“Meaty” Compliments


Have you ever had someone compliment you, and then, if you thought about it later, wonder what had specifically inspired the compliment? 

I read an article a few years ago that addressed “empty compliments” and it struck a cord with me.  Before reading that article, I would have said, “A compliment is a compliment!”  But after reading it, I have taken its advice to heart and have tried to remember, especially when talking to children, that a compliment will mean much more if I am specific about what I am complimenting!  And, of course, I’m talking sincere here.  I think an insincere compliment is easily detected and dismissed by even small children.

Which would feel better to your child? 

GOOD:  “I’m proud of you.”

BETTER:  “I’m proud of you that you’re being neater.”  

BEST:  “I’m proud of you because I’ve noticed that you’re keeping your room alot neater, and putting your clothes in the hamper. Good job!”

And, by the way, I would suggest that if you aren’t already a “complimenter,” you look for opportunities to become one.  Don’t we all know that nothing feels better than a sincere compliment?  And they don’t cost the giver anything!  But, they can definitely make the day of the person on the receiving end.

May God bless all of us with a talent for seeing opportunities to give sincere compliments.

9 Responses to “Meaty” Compliments

  1. Amy O says:

    I never thought of it this way. I was raised with just the Good Job! Hence, my parenting style is the same. Thank you for the, not only, parenting advice but people advice.

  2. Beth says:

    I’m going to try to put this advice to work today with my daughter, my husband, and maybe even a stranger.

  3. Sandra says:

    Amy — I’m glad that I gave you something to think about. Thanks for the specific compliment!

    Beth — I’m glad that this struck a cord with you, just as it did for me when I read it! I guess this is the reason we bloggers like comments so much — they really are many times a form of a sipecific compliment. Thank you.

  4. Lyndsay says:

    I just love this advice. It’s an area that I “practice” often, but it takes work and constant effort. I think it makes a world of difference though. Thanks for the reminder though, it’s always good to stop and think about how “well” you are doing!

  5. I work with kids, and this is something they really encourage us to do– compliment specifically. It’s not always easy but I think it definitely has more meaning for the kids. 🙂

  6. Sandra says:

    Lyndsay — Good for you! I wish I had understood the concept when I was raising our children, I did believe in encouraging them, but I’m not sure I was very specific.

    Princess — Great! When you think about it, isn’t it interesting that we have no problem at all being specific when we are criticizing!

  7. chrissy says:

    Amen, amen amen AMEN! Good post and GREAT point. Thanks for sharing, I love this. Funny thing is that a compliment given to me 4 months ago by a 12 year old I can still hear in my head, she meant it, she was very sincere when she said it!

  8. Sandra says:

    Chrissy — Thank you for sharing that PERFECT example!

  9. […] I wrote a post about giving some “meat” to compliments, but this morning I’ve read a post here […]

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