Friday, November 4, 2011

Easy to Give but Hard to Receive

Remember you were told it was better to give than receive? If you were under 25 you probably doubted that was true. I was sure it wasn't. Even as a child I liked buying or making presents (outlet for creativity from the choosing to the wrapping), but I loved to get them even more. Then something happened so that the getting, while nice, wasn't as fun as the giving.

Compliments are something else. It's always been easier to give many than receive even one. What's the first thing you say when someone compliments you on your outfit that day? Do you say, "Gee thanks. I spent so much time trying to put these pieces together and checked myself out in the mirror so many times I was practically late." (aka The Truth), or do you say "What? This old thing?"

Why is it so hard to say, "Thank you"? Do we fear that smacks of sounding superior (Yes, of course you like it because I knew what I was doing)? On the other hand doesn't the false modesty of "this old thing" send another message (Not only do I have the bad taste to wear old clothes you don't have the good taste to see that)? You have just put down yourself and the compliment-giver.

Do you immediately give back a compliment in return? "Thanks! I really like the blouse you're wearing too." Evidently this is the territory of both people pleasers and those so uncomfortable receiving a compliment they have to throw it back right away.

When you accept a compliment graciously you are in fact complimenting the giver's wisdom, judgment and opinion. You can even reinforce a compliment by extending it to "Thank you. I'm glad you like it." or "Thank you. I'm glad you noticed." or "Thank you. I just bought this and wasn't sure it looked good on me."

There have been studies that mastering the simple art of receiving compliments (obviously not so simple an art) will make you a more well-balanced and self-assured person. Think of a compliment as a gift on the best possible plane: Lovely to give AND receive.

Thanks today to Faye Jones, who not only can give a compliment, she can take one too.

1 comment:

  1. I often say: Thanks, I like it too...- ( kind of stating the obvious because if you are ME, you are not wearing something you do NOT like)- but it's not the usual response and saying it forms the mouth into a smile which is sort of the point of interpersonal exchanges anyway.
    I think "how nice of you to say that" even works when the person with whom you are chatting has just insulted you.
    Recently i was watching the Kardasians ( before the divorce) and the husband to be- Kris- said to the bride to be-soon to be ex-wife---3 years ago you were working in a boutique, in a few years, after you have children nobody will even remember which i would have said THANK YOU FOR SAYING THAT, with as much venom as I could muster--of course it is all in the delivery.
    All that said- "how nice you look" is a better compliment than "I like your dress"---tho the combination of the two is a total winner. I wish men read this blog- they could learn a few things!