Try it Tuesday: Complimenting Strangers

Year sixteen was rough for me. It is for everybody, but a bumpy couple months had left me feeling particularly self-conscious and down. So when a random girl about my age told me I was pretty, it made my day.

Words are powerful, and, for better or for worse, words stay with you.

Words, ironically, had been causing my troubles in the first place. For that brief moment, though, words distracted me from it.

Compliments have a way of sticking with you, and compliments from strangers have a way of sticking with you for years.

It is easy to feel invisible running errands or doing homework or going to class. The daily drudgeries of life can leave us feeling unimportant and unnoticed. We live in a world of anonymity, and we often don’t care to pay attention to those around us. At the same time, we are all striving to be noticed, even if unconsciously. People thrive off positive attention, and many are not getting it.

So I like to give it to them. One of my favorite things is to compliment people I don’t know—telling them I like their shirt or hair or shoes. Most of the time they look startled, say thank you, and go on their way. Sometimes they tell me where they bought the item. Occasionally, it starts a conversation.

Perhaps it’s partly selfish. I feel like I am making some sort of impact in their life, that I will stick around their mind like others have stuck in mine.

At the same time, what does it hurt? You never know what someone is going through or what kind of day they are having. If one compliment out of a hundred does brighten someone’s day, then it was worth my time.

This post comes with a challenge: Be a positive light. Tell people—strangers and friends—what you like about them. It can be something as simple as you liking their shirt, or it can be something more personal.

Words are free. Be liberal with the kind ones.