Something As Easy As A Compliment

Everyone loves a compliment.

I would tell you a story, but this must be kept between us. Some years back, when I still worked in First Bank Bonny Branch (great town and all but frankly too boring for me). I frequently shuttled between Port Harcourt and Bonny. The journey itself was long and such a drag but always it was worth it. The weekends away from the island was such a relief that I usually felt like a bird let loose from its cage (and I mean it literally). The boredom the journey brought was not the only hurdle I faced though, getting a pass on board the boat was an even greater challenge.

Unfortunately, I do not have the extreme vocabulary to explain this challenge. It was always a mad house, adults behaved like high school kids tearing through the crowd to be heard or seen. Priorities were often giving to staff of NLNG and also to though on booked business categories. Then of course to those that had bookings prior to the said date (I never seemed to fall into any of these categories).

On this Sunday I got to the jetty and as usual I had no bookings, was not a staff and of course did not have a business booking priority. To make matters worse of the three boats usually used, one was at the said date bad. I found myself in a dip pit with no way to get out. This was a Sunday evening with an early morning meeting at the office the next day. Well at this point, ‘when in Rome you become a Roman’. I tore my way through the crowd to the front there was I face to face with what seemed to be the Judge, the Jury and the Prosecutor all in one person and this person was not smiling.

For a split second I was lost for words. The only statement that I could mutter however was ‘I love your hair’. Such a simple statement called ‘COMPLIMENT’ was all it took to change the look on her face to the brightest, most sheepish smile I had seen in a long while. The warmth on the face was genuine and I could see colour rise to her chic. She spent the next 3 minutes telling me how she had just made the hair and how her daughter had convinced her she looked younger in it. I don’t need to tell you after that, that I got into the boat even before the staff of NLNG.

The web dictionary defines Compliment as a polite expression of praise or admiration. With synonyms such as: Accolade, Praise, Admiration and Homage. Research carried out by David Disalvo for Harvard in 2012 showed that ‘receiving a compliment has the same positive effect as receiving cash’ just as receiving a cash reward can be sometimes uncomfortable so is it for compliments.

In some cases we may feel uneasy about a compliment received at a particular point in time, but one thing is sure, it leaves us with a smile knowing that the other person thought of us in a positive way. Doubt it? When next you receive a compliment share with me the feeling it gave you.

On the contrary the antonyms of compliments are; Insults and Criticisms. Now let’s try a small experiment. I want you to give 3 people a compliment tomorrow and also insult or criticize 3 people same tomorrow and then lets take note or possibly write down all possible descriptions of the facial expressions we received on each. Please share with me and we would discuss them in the next edition