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For When You Ask: Should I Compliment This Person

Jonathan Malm - March 9, 2017

The answer is almost always yes, you should compliment that person. Unless you’re a sleazy guy wanting to comment on a girl’s physique, compliments are great.

You might be asking, “But what if the compliment goes to their head?” I have a story to illustrate.

When I was in college, I also worked on staff at a church as the worship leader. I was young and barely talented enough to cut it. There was one guy on staff, a pastor, who I looked up to. Unfortunately, he felt like it was his job to make sure I stayed humble. He would frequently start into a compliment and stop himself. “I don’t want this to go to your head.”

If only he knew what was going on in my brain. I was insecure. I just desperately wanted some form of validation that I was doing a good job. I felt like I was way out of my league and that I didn’t belong in the position I was in. A little bit of positive feedback – especially from him – would have gone the distance. Despite my confident exterior and instinctive, decisive decision-making, I was insecure.

It turns out, that whole insecurity thing isn’t the exception to the rule; it’s the rule. Nearly everyone you encounter is dealing with their own issues of insecurity. It just manifests itself in different ways for different people.

Some people are shy. Some are straight up weird. And some seem like the most confident people in the world. But they all need validation. It doesn’t go to their head.

We all need compliments. But we all need compliments with real depth. Instead of words like you’re so beautiful or successful or wonderful, why not use words that last. Compliment a person’s character. Compliment their initiative. Their honesty. The things that will never go away.

Compliment and compliment often. Just compliment the things that last. Compliment the things that nothing can take away – neither time nor circumstances nor other people.