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The compliment ungiven

Studies on the benefits of giving and receiving genuine and authentic compliments are numerous. So why hold back?

Studies on the benefits of giving and receiving genuine and authentic compliments are numerous. And yet, for the majority of us, compliments are not given very regularly, which is a shame because study after study finds enormous benefits to these small gestures. 

Before I dive deeper into these benefits, I should explain where the idea for this column started. This train of thought was sparked by a compliment that wasn’t given.  

Several weeks ago, I had the impulse to compliment someone's bright and flowing skirt. I kept the positive comment to myself, yet it nagged at me. 

Not long after, I received unexpected compliments from a different woman I passed on the street. The affirmations were kind, unexpected and I was left feeling both moved and experiencing a rush of self-confidence. Then I felt even more guilty about the compliment I had left unsaid.  

These experiences made me realize that it was time to start building a habit around sharing praise and compliments more often. 

Studies have shown that a genuine piece of specific and thoughtful praise leaves others feeling uplifted and more positive about the day, and I would venture to say it makes them feel more positive about themselves and their capabilities. 

The compliment givers also feel an increase of positivity after delivering praise and compliments. And if you praise someone you know, the bonds between you also begin to strengthen. 

I’m not an expert, but I am pretty sure that’s a win-win-win situation. 

While we may underestimate the effect or impact of a simple verbal affirmation on someone else, there isn’t much to lose in the act of making others feel good about themselves, the work they do, and even the outfits they wear.  

Just like ripples in water, even the slightest drop of positivity can cause small and expanding waves.


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