find the silly

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?

16 thoughts on “find the silly

  1. Specificity in compliments definitely gives them a greater touch of sincerity and power–and makes them memorable. I can remember certain compliments that have made me smile for a week (some of them from YOU!). When I was 12, I went down a ladder carrying a bucket full of tools at the end of a day of working on the roof even though I was nervous, and my Dad’s friend who had been helping my family with the work project told me, “You’re hardcore.” Obviously I still remember that. And Angel’s famous, “I think you look pretty even when you’re wearing your glasses.” matters to me because of how much I detest my glasses. It’s those details which make the lines so memorable.

  2. I want to make a card with these compliments on them! I totally agree that it’s those unique (silly) things that maybe you need to look a bit harder to see that make someone so special. Those are the things we should be complimenting.

  3. I absolutely agree! It’s the odd compliments, the ones that aren’t the norm, that truly make me remember them. I still remember the first compliment from Malcolm, when we weren’t dating, and I was slouching around at my digs feeling not-pretty-at-all, when he walked in, gave me a second look, and said I look pretty with the earrings I was wearing. I was surprised that he noticed the earrings!

  4. Beautiful post as always, Jennifer. I really love giving compliments more than receiving them. Making someone feel good makes me feel even more happy than getting a compliment. But I won’t deny that receiving a compliment can make my day 🙂
    I’ve nominated you for the Very inspiring blog award because you are a real inspiration to me and many others. Everything you need to know is on my blog 🙂

    Sofie x

  5. My dad told me once that he thought I had a great smile, and I’ve never forgotten it. It was one of the best compliments I’ve ever gotten. Jordan almost daily when he gets home from work (or what I get home) says, “I always get excited to come home and see you.” I melt.

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