Saturday, March 17, 2012

Say Something Nice

I'm attending a writing conference that involves really long meetings--like all day. Yikes! You see, I'm a person who has to move and find sitting for hours at a time stifling. As you can imagine, I need my morning coffee before these sessions begin, even more than usual. So prior to the the workshop, I go to the nearest Dunkin Donuts to get an extra large cup of energy. When I arrived on Thursday, I winced. The line stretched from the counter to the door, and I hate long lines (almost as much as long meetings), but I had to wait. If I didn't drink my coffee, I would risk being rude and embarrass myself while the participants read excerpts from their stories that they had spent many months creating. You know the feeling. When you're trying to pay attention, but your eyelids feel like they're packed with lead and just want to shut. When your head keeps jerking back and forth because it really wants to rest on the table. When you have to swallow more than a couple yawns. It's not that these readings are boring, it's just the reaction I have when I have to sit still for too long.

So I took a deep breath and waited at that donut shop. To my surprise, the line moved quickly. The two women at the counter were organized, focused and served food like busy moms preparing breakfast for their kids before school. When it was my turn, I ordered my coffee with just a touch of cream and it was delivered as specified within a minute. I was pleased with this service and threw a dollar bill into the tip cup as opposed to my usual quarter, but that wasn't the best reward for snappy service. I stopped for a moment, looked at the woman who waited on me and said, "Wow. You're so fast."

Her eyes widened and a whisper of a smile formed on her face, as she said, "Thank you." For an instant, she took a break from her busy work day just to absorb the compliment. 

As I left the shop, I turned around and peeked at her. She was still wearing that slight closed lip smile that wasn't there when I ordered my coffee. It made me smile too and gave me a warm, calm feeling inside. After all, I was responsible for making this woman's day a little brighter with just a few words. 

Here's what E-How says about compliments, "They honor, elate and validate our efforts. Unlike flattery, a compliment is always socially acceptable if it is sincere and given in the appropriate context. Compliments can break the ice at work or at a party. They can diffuse stress, lift spirits or solidify a bond. Give compliments with ease to anyone. (Read more: How to Give a Compliment |

Think about how often you give compliments. Could you do it a bit more? I know I could. In fact, I almost walked out of that donut shop with just a simple and common, "Thanks." Those extra words made all the difference.


You Can't Take That Away From Me sung by Fred Astaire to Ginger Rogers. This song is full of compliments, but the best part is how Ginger reacts. She can't help but smile even though she really doesn't want to.


The Compliment Quotient by Monica Storbel. This book discusses how compliments can improve the way you feel about yourself, your partner, your family, your job, your life through compliments. A great feel good read.


"I can live for two months on a good compliment."
Mark Twain


  1. I always try to compliment people. Sometimes it is a big compliment and sometimes just a small one. I particularly like to make reference to something someone has changed about their appearance such as a new haircut for example. It makes people feel noticed and special for a few moments.

    At the end of the day, I remember these moments during my journalling, under a section called, "today I helped."


    1. Hey Lee,

      I think I want to be your friend. What a great idea about journaling "Today I helped..." We often walk around with a "What can others do for me," attitude and it usually leaves us with a dissatisfied feeling because it never meets out expectations. Your approach is much better.


  2. Great post. It doesn't usually take much to brighten someone's day and how difficult or time consuming are a couple of uplifting words spoken in sincerity? It's probably the "cheapest" thing we can do in the least amount of time that brings the greatest value in results. You did a great job at the coffee shop, and you did a lovely job on this post. Keep up the good work.

    1. Thanks Diane. I always enjoy your comments. Peggy

  3. I am always so excited when I see a 'Kick Back Moment' in my inbox, and, as usual, you haven't disappointed. I so enjoy your simple observations that are always so profound. And like Mark Train, I too can live off a good compliment for months. I will repost this again onto my Facebook page. Last time I did that everyone Liked your stuff. Hardly surprising!

    1. Gwynneth ~ Wow!!! I really love compliments and yours is so pleasant and specific. Now my day is brightened. Thanks for sharing on your Facebook page! ~ Peggy

  4. I would like to give you a compliment now! I dashed over to your blog thinking I had more ‘important’ things to do but found myself reading and enjoying every word of your post, thank you. Barbara

  5. Thank you for reminding us of how important it is to express our appreciation to others. It not only brightens their day, but also makes us realize how lucky we are to know them and how luck we are to be alive. Martha M


    Found you on Book Blogs. Nice blog.


    Silver's Reviews