she turned around looking for her partner, I took my chance to give her the compliment she deserved since she was looking in my direction, mentioning how beautiful the color looked on her.

She immediately began to glow saying she doesn’t wear the color often and it was the nicest thing she’s heard all day. She couldn’t stop smiling and it was obvious her confidence had been boosted in that moment. As innocent as my intentions were, it meant so much to her just to hear what I hoped she had already known having picked out that shirt to wear.

After she left, I gave this some thought. I realized I don’t compliment people as often as I should. No matter how confident you are, it’s nice to get affirmation that someone has taken notice of you. It’s lovely to hear and makes you feel a little warmer inside. Even though I have a strong sense of style that I feel great in, I still get excited when someone mentions they like what I’m wearing. It gives me an extra pep in my step.

Secondly, it gave me hope for humanity in some way. Living in a big city like New York, everyone is so focused on themselves, whether it’s rushing to work, catching a train or just not paying attention to their surroundings, that it felt refreshing to step outside of myself where it was positively received. We can lift each other up more than we think we can. It doesn’t always require volunteer hours or charity events, but merely a kind gesture.

Giving this compliment showed me that if we all just paid a little more attention to each other, took our eyes off our phones, and really looked around, we would all live in a friendlier place. Maybe that’s the optimistic Texan in me where I want everyone to get along and be good friends, and as my boyfriend says that even buying a stick of gum in Texas means a 20 minute conversation, but I sincerely believe that small gestures can really transform into something greater.

So the next time you see someone wearing something you think looks fantastic, speak up and say something. You’ll be sure to brighten someone’s day. Don’t we all need a bit of that anyways?


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