Compliments are funny things. We all want compliments (probably), but it depends a lot on the situation. I think we tend to prefer compliments that reinforce our hard work towards some goal. If I work hard and get a good grade a compliment on my hard work means a lot more to me than a compliment about something I have no control over, like my eye color. I think this is why I’m always a little awkward when people compliment my eyes or my dog. These things are completely out of my control, unless what they are really saying is “congrats on not getting your eyes stabbed”. We like to think we are doing the right thing, compliments are often a way to tell someone you agree with them and recognize their hard work.

It gets more complicated in our society when it comes to our bodies. For example, I have a Facebook friend who has been working out more and sharing images of her progress. I will generally like these because I support people doing what they want, but I probably won’t ever give her a specific compliment on her body or progress. As someone who hasn’t met her in person I don’t think I have the social capital to compliment that. In addition, I am a male who is in an openish relationship, which means my interactions with women may be met with increased skepticism.

It sucks. I think it is a shame that all humans can’t openly and honestly compliment each other without any assumptions of ulterior motives, but that is the world we live in and we need to operate in reality. Of course, this would be a much smaller issue if we lived in a culture that wasn’t body-negative or sex-negative, and if friends and family saw each other nude more often to create a realistic view of what bodies look like.

Anyway, the world needs more compliments. We need to support each other as we try to better ourselves. Life is too short to be negative or try to tear each other down.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s