“She was the best waitress ever. Really. She was just so nice and endearing. And likable.”
That’s what I said, giving a compliment meant for a waitress to Ron, who agreed and then challenged me from across the table as a Maui breeze floated through the open-air restaurant.
“Go tell her, then,” he said.
Um. Okay. Nah, it’s okay. I guess. Fine. She’s talking to someone. It’s okay. We can go. Let’s just…fine. I’ll go. Who cares if she thinks I’m weird. I’ll tell her.
Those were the ensuing stages of awkwardness I went through after hearing Ron’s challenge, as if he told me to run around the place topless or announce to everyone that I had just shit my pants or something.
It was just a compliment. Something everyone would love to hear. A totally unbiased, outsider affirmation. And I stammered. And considered bailing.
But, I’m glad I didn’t.
“That’s so sweet,” she said, after I interrupted her at another table to spill a string of endorsements in front of her current customers. “That just made my whole day.”
Why in the world don’t we do this more? Why do we whisper compliments meant for others to ourselves? I do it all the time.
That’s a cute dress. Or, he was so helpful. Or, any number of compliment-worthy things. Just because they’re strangers? Is that why? I held back because years ago someone let me know it was a weird practice to compliment strangers – or engage with them at all – as if there was an underlying ulterior motive for the interaction.
But, there never was. It was just a compliment. That’s all.
Does everyone think it’s weird? When someone offers one to me I never think it’s weird. It’s wonderful –and impossible not to smile. It would be weird if the person followed me around and tried to, like, hang out or invite themselves over for a game of charades or something. But a compliment is just that – a few, nice, genuine words.
A friend of mine does this all the time. It comes naturally to her – like a gift – and she just makes anyone feel good about themselves when she’s around them. I’ve told her and she’ll blush at hearing it again (because it’s effortless for her) but it’s true. Friends, strangers – doesn’t matter.
If a compliment makes someone’s day, why not do it every day? I mean, if it’s warranted. I know it sounds very “Mr. Rogers,” but I’m thinking that’s only because we all don’t do it enough.
I’m totally down with making someone’s day. Any day. Because, kindness is free. And on some days, in short supply.