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  1. #11
    4x9 cascadeco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by disregard View Post
    It can only backfire if the compliment was intended to seduce the object.

    If the compliment is simply unrestrainable appreciation of a quality found in another (with detection of an ulterior motive of course discluding it from this scenario), then the joke's really on the individual taking offense because they're not being open-minded. They are seeing the qualities being commented upon through their biased lense of life experience and are thus missing out on an opportunity to see themselves in a positive new light via the perception of another.
    I think this is an interesting point. True sincerity vs. having an ulterior motive.

    To the OP, hmm, I don't know. I can see how word choice could be important, as well as the personality of the person you're directing the comment towards - i.e. knowing them well enough to know whether they'd take said compliment the light you meant it, or not. But then you're back to disregard's point, where ultimately any offense taken by the recipient of the compliment falls on that person, not on the person who actually gave the compliment.

    But anyway..an aside, I think I'd actually prefer receiving character compliments, rather than generic ones..I remember years ago when I was trying to make sense of my personality, I had no idea what my strengths were because no one had ever commented on my character. I didn't know WHAT people actually thought of who *I* was - what they perceived, what stood out about me. But yeah...to what other people have mentioned, the downside of that is that you might get a dose of being affirmed on traits you don't like a whole lot yourself, and don't place much value on; but I guess it ultimately provides a different perspective, and you can use that information as you choose; maybe it'll provide the impetus to actually push forth aspects of yourself you would rather other people see. ha.

    I don't know if it's related to the OP, but sometimes I'll make it a point to compliment a friend on a trait that I truly believe they have, but don't think they give themselves enough credit for.
    "...On and on and on and on he strode, far out over the sands, singing wildly to the sea, crying to greet the advent of the life that had cried to him." - James Joyce

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  2. #12
    Self sustaining supernova Zoom's Avatar
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    Just a thought, but: I have seen (and experienced) someone being complimented on the same thing time and again - which isn't bad at all, but after a while being told that one is "nice" or "cute" or "smart" can make them feel as if they are defined by that quality, or as if they are only that and not a myriad of other things. This doesn't apply to your friend, but the topic in general.

    Also, the more ye know someone, the more specific and in-depth you can make a compliment - and that can mean all the world to the recipient.

    "You're nice." vs. "The warmth of your smile and presence always makes me feel welcome. Thank you for that."

    Many people don't necessarily want to be complimented on or noticed for what they obviously are - it's what goes unnoticed, what they might feel underappreciated for, that can make the most impact. Factual compliments may be easier, but knowing someone as a friend or lover makes it all the more possible for someone to give a meaningful compliment.

    P.S. It is true that giving a compliment with an ulterior motive can be smelled a kilometer away by most, hence the phrase "to give a compliment", not "loan" or "barter with".

  3. #13
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Yup, Winged... and in parenting classes/instruction, one is always advised to make things more specific with one's kids, rather than overall character quality traits. (it can be confining, put lots of pressure on the kid to perform, sets up some pretty intense judgments internally, etc.)

    However, it's good as cascade said to offer those assessments from time to time, so one can see how one is being perceived broadly and then calibrate either one's view of self OR one's behavior.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  4. #14
    Ghost Monkey Soul Vizconde's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    "I see, so you do not seem to derive a pleasurable experience from attending my class, Mr. Spamtar, is this what you mean to convey....? FINE. I'M DROPPPING YUOR GRADE!!!1!!1!".


    Yeah, thats about it, even after I tried to bribe her with an apple
    I redact everything I have written or will write on this forum prior to, subsequent with and or after the fact of its writing. For entertainment purposes only and not to be taken seriously nor literally.

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    Spamtar - a strange combination of boorish drunkeness and erudite discussions, or what I call "an Irish academic"

  5. #15
    Self sustaining supernova Zoom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    However, it's good as cascade said to offer those assessments from time to time, so one can see how one is being perceived broadly and then calibrate either one's view of self OR one's behavior.
    I am working under the thought that if something is obvious about a person they've heard of it before, from strangers or those they know. I would not purposefully give or deny a general compliment, but was speaking on the original question (in terms of how one might help ensure a compliment is taken well and for its actual meaning).

  6. #16
    (blankpages) Xenon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cascadeco View Post
    But anyway..an aside, I think I'd actually prefer receiving character compliments, rather than generic ones.... But yeah...to what other people have mentioned, the downside of that is that you might get a dose of being affirmed on traits you don't like a whole lot yourself, and don't place much value on; but I guess it ultimately provides a different perspective...
    Pretty much that. Compliments on character can have very positive effects, or very negative ones. It depends fully on what the person values, and it's hard to know that if you don't know the person well.

    The word "docile"...I have a very hard time understanding why anyone would think that's a compliment. I'd probably have reacted the same way as proteanmix's friend. When I think 'docile', I think passive, meek, easy to be pushed around. 'Even-tempered' would have been something I'd have found flattering though. Maybe it was just a poor word choice on the complimenter's part; 'agreeable' might have been a better one.

    People vary so much though. I've read online discussions about the word 'interesting' and how people perceive that as a non-compliment, something people say when they think someone is odd, or when they don't have anything better to say. Personally, I find that one of the most flattering things I could hear. So yeah, when you hit on something the person actually values, compliments on character traits can be great, but otherwise they can backfire.

  7. #17
    movin melodies kiddykat's Avatar
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    I tend not to take compliments too personally.. not unless if it's meant to define me in some way that I'm really not..

    When I receive compliments, I usually take it with a grain of salt. Maybe that person's having a good day... Those compliments can easily change depending on their mood. So, I usually say thank you, and let it slide.

    I find compliments in which if it's out of character for a person to say anything nice, or when someone does something that I've inspired them to do- I find that a huge compliment, but find that learning to humble oneself down is usually the route that's safer, because there's always someone else who's going to be better than me, someone more talented, etc.. Taking compliments too personally can be self-limiting when I feel like I have no need to push myself to grow/learn in different ways. That's what I'm aware of when I receive compliments. It's more of an external evaluation that has some effect on me, but ultimately, something I either choose to internalize or not. Maybe it's because I feel everyone has their own positive traits that I can also compliment just as easily as well, in an egalitarian kind of way? I think for some, compliments go a long way. For others, it probably relates to guilt/shame in their developmental stage? I dunno..

  8. #18
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    For me at least, the only way for compliments to really work is if I REALLY mean them.

  9. #19
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    For me at least, the only way for compliments to really work is if I REALLY mean them.
    Yeah, they come out like landfill in my mouth if they aren't heartfelt for me.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  10. #20
    movin melodies kiddykat's Avatar
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    I can't bare the thought of saying something nice about someone (even if it's about their shoes, hair, or kid), if I don't really mean it. It's like vomit in my mouth.

    I have to feel it from within. Otherwise, it's like committing a sin to myself.

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