6 Ways to Give More Compliments
Giving compliments is so important that we made it a global celebration—World Compliment Day. Yes, March 1st has been designated a global holiday for giving compliments and receiving them graciously.
The goal is to create “The Most Positive Day in the World,” which sounds like an amazing prospect. After all, getting compliments makes us feel really good. In fact, a 2012 study at the National Institute for Physiological Sciences in Okazaki, Japan found that receiving a compliment is equal to getting money as a social reward.1 Compliments are a currency that matters, so be liberal about spreading the wealth.
Here are six suggestions for how you can take part in World Compliment Day—and remember, it’s better to give than to receive:
To increase the number of compliments you offer, you might want to plan ahead. It’s not always easy to think of what to say in the moment. Prepare yourself by making a list of all the people you come into regular contact with and what you like about them. That way, you’re armed and ready with something special you can highlight in a compliment.
Spread Joy Everywhere
Put your compliments into action at home, at work, with your friends, with your family members, and even with strangers. Something as simple as telling a random person in the coffee shop that you like his jacket or praising someone’s hairstyle as she walks out of the salon can add a little happiness to their day. And try to focus on things you might normally take for granted such as complimenting your husband’s sweetness for making your tea.
Don’t Limit Yourself
Face-to-face compliments are wonderful, but you can also heap some praise on those who are important to you but may be further away. Make a phone call to compliment someone on being a great listener when you need them or to point out some other helpful thing they do. Texts and emails work too, and what they lack in personal touch they make up for in permanence since the recipient can go back and reread the message again later—it may make them feel that good.
Put Social Media to Good Use
Yes, we can waste hours of time scrolling through people’s posts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other forms of social media. But how often do you do anything more than a mindless “like” of friends’ posts? Take a few minutes to pay them a compliment for all the world (or at least all of their app friends) to see. Let them know that they look terrific in a photo or that you thought their musings on a topic were really interesting.
Remember Important Moments
There may be people you lost touch with long ago who made a significant impact on your life. It’s never too late to pay them a compliment. If you can track them down on the Internet or through a mutual acquaintance, they’ll likely be thrilled to hear from you. A teacher who inspired you, a coach who gave you confidence, a supervisor who believed in you—today is an excellent day to acknowledge their importance in your life with a brief letter or email complimenting how helpful they had been.
Receiving a kind compliment from you will undoubtedly put a smile on the face of another. And that will help pay the power of positivity forward. After all, a 2008 study at the University of California, San Diego and Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts showed that happiness is contagious.2 One person’s happiness makes their friends and neighbors happier, and it keeps spreading far and wide. So on World Compliment Day, take the opportunity to start that ball rolling.
And Don’t Forget, That Means You Too
Most of us can be pretty hard on ourselves, focusing throughout the day on any mistakes we make or an embarrassing moment. Give yourself a break for once and emphasize the positive. Pick out something you like about yourself and give yourself an honest to goodness compliment. If you can think of nothing else, you certainly deserve a little inner praise for paying all these nice compliments to others and making their day brighter!
- 1. Sugawara, Sho K.; et al. "Social Rewards Enhance Offline Improvements in Motor Skill." PLoS One. 7 November 2012. Accessed 12 February 2017. http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0048174.
- 2. Fowler, James H. and Christakis, Nicholas A. "Dynamic spread of happiness in a large social network: longitudinal analysis over 20 years in the Framingham Heart Study." BMJ. 5 December 2008. Accessed 13 February 2017. http://www.bmj.com/content/337/bmj.a2338.