YOU ASK! WE ANSWER! YOU DECIDE
BY CALLIE GORDON, LILLIE-BETH BRINKMAN AND HELEN FORD WALLACE
QUESTION: My friend always finds something good to say when she sees me. She always compliments my clothing, hair and or just tells me I am looking great. It is a gift she has, and she always makes me feel better about myself. How do I learn to see the good in others?
That is a gift! Think about the compliments she gives you that you like and start teaching yourself to voice those to others.
It takes practice, and you’ve got a good example to follow. What a neat friend you have. I treasure my friends like this, especially as they are sincere and truly looking for the good in others. You know how good you feel when you’re around her; now all you have to do is emulate that. However, don’t be false. Look for something genuine to say about the people you meet, whether it’s about their style sense, their kind heart, their talents, their work, their home, their cooking, etc. If you mean what you say, and it’s relevant, it comes across as sincere and not fake.
Your friend sounds like a wonderful person. You cannot beat sincere compliments, and it sounds like she always knows what to say.
Observe what you like about other people, and practice telling them. It is a good way to strike up a conversation, and you can make a difference in a person’s life by pointing out the good things. If you can find something cheerful to say to someone who is having a bad day, say it. If conversation is lagging, you can also point out compliments for the hostess, the room decorations, or flower arrangements. Positive comments can bring great energy to people!
GUEST’S ANSWER: Hilarie Blaney, etiquette and international protocol consultant:
I think the most important thing is for you to be yourself. You most likely see the good in others, but don’t express it. I wouldn’t confuse “seeing the good in others” with complimenting someone on their outward appearance.
It sounds like you are an attractive person that has a sense of style. Or is it that your friend has experience in retail and trends? If you think you need to become more aware of the people around you, pay more attention to your friends, listen well and take an interest in their lives. From that information you will have a sincere reason to compliment someone when you feel that it is a sincere observation.
As for good manners, if someone invited you to their home for dinner, you should look for something about the evening to compliment — their home, the food, etc. Being a good guest or friend involves a form of sincere appreciation or compliment to those whom have invited you or are close to you, it isn’t a requirement, but is a natural feeling that you express at the right time.