Downtown Atlanta is always filled with tourists, and the other day was no different. Recently, I was in that area and two women approached me to ask for directions. That in itself is funny because I’m usually directionally challenged on any given day. However, this day was an exception and I actually knew the place they were looking for. They thanked me and started to walk away when one of the women said to me, “I love your sandals, they’re so cute!” My first thought was, “Seriously? These sandals are about 3 years old!” But, thank goodness, I didn’t say what I was thinking. Instead, I smiled at her and said a simple and sincere, “Thank you!” The fact is, my gold sparkly sandals are cute, even if they are 3 years old. They’re in excellent condition or I would have thrown them out by now. But that’s beside the point. The point is: Why did it even pop into my head? Why did defaming my sandals even occur to me? Probably because I’m a woman – just that simple.
I’m still a work in progress, so I’m not beating myself up. But I am so happy that I no longer defame or explain myself when I’m paid a sincere compliment. I have learned that paying someone a sincere compliment is a selfless and generous act and it takes nothing away from us to do so. I have learned – and this is equally important – that it is crucial to GRACIOUSLY accept a compliment. Still confused? Ok, for example: When the woman complimented my sandals, my conversation could have gone something like this:
“Oh, thanks, you really like these? They’re sooo old! It’s a wonder they haven’t fallen apart yet. You don’t think they make my feet look too big, do you?”
C’mon, now you KNOW that we’ve ALL had a conversation like that after we’re paid a compliment! Has someone told you how nice your hair is or how great you look in an outfit you’re wearing? Have you found yourself saying “Thank you,” but also going on to either tell them how you’re just waiting for the relaxer to grow out so you can go natural OR that you’re having a bad hair day. Have you told someone that the outfit you are wearing is getting a bit too tight because you’ve put on a few pounds but you’re determined to hit the gym next week OR that you paid $100.00 for the dress, but saw it on sale yesterday and you’re thinking about taking it back for the sale price? You get the point. Look, unless you know the person really well – like a really close girlfriend – JUST SAY THANK YOU and skip the details – no one cares and it makes you sound ungrateful for the compliment. The person will probably wish they’d never mentioned it! And ladies, PLEASE DON’T DO THIS WHEN A MAN COMPLIMENTS YOU – He’ll have NO clue what you’re talking about and will care even less and you appear insecure and self-conscious. Even if you are, just keep those things to yourself and say THANK YOU!
Speaking of men and compliments – and this will be short because they’re very simple when it comes to this area. Have you ever complimented a man on, let’s say, his cologne or his fabulous tie? I have and you know what happens usually? THEY SIMPLY SAY THANK YOU. Period – no explanation, no story about how they acquired the tie or how old/new it is and no questions about “So you don’t think my cologne is too strong?” USUALLY, men simply say thank you and that’s it. Try it for yourself and see what happens. We need to learn this from them.
So why are women like this? Here are a couple of reasons to consider:
Many times, we women are too self-deprecating and self-effacing. This may be especially true with women who are very accomplished and want to appear modest and humble. That’s fine, but only to a certain extent. If you’ve just written a novel and it’s on the New York Times bestseller list, it’s ok to be proud, happy and celebratory! If you’re rockin’ a fabulous pair of Tommy Ford sunglasses and someone says you look fantastic, it’s ok to say, “Thank you! They are my favorites!”
- Our own self esteem and confidence really isn’t where it needs to be. If we don’t really believe that we look terrific or the thing that we’ve accomplished is truly worthy of praise and recognition, then all the accolades in the world won’t feel like they are deserved and won’t be appreciated. If we are “teeter-tottering” on the fence of insecurity and low self esteem, a sincere compliment will either be rebuffed or disbelieved. Either way, the recipient is still the loser because we’ve passed over an opportunity to embrace the well wishes and commendations of others.
Sidenote: Have you ever given someone a sincere compliment and they barely say “Thanks?” Doesn’t it make you wish you’d kept your accolades to yourself? But you know something, that’s THEIR problem, not yours. Obviously they haven’t learned the lesson of ‘grace in receiving.’
The next time someone compliments you on what a great job you did at work or that article you wrote, the dinner you fixed, children you’ve raised, what a great person you are or anything – smile and say “thank you” – nothing else is needed. Personally, for me learning to simply say “Thank you” and learning to say “No” have become 3 of the best and frequently used words in my vocabulary!
Check out the video below (Click the link). It’s a bit over-the-top, but it’s VERY funny and makes the point very well! Leave a comment and tell me why you think there’s such a disparity in area between men and women, or why not.
WARNING: VIDEO CONTAINS SOME PROFANITY, SO IF YOU’RE OFFENDED BY THAT, DON’T WATCH IT!