COM•PLI•MENT // noun // a polite expression of praise or admiration.
COMPLIMENT CLUB, it would follow, is a group of people whom actively, enthusiastically, sincerely, and frequently offer words of praise to the people around them. My maj Tracy and I came up with Compliment Club as a way of encouraging each other to send good vibes into the world. It’s not an exclusive club… you should totally hop on in!
Let’s talk about compliments. You’ve likely gotten them when you’re wearing a flattering dress, when your hair is flipping the right way at the right time on the right day, when you’ve made an impression on someone… BOOM! Sometimes they drop a compliment in your lap. It feels great! It feels like you’ve been seen and appreciated for your hard work to be a good human. Right?
Well… giving is more important that getting. I think it was Socrates that said that. Definitely Socrates.
There are some guidelines for offering compliments. We can’t just go throwing them around willy-nilly. Here are the rules of Compliment Club. Join. Follow them. Let’s be better together. (I sincerely mean that… don’t look at me like I’m crazy.)
• First rule of Compliment Club (yes… we can talk about Compliment Club): Look for the positive in other people. This is imperative. You can’t offer a sincere compliment if you aren’t looking for the beauty in the people around you. Naturally, sometimes seeing the light in people is easier than others. In gridlock traffic? Hard…. very hard to see the good in people. Behind the lady writing a check in the express lane at the grocery store? Challenging…. extremely challenging to see the beauty in that situation.
It’s ok. Not every moment is the right time for a sincere compliment. But! If you’re regularly looking for the good in people, those moments of frustration will likely (hopefully) have less of a tinge.
• The second rule of Compliment Club: Be genuine. Mean what you say.
Stay away from hyperbole. Hyperbole is saying things like “oh my gosh you’re the best person in the world.” An exaggeration. I mean… they’re probably great, but literally the best person in the world? Is that accurate?
I’m guilty of hyperbole. I think it’s the way of the Internet these days… exaggerating to make things sound like the best, the biggest, the coolest thing EVER. Hyperbole has no place in a genuine compliment. It actually makes the compliment rather empty.
Root yourself in the compliment. Stand tall in it. I think we use hyperbole to separate ourselves from the genuine words we really want to say.
• The third rule of Compliment Club: Be Specific. Specifics go a long way.
People want to be seen and noticed for their efforts in the world. See them. Comment on them specifically.
• The fourth rule of Compliment Club: Be heartfelt is how things make you FEEL. Throw some emotional language into your genuine compliment. Make yourself vulnerable.
Here’s one, ” When you stood in line for an hour and bought me every single treat available at Tartine, you made me feel really special. I see so much kindness in you and I really appreciate you.”
(That was a good day.)
• The fifth rule of Compliment Club: Chill on the back-handed compliments. Don’t do it. Rude.
• The sixth rule of Compliment Club: Just go for it! There’s no time to waste and sometimes the window to offer someone some kindness is short.
I saw the most lovely old lady walking her dog this afternoon. I admired her but hesitated. No compliment. I lost my chance.
I suppose the lesson is: don’t worry about embarrassing yourself. Life is short. Say it and mean it!
• The seventh rule of Compliment Club: Don’t expect anything in return. Everyone absorbs a compliment differently. Some people feel embarrassed. Others might want to refute you. Some with thank you. Some might back away slowly. Have no expectations. Just put your kind words out in the world, let them linger in the air, soak in… and your job is done! Besides, expecting a compliment in return would make you a jerk and jerks don’t deserve compliments anyway.
Ultimately, Compliment Club is not about being flashy, outgoing, or overly extroverted… it’s about genuinely liking people, seeing their good, and reflecting their light back to them. Totally easy. Go on, have at it!
As the recepient of a lovely compliment last week, I can attest to its power. It came at exactly the right time, just what I needed. I appreciated her kind words,and will always remember them.
This is such a great sentiment and post! On that note, I love how you seem so enthusiastic about life and baking. I follow your instagram and have made so many of your recipes! Thank you!
I am SO PUMPED to join Compliment Club – it’s like shine theory, but in gift form! It always feels so damn good to give a genuine compliment, I keep meaning to do more of it. Thanks for the inspo (also, these rules are SPOT ON).
Love this! The world needs more genuine good vibes! :) http://www.thinkelysian.com
The perfect way to live.
I love this, Joy! I teach kids with severe disabilities at a high school in Virginia. Last year, a coworker and I decided that our school, (and,honestly, the world), could use some more love and a LOT less negativity. We started a campaign called Live Kindness as a sort of alternative to the anti-bullying campaign. Instead of telling students what they shouldn’t do, we have been encouraging them to look for all the little things they CAN do. We’re trying to get our students and colleagues to look for opportunities to make someone’s day better. Little things, like giving a compliment, create a ripple effect that can really make a difference in this world. I’m rambling now but this is close to my heart!
What I’m trying to say is: thank you. I love the message behind this. Keep spreading the joy =).
I’m one of those people that feels incredibly awkward when I get complimented on my clothes, shoes or appearance. I know some women love it so I say nice things but lately I’ve been trying this thing where I compliment less superficially i.e. looks + something on the inside. Inside-outside compliments, I call them. You’re totally correct about taking a chance and saying something good about people like cute old ladies. I’ve done it before and it is worth it. It really spreads all this wonderful positive energy into the world and I love that. Yes to Compliment Club!
Maddy @ The Sweetest Beet
This brought such a smile to my face. I love that you’re blog stretches beyond just food and recipes (which are absolutely divine and delicious), bringing an overarching “feel good” vibe to all the posts you write. It’s such a breath of fresh air!
I absolutely love this. I’m definitely guilty of exaggerating my compliments just because I’m SO passionate about it. But reading that rule made me realize that it can actually cause a negative reaction. Thank you so much for posting this! <3
Catalina // heartenest
It’s easier to compliment kids sometimes, you know they’re dependent on adults for so many things and it makes sense that they should be mostly or at least partly dependent on us for their sense of self-worth. The rules you gave work really well for kids, focus on what they did and how it was helpful, be specific and sincere because they can spot a faker. I would add one more, though: don’t compliment girls (or women for that matter) only on how they look – it reinforces what society tells them all the time, when they could be hearing from you that they are smart, articulate, funny or a great runner, and not just “that’s a pretty dress you’re wearing”.