I’ve noticed something very perplexing.

When I compliment people, they think I am saying nice things just to make them feel good- by massaging their ego. In the first place, if you know me at all, you’d know that I hate- yes hate- the word nice. I don’t do nice. I feel like throwing it in boiling oil and them stamping it to death again once it is charred beyond recognition.

When I compliment you, I compliment myself, because I am who I associate with. ― Jarod Kintz

In the second place, you are wrong. Ego is too wily a thing to massage. I wouldn’t touch it with a ten foot pole. Besides, it is boring.

The impression I get from people’s reaction is that I am a Pollyanna with a strong proclivity towards people pleasing and a sizable dose of absolute cluelessness thrown in for good measure. My dear friend, if I weren’t so amused by your miscalculated assessment, I should be very angry! I might even (rudely) declare that you have mouldy rocks in your empty skull!

In all honesty though, I cannot deny the Pollyanna accusation. I am an unabashed and unapologetic Pollyanna. I think there is goodness and all things good round every corner and in all the space between one corner and the next. Sometimes I try to pretend that goodness doesn’t rain from the skies nor slide down the rays of the sun in rollicking abandon, but I know it is a lost cause even before I begin. Pretensions don’t last. Truth will out, eventually.

I was very pleased with your kind letter. Until now I never dreamed of being something like a hero. But since you’ve given me the nomination I feel that I am one. ― Albert Einstein

(Aside: I will be using the pronoun ‘you’ in the rest of the piece. It is being used to refer to that dumb nut standing over there… not YOU. Despite this, if you choose to feel offended, you have my blessings.)

When I pay you a compliment, it is because I genuinely think there is something worth appreciating in you. I am incapable of people pleasing. I couldn’t massage an ego to please a dying grandmother. Told you I wasn’t a people pleaser, didn’t I? Grandmothers are people too, in case you didn’t know. Moreover, both my grandmothers are already done with their dying and stuff. So there!

No but seriously, what is it that frightens you about my compliments? Do you think it an advance contingent (in the nature of an smelly lubricant) to announce an unreasonable demand? Do you think I am pumping you full of hot air so that you won’t notice that you are floating away to some dungeon where I will stick lighted candles between your toes before pulling out your finger nails to persuade you to sign away your two rusted cents to me? Like, really dude?

Or is your trepidation indicative of a deeper malady, hey?

I felt like everyone’s second choice, which is why a compliment could catch me off guard. ― Sonia Sotomayor

Are you frightened of my commendation because the experience is new to you? Is it because you have lived in an environment of such debilitating and virulent criticism that you cannot believe a word of sincere praise?

By suspecting me of ulterior motives, do you know the statement you are making about your own person? You are declaring that in your eyes your are unworthy of admiration and approval. Is that what you want to wear on your sleeve? Doesn’t seem frightfully cool to me, you know what I’m sayin’ hon?

I will not deny that there are people who have, let us say, a natural talent for sycophancy. They flatter and sweet- talk even when they have nothing to gain, no axe to grind. Frankly, I can’t imagine such pointless corruption. Sell your soul if you must but at least get a pork chop in return! And then for you to suspect me of it! Oh, please!

I have been complimented many times and they always embarrass me; I always feel they have not said enough. ― Mark Twain

To assume that everyone who pays you a compliment is a sycophant- with out without an axe to grind, doesn’t serve you. It might be true one out of ten times. To skewer your world view to accommodate as rare an aberration as that hardly seems worth the trouble. The only thing you will accomplish will be to find crookedness in absolutely straight nine people out of ten.

To accommodate one bad apple (when, if it is there), should I throw away nine perfectly good ones? Don’t  do the math. I did it and I had to be put in a padded cell for a year. Just take my word for it and desist from turning up every flat rock you encounter. Nine of them don’t have creepy crawly slugs under them. And who cares about the tenth? Not you. And this time I mean YOU, not the dumb nut standing over there. Er…. yes.

I have also noticed something else.

(Aside: I am again using the pronoun ‘you’ with the same disclaimer (and blessing) applicable as in the Aside above.)

Why do you clam up like a stuffed frog when you admire someone? Why can’t you (wo)man up and tell some poor struggling soul that you think they are the best thing you’ve met in a month of Sundays? Is it such a hardship pour a sip of this life- giving elixir down a languishing, thirsty  throat?

It is never ridicule, but a compliment, that knocks a philosopher off his feet. He is already positioned for every possible counter-attack, counter-argument, and retort…only to find a big bear hug coming his way. ― CrissJami

Do you know what happens to all the compliments that you hoard to your chest like a parsimonious blood- sucker? They turn into screaming banshees and throw you from the top of Qutub Minaar (take a pick from Eiffel Tower, Burj Khalifa, Empire State Building, Shanghai World Financial Center et al depending on your current location and stop distracting me dammit! I have work to do here!!).

Yes, they throw you from a height with nary a safety net and laugh (duly screaming) derisively while you tick off the seconds to setting new world records in plastering yourself on the pavement in the most artistic fashion. They do (throw you), trust me. And that, is not be a pretty sight. There will hardly be anything left of you to scrape up. I shouldn’t be surprised if you leave room in a teaspoon!

Collect compliments with thankfulness, grace and joy; distribute them with benevolence and pleasure. Let them move around you as light as air. Aid their circulation with a free hand.

A compliment or two makes the world such a happy place, right?

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Note: If you stretch a point, an appreciative comment too can be called a compliment. Beware of the lurking banshees..! #JustSayin’