She’s beautiful and he’s nice and I think you’re funny and how’d you get so smart? Kind words get tossed around in daily conversations intended to encourage and inspire and celebrate others. I trust the compliments have sincere origins, but the ubiquitous words are beginning to feel like sweet nothings.
Thing is, beautiful and nice and funny don’t provide much indicator of heart or personality. She’s beautiful? Okay, great, what else? And nice? How so? Smart? In what areas? I need details and descriptors and some sort of personal touch to make the whole thing seem sincere.
My friend Sarah is a case in point: she is truly gorgeous, but people miss the mark when they say she’s beautiful. It’s true that she’s a stage-10 stunner, but what’s more important is invisible to the eye: think a kind heart, an adventurous spirit, and an ability to ‘find the silly’ in just about everything.
I would describe Sarah as the kind of person that would share her Netflix password and bake you cookies for no reason at all. She lights up a room, and she’s more fun than a comedy festival at Mardi Gras. Her best feature, however, might just be the way she provides wisdom and shelter to others.
Thinking about Sarah got me journaling descriptions for other friends, and before long I created a graphic of ‘creative compliments’:
Have you ever received a compliment that made you smile for a week? How do you highlight the qualities of others?