Art Intelligence

Guest column | The art of giving and receiving compliments

Guest column | The art of giving and receiving compliments
Written by Noah Roy

Compliments are the helium that fills everyone’s balloon. They raise the level of the person receiving them so that he can overcome life’s problems and land safely on the other side.

Bernie Siegel

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where someone came up to you, enthusiastically held your hand, complimented you on your accomplishments or appearance as you turned this or that direction, shyly looking for an excuse to get out of the situation?

Now, imagine this scenario, you meet a girlfriend at a party who looks amazing in her new dress and she looks to you for approval but all you can muster is “Beautiful!” or “You look good but would have been better if you had worn different earrings.” Well, it is likely that you need to hone the art of giving or receiving compliments.

Research shows that the average person spends about 142 minutes or two and a half hours a day on social media and the average user has about 338 friends on Facebook. By living in a virtual world one finds it easy to connect with and praise people on social media because these AI based websites have automatically generated responses for every kind of circumstance.

On the other hand, responses and compliments in real word do not show similar enthusiasm or warmth because one not only fumbles over the right choice of words to overlook the compliments but also the motivation required to accept them.

Here are some of the reasons why we give or accept compliments:

The feel-good factor: Mark Twain famously said, “I can live two months with good praise.” This is the positivity that is instilled in a person’s life through one positive comment. Research reveals that when a person receives a compliment, it activates the striatum (a part of the human brain that is activated when a person receives an award). The reaction stimulates the release of chemical messengers or neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin. Dopamine makes one feel happy, while serotonin helps reduce stress.

It strengthens the bondChinese philosopher Sun Tzu said, “When envoys are sent with flattery in their mouths, this is a sign of the enemy’s desire for a truce.” Genuine compliments are the best way to strengthen bonds whether at home or in the workplace. A manager who knows how to keep his subordinates optimistic by frequently praising their work is a true, responsible and capable leader. Parents should also often praise children for their achievements not only to boost their confidence but also to strengthen parental bonds.

Make the person feel noticed and appreciated American novelist Cynthia Osick believes, “We often take things that are worthy of our gratitude for granted.” Housewives, in many homes, bear a grudge because their work goes unnoticed as well as underappreciated. When you pray to the Almighty to put food on your plates, always remember to appreciate the person who prepared it for you. Don’t be stingy in offering the occasional compliment to your driver, your housekeeper, your building security guard, the waiter who brings your food, and many of those people whose efforts and work probably go unnoticed and underappreciated because they are on the fringes of your everyday life.

grow strength: We are often told to believe in ourselves and in our own strength. However, when someone else praises you, faith in your ability doubles. Be the mainstay of someone else’s abilities by giving a compliment. The compliment at the right moment dispels any shadow of self-doubt or uncertainty that the person may have. Remember, praise is like karma – what goes around, comes. When you give strength to others, you feel a moral uplift and this in turn gives inner solace and strengthens both the mind and spirit.

Sparks creativity: Scientific study reveals that when a person learns a new skill set and is praised for their newly acquired skill, it has a significant impact on their cognitive functions. Not only does he tend to memorize and learn them better, but he also feels motivated to do better. Sincere praise or kind words can increase focus and positivity in a person which leads to an increase in creative faculties.

Compliments are free: It doesn’t take a compliment and believe me, your account will never deplete no matter how much you pay. So spread joy in the lives of others through compliments. Since it’s free, use it often. One quote online says, “Throw away compliments like scraps.”

The author is an associate professor at SD Ambala Kant College


About the author

Noah Roy

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