Monday, 7 January 2013

Nice Words.

We all need a few Nice Words to get us through the day sometimes; that sweet and sudden flattery, the modest rush of "really?"s, and the manically merry mood it puts us in for the rest of the day.
   Say you're having a bad week; things are piling up and every night you're finding yourself either fast asleep at 7:32pm or ordering yourself a large pizza to eat while watching several hours of iPlayer before moving on to ice cream and 4OD. One morning you stumble into work/lectures/rehearsals, and someone, be it a friend or a simply a nice acquaintance, turns to you and says "your hair looks so shiny today!" or "I love your shoes!", and those few Nice Words can make your whole week that much more bearable.


How does one respond to a compliment, though? I used to do that terrible song 'n' dance of "oh no! Really? I hate it... No... But, I'm so ugly! You're pretty!!" whenever someone saw fit to compliment me, even if it was just a nice remark about my earrings or nail polish... I've been taught recently, however, that you must never do that. Ever. Because rather than making you seem endearingly modest and sweetly self-critical, it instead effectively throws the compliment back in the giver's face, rejecting anything nice they have to offer and slightly putting them down in the process; the compliment giver then feels bad for having mentioned your hair/shoes/earrings and retreats into a little personal hole, vowing never to say anything nice to you ever again for fear of this horrific rejection.
   Saying "thank you" in response to a compliment is in no way a big-headed or arrogant thing to do. It actually makes the compliment giver feel good, that they've done their part in making your day that little bit brighter - and who knows, maybe this little exchange will mean that you'll wear your hair like that more often, or not feel self-conscious about your gigantic feet because it's officially confirmed by your peers that they are in pretty shoes...?
   Now, after the very polite and smiley "thank you", maybe you want to offer a compliment in return? This is something I do on principle, because a) everyone who compliments me has something beautiful to be said about them, and b) you might just make their day when they most need it, too.

I'm not accustomed to getting compliments, which means that not only are they more special when they eventually come around, but I am also incredibly awkward upon receiving them. I will always say thank you, say something nice in return, and sometimes offer some additional information about what they are specifically complimenting; for example, "thanks! I got these shoes in London after Christmas, I love how bright they are!", "thank you, I get my hair done at the Treat Aveda salon in town, they're really good in there..." or even "thank you so much, the blue eyes are actually from my Dad's side of the family."
   Depending on the compliment giver, or the compliment itself, I will exhibit varied levels of blushing and/or heightened affection. So when my Mum tells me my complexion is looking really clear recently, I'll grin like mad and hug her; when a gorgeous guy tells me my eyes are "majestic", I burn bright red and occasionally offer a kiss on the cheek in return. It's an instinctive reaction, I suppose...

I've said before that I do not consider the word "skinny", or even "thin" as a compliment. "Slim" is, I think, the closest you'll get to the perfect way of saying someone has lost weight and looks all the better for it. Skinny is not a compliment, it just isn't. Skinny and thin are, in my opinion, words we associate with "unhealthy"... I'd much rather be called slim or even that eternally confusing word "curvy".

The best compliments you can give me are either on my eyes, my Dr Martens boots, or my writing - in fact, just saying you read my blog is a compliment to me. You can never know how much just saying something nice means to me. I can't even put it into words (so maybe my writing doesn't deserve a compliment at precisely this moment)... All I can say is I guarantee you hugs, blushing, just a touch of awkwardness and a compliment in return when you say some Nice Words to me.

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