Today I created a personal challenge for myself to compliment three strangers. I really thought this would be easy–I love thanking people, showing appreciation, and seeing the best in others. What I didn’t count on: employee uniforms!
I thought for sure I’d find someone at Barnes & Noble to compliment while my writing group met. I chatted with my favorite barista, but I couldn’t honestly say anything like, “Great black employee uniform shirt.” Later I struck up a conversation with a woman who had to see why I was going ga-ga over a book about really cute cupcakes (I do like to bake & frost!). She wore a flattering shade of fuchsia, but I knew it would sound really bizarre to interrupt our musing about doggie cupcakes to compliment her. It just didn’t feel right.
The people at PetCo wore blue employee uniform shirts. I did thank the woman for not laughing when I attempted to sign my receipt with the credit card machine’s plastic stylus, but, yeah, that doesn’t really count.
I needed someone with a really cute haircut, a cool scarf, anything!
I didn’t have high hopes when I dropped off my dry cleaning (my last errand of the day). But alas! The clerk wore a unique copper ring on her finger so I said, “Your ring is really beautiful.” We ended up having a great talk about how she went to high school near the Kennecott Copper Mine back in the day. I found out that her father had worked at the nearby steel mill. We really connected! Yay!
Compliments can be really wonderful. But I do think they have to be genuine. We’ve all experienced that “cute outfit” compliment accompanied by a full body scan that indicates the speaker thinks you look atrocious. If I ever give you a compliment, please know that I really, truly mean it!
So I dare you: find a stranger to compliment. You never know what might happen!