Compliments Take Only a Second to Give and Can Change People’s Lives

Giving out compliments makes the world a healthier and happier place.

Aug 12, 2020

Feel like doing something that is free, take seconds, and could be life changing? Try giving out a compliment! Compliment your child, coworker, or the barista at your favorite cafe. Then wait for the beaming smile and the sweet “thanks!” in return. It could make your day and actually turn around someone’s life.

When people receive a compliment, they tend to feel appreciated, recognized, and respected. Giving a compliment is an act of kindness in the form of a few sweet words directed to a stranger on the street, or deeper feelings of appreciation given to an old friend.

Compliments not only make people feel good, they improve health. Living in challenging and uncertain times, many people are stressed and have elevated levels of cortisol. A simple way to lower cortisol levels is to laugh, as shown in this 2009 study. When you compliment someone and they smile or laugh in appreciation, there is a resonance deep in the adrenals.

People can also become motivated by getting compliments, so if you are a parent, a teacher, or a boss, a simple compliment or words of praise can go a long way. A Japanese study found that people given a task improved their performance after receiving praise. 

The Japanese study concluded: “Praise can boost self-efficacy, enhance feelings of competence and autonomy, create positive feelings, strengthen the association between responses and their positive outcomes, and provide incentives for task engagement.” 

Although there are no steadfast rules for giving a compliment, there are ways to deliver an awesome versus a mundane or even back-handed compliment.

Try to make your compliment specific according to Parent Tested Parent Approved. Notice the small details and use an adjective. Instead of complimenting a woman’s dress, mention the shade of color. If you are close to someone, compliment them on a character trait you appreciate or on something they have achieved.

Remember that a compliment should be from the heart and delivered with a genuine smile as well eye contact. People can see through false praise and this could actually create distrust. If you do not mean it, refrain from saying it.

Avoid complimenting people on their eye color. Having blue eyes requires no effort, however a piece of jewelry reflects personal choice. When you let people know how much you like their taste, they feel acknowledged.

Even though compliments take a few seconds, it is hard for many to do, especially people who are shy. Complimenting strangers requires showing vulnerability and making eye contact. If this is a challenge for you, test yourself by making a commitment to compliment a certain number of people each day.

Once you start doing this, you may notice a sort of ricochet effect. Parent Tested Parent Approved calls these “positive boomerangs;” people who receive compliments are so uplifted by them, they find it easier to compliment others, creating a happy ripple effect of kindness.

Writer Robert Orben said, “A compliment is verbal sunshine.”  Go outside and spread bright rays around by giving compliments. They are free, life changing, and create such bright, sunny feelings, you may need to put on your shades.

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NICOLE NATHAN BEM, CONTRIBUTOR
Nicole is an editor, blogger and author who has recently left her urban life in order to be more connected with nature. In her spare time, she’s outdoors hiking in the forest, mountain biking or tending to her new permaculture garden.