A compliment is defined as an expression of praise, commendation or admiration. It is a saying that is best executed when done with evident sincerity and respect, and best received when the recipient is secure enough to simply accept words at face value.
But in this ever unsavory world we live in, I have noticed the fallacies of the giving and receiving in the Complimentary Process. Relationships have ended, fights have been started and wars have been waged over compliments gone array. People say so many inwardly habitual phrases that it’s difficult to tell when someone really means that you have on a nice dress or hat.
At what point does a complement stop being a generous praise, and become a demeaning observation?
In order for a compliment to maintain its dignity it must remain a complement. I was unaware that they were spelled differently until I looked it up, but they are different words.
A compliment works a lot like a compliment in that it works best when all parties work well together. Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker go together like coffee and cream.
When I was in 8th grade I told a Filipino girl that I thought she looked like Rob Schneider. (Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo.) I didn’t mean any harm. I intend to say that she looked like she could be his daughter. Either way it wasn’t the best idea I’ve ever had, and she told me I was a bad person.
I learned then that 8th grade girls don’t like to be compared to men in their late 30s that portray male prostitutes. But I heard that girls mature faster than boys so that example is a bit understandable. An example that is more pertinent to our age group is my friend David H. He told me that a girl came up to him and told him that he looked like Hailey Joel Osmond (The Sixth Sense). She was intent that it was a compliment because, “Hailey is cute.”
No grown man wants to be compared to a childhood star. Not even grown up childhood stars want to be compared to childhood stars! Though I’m certain she was sincere, she only made it worse by being honest. She’s no better than I was in 8th grade.
When you have half a complement you get a whole awkward moment, and they don’t teach you that equation in any class offered here.
Sometimes it’s rough trying to tell someone what you think because you never know how someone will receive it. I’m guilty of it. Someone complimented my boots and instead of just showing my gratitude, I replied, “These boots are old, man. I need some new ones.”
I don’t know what compelled me to comply to a compliment with such apathy but it just came out of me. I don’t think I can help it. My social skills have been stunted by a society. When you pass someone, it is courtesy to ask, “Hey, how’s it going?” When in truth, you don’t care, and might not even remember that person’s name. I hate when I see someone I kind of know but I’m not sure if they’ll see me so I’m forced to decided to speak to or ignore them. And I usually get the courage to say, “Good afternoon,” but I really mean, “Wow. If you had not made eye contact with me I would have pulled out my slidekick and pretended to be texting as a tool of ignorance to your existence.”
A compliment gone wrong is a dangerous affair and should not be taken lightly. If a compliment is true to its purpose, then it will be executed with sincerity, and the statement will be received gladly. Anything else is just spiraling combustion of awkward aura and should be avoided.