30 May 2017

The Art Of The Compliment

The Art of The Compliment on vickiarcher.com

The art of the compliment, along with the thank you, is something I believe in.

For the compliment is an art, both in the giving and in the receiving.

The giving of a compliment is one of the greatest gifts and there is nothing more potent than making someone feel happy. It can nurture our self-confidence and there is nothing that makes you feel brighter and stronger than an unsolicited compliment.

When someone compliments in an unexpected way it feels wonderful. It puts a spring in the step; pushes the shoulders back and make us stand tall.

It doesn’t really matter what form the compliment takes, what counts is to offer them. Compliments are easy to give; all they require is observation and a generous mind. We have the ability to make those around us feel more confident and sure of themselves. Why not?

I forget to give praise and compliments sometimes because it is easy to slide through life omitting the obvious. Each day my practice has become, when appropriate, to compliment a stranger. It is incredible how it can break the ice or make a face light up.  A genuine observation given with the best intention is about as powerful as it gets. If someone says something generous to me it really can make my day and make me feel way better. I am happy to reciprocate.

Thinking something kind towards another person is not quite the same as voicing it out loud and it is not the same as a thank you. A compliment is truly individual and unique to that person alone; that is why it is so special to give and receive them.

What is the best form of compliment? 

Some would say flattery but flattery only counts if it’s genuine and made with affection. There is flattery and then there is flattery, the kind we don’t like, know what I mean?

Copying? Is copying a form of compliment? I choose to believe it is. Some say copying is the highest form; I chose to go with that approach. The compliments I hold dear are those that truly come from the heart and suggest in some small way I have made an impression and that is a mighty fabulous feeling.

It’s easy to be shy when it comes to the compliment and I don’t know why we hold back but I see it in myself at times. Why not compliment our friends and our families as often as we feel? They won’t mind, quite the opposite.

And strangers what about them? Shouldn’t we tell them if they make an impact or something about them catches our eye? Those who move through our lives in small ways shouldn’t be neglected, or passed without notice.

Do you have an all time favourite compliment?

And next time we should talk about the art of receiving compliments; that’s a complicated one too. xv


there are plenty of cute compliments in this movie, one of the best, and 5 things you may not have known

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In This Post:




Hi Vicki
I recently spied a beautifully dressed and groomed older woman in the supermarket. I told how wonderful she looked. A few aisles later her husband (I assume) came up to me and thanked me, “you will never know just how important your your comments” are he told me. She had recently been very ill in hospital and had trouble leaving the house since then, this was her first outing and she was feeling overwhelmed and unsure of herself……. the power of an unsolicited compliment!


What a wonderful story, Ann… We never know what is happening in other people’s lives and how important a little positive encouragement can be. :)

Taste of France

On the one hand, compliments like Ann’s example are among the most sincere–you don’t know the person, so they have no reason to say anything unless they mean it. On the other hand, we can forget to compliment those close to us, to really say specifically why they are wonderful.

Michele van der Post

Could not agree more! I was on the receiving end of a compliment recently which really made my day and made me walk tall for the rest of it! Coming out of Chelsea station on my way to the Chelsea Flower Show last week, somebody tapped me on the shoulder and asked me where I had bought my dress. She said I looked absolutely fantastic – it was a nice combination of cool, classic and stylish and perfect for the very warm weather. Well, I nearly fell over backwards!! But, how nice of her – it made my day and the flower show even more special knowing that I looked the part!


It sounds as if you looked wonderful Michelle and deserved the lovely compliment :)

Nelson Bartley

Walking into the grocery one day a gentleman yelled across the parking lot “I hope your husband told you how gorgeous you are today.” Yes, it was basically a catcall but by couching it in “obviously you are taken, I hope you are appreciated” terms it came across as a real grin inducer. (Particularly because at 60 I am pretty much past the catcalling stage of my life.)


I have been a Flight Attendant for almost 40 years. Maybe 37-ish years ago, I had Norman Lear onboard. (BIG TV producer: All in The Family, The Jeffersons, etc.) He was seated next to the window, facing the aisle, listening to the woman seated next to him (who was obviously facing the window so she could speak to him.) When I approached to ask what they wanted to drink she didn’t see me, but what impressed me so much was that somehow his body language let me know he knew I was there and he would be with me as soon as she was finished speaking. His eyes never left her face and he listened to her as if she had all the answers to life. When she finished her thought, he said, “Excuse me for a minute. please” and then gave me his full attention. She was clearly not someone he knew but he treated her with such careful respect–and somehow, me, as well.
I’ve used that story for years to remind myself and others how people should be treated. We’re always in such a hurry to cut in with our own thoughts.
And the best part? I’ve had him onboard a few other times but he was always with someone or seated at the window and I didn’t want to say anything to him across someone else. But recently, I had him onboard all by himself and I told him that story and he was so pleased to hear it and very emphatic about how important each one of us is and how we should treat each other as the little treasures we are. Such a lovely man!


I love your story Diane… and a reminder… it is so easy to listen to our own voices and forget to listen to others..


You are right, we are in such a hurry to cut in with our own thoughts. It is very rude to cut someone off. I have been guilty of this at times and will try to slow down in the future. Thank you for bringing up this point. Great story too!


What a wonderful story, Ann! It’s truly amazing how a few well chosen words can uplift, encourage and make someone’s day. I agree, Vicki, it’s a gift to share compliments, and so easy when we start making it a habit to look for things we can encourage others with. I’ve noticed in myself, though never shy to compliment others, that now that I have grandchildren, I make a concerted effort to compliment them as often as I can. I still remember the compliments my grandparents gave me, they built a confidence in me as a child that I still treasure.


Maybe there is a relaxation with grandchildren that fosters the art? I don’t know as I don’t have any yet, but I imagine the relationship is a wonderful one and the idea of complimenting and praising comes very naturally… :)

Jolain Muller

I couldn’t agree more. Sincere compliments are just as much fun to give as to receive, thanks for articulating it so well. This is my first visit to your blog and I love it, I’ll be back!

Marg Gibbs

Compliments cost absolutely nothing. If we look to give one, we will. Whether it’s about a hair style, dress, smile, gentle voice or manner, the effort someone puts in to something, brings a sparkle that is better than any diamond ring. It’s nice to compliment someone face to face; if not, a kind email of thoughtfulness can add joy to another person’s life. Thank you Vicki for this inspiring blog.

Anita Rivera

Dearest Vicki, this is such an important topic. Thank you for writing about this.

I try to give compliments to anyone who has impacted me whether it’s through their style or gifts of intelligence. The one compliment however that just came out of me one day was toward someone who doesn’t care for me. I gave her the compliment truly from my heart for she was wearing the best pair of shoes!!!!!! Her reaction was strange toward me, but I liked her shoes all the same, and it felt good to bust through that invisible barrier of uncomfortable relationships.

The best compliment I ever got, especially from a man, was that I was intelligent. That was awesome.


Ann and Dianne, what beautiful moments and such powerful messages that you have given. Thank you for sharing them. I know that I often interrupt and must pull back and let the person finish. In regards to compliments, it is amazing how much they have meant to me and my self confidence. I was an ugly baby according to my mother and she never hesitated to tell of my birth and seeing such an ugly baby she thought that there was something wrong with me. I was a plain toddler and an awkward teenage, fat, freckly, wearing glasses and with bucked teeth and thin, straight hair but I knew that I had some beautiful features because some kind people paused to tell me that I ‘had eyebrows like angel’s wings’, that I ‘had the most beautiful nose that she had ever seen’, that I had ‘such elegant, lovely feet and ankles’, that I ‘had stunning eyes always changing like the colour of the sea’. These pearls gave me strength to believe in myself and at 17 I met the most wonderful young man whose love for me made me feel beautiful. I am still with him 35 years later and always feel beautiful in his company.


I love this post. Thank you for the reminder and the inspiration. Vicki, you are a light.


I am 65 year old mom, grandmama, and wife. I find that at this time of life, it is usually a meal that is complimented, or how nice the house looks. I know that when I was young, I was pretty… not perfect, and always wishing something about myself was different. The plight of many of us females.
Last year while traveling in CA, I walked into a bakery, early morning with my faced washed and moisturizized, with a hint of mascara and lipgloss, and a woman in line near me turned to me and said , ” You are beautiful.” I could feel my smile growing, and thanked her sincerely. I don’t know what she saw in me, but she brightened my day, my week, my year.


What a lovely and totally agreeable concept. I realised I had to be mindful as well to actually vocalise the compliment. How many times have I thought someone looking at me acutely meant something was wrong with the way I looked. I always make sure I reassure the person I’ve been admiring that is why I’m (not so successfully) trying to surreptitiously glance at them!


What a sweet post, Vicki. Thank you!

And what sweet, sweet comments by your readers about their kindnesses and the kindness shown them by others. Makes me resolve to spread this cheer much more often.

(I’m a different Ann than the one above.) ;)


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