Out in town with Barney today on a wild boot chase, catching up after she’s spent ten days flinging herself down mountains between necking ‘cough syrup’ (Jagermeister) and videoing some questionable dance moves from our friends and I couldn’t help but clock the assistant in Fat Face giving me the eye. So of course I automatically assume that my skirt is tucked in my knickers or I have snot on my face and am thus rather taken aback when she sidles up and asks where I got my dress from because I looked lovely.
Colour me chuffed! As Barney said, it’s one thing hearing a compliment from a friend, because they’re easy to shrug off through friendly obligation to be nice but it’s another to have a stranger say something complimentary. I wanted the ground to open up and swallow me whole because I was so embarrassed by the positive attention though, having gotten used to negative attention over the years but it also got me thinking…
I wish more people were forthcoming with compliments, particularly to strangers because you never know if you’re going to make someone’s day by telling them you like their scarf, or that their hair is lovely or you simply MUST know where they got their bag. It takes literally seconds, doesn’t cost anything and gives you good karma, what’s not to love? Sure you might not get the reaction you want, the recipient might look at you like you’re in need of locking away or they might ignore you and march off without a backwards glance but in my experience what is most likely to happen is that they’ll grin like a lunatic, thank you profusely and go on their way with some pep in their step.
You’re not going to lose anything by doing it and in fact whenever I pay someone an unexpected compliment, I find that I put myself in a perkier mood by way of osmosis. It’s almost like magic. Be nice and you’ll feel nice. Sometimes you need to put the stiff upper lip to one side and not be such a chicken shit that a person you’ve never seen before and will most likely never see again might think you’re a bit odd for paying them a compliment. If you’re anything like me your head will keep up a running commentary on people you see as you walk down the street anyway, like
‘what on EARTH is that man wearing?!’
‘Release the hounds! Why? Because I see a FOX!’
‘Ooooh that handbag is nice, I wonder where she got it’
and it’s about ruddy time we all started expressing the good stuff a bit more. I don’t mean I’m about to go up to every bloke I see who is a bit fit and tell them so, but I am going to make a concerted effort to try and spread the love a bit more.
What’s the best unexpected compliment you’ve ever received?
N.B. Go easy on the compliments when you’ve had a few. I still shudder in horror thinking about a rather lubricated Long Tall Ally stroking the side of an upset stranger’s face in our local dive club whilst telling her she looked beautiful ‘even when she was crying’…