Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Great Compliment Challenge

This morning I was chatting with some of my online friends when Jack, who was our moderator, read us one of his blog entries from a few years ago.

I was in the shopping centre the other day having lunch and I noticed a woman who I thought was very beautiful.  She was alone and eating her lunch near where I was sitting and I had a sudden urge to go over to her and tell her how beautiful I thought she was.  Why would I do that?  Well for no other reason than to pay someone a compliment.  That is all.  No ulterior motive.  No hoping she would ask me to sit down and join her.  I’m happily married and I love my wife very much, so my intention was just to give a compliment, walk away and hopefully leave that woman with a smile on her face and a story to tell her friends.
This wasn’t the first time I have had this urge.  I would estimate that over the last few years I have had the same urge a dozen or so times and each time I have not followed through.  So why haven’t I enacted upon it?  I think the simple answer to that is because I am too embarrassed to do it. — from A Blog About Nothing ... Much

After discussing it for a while he issued me a challenge. I was to approach a few people and give them a compliment and then to come back and blog about it. I enjoy paying compliments where and when deserved, so for me this was a no brainer. I accepted his challenge - my life is rather boring - and here is that blog.

First thing of course, is that the compliment has to be a true one. I won't say someone is attractive if I am not attracted to her. That's an absolute. So with that in mind, I went to the supermarket.

The scanner
Get your scanner here
Once in the parking lot I picked up my shopping cart and headed in. My supermarket has a great system where, if you have one of their loyalty cards, you can pick up a scanner when you enter, and scan and bag your items as you shop. Then, when you come to the cashier (or self-service checkout) all you have to do is point the scanner at a target and it all transfers to the register and you can pay and go.

I went to pick up my scanner and there was a woman there (a fellow shopper) who asked me if I needed help. I took this opportunity and responded, "Always happy to learn from a pretty young lady." This got me a smile and and explanation. I got my scanner and went about my business.

At the appetizing department I was served by an attractive woman, and I told her that she was looking particularly nice today. Again I was rewarded by a smile. However, this was not quite the "random compliment" situation that Jack was talking about.

In one of the aisles I had a chance to pay a compliment under a circumstance a little more similar to Jacks. A young mom with a baby in the cart was temporarily blocking the aisle. She gave me a smile, which I returned, but she wasn't a particularly attractive woman, at least as far as I was concerned. However she did have some interesting tattoos on her arms which I complemented her on. She responded with a big smile and thanked me, as we each continued on our separate ways.

No other opportunities afforded themselves this time, but as those who know me know, it is not unusual for me to tell an attractive woman that she is indeed attractive. The situation that Jack found himself in didn't happen, but three attempts today produced three smiles. A small sample to be sure, but there were three happy people in the supermarket today.

I think the responses may vary dependent on many factors. I would think that such an honest statement may be accepted faster in a smaller town than a large city. In today's age of increased focus on sexual harassment, may it be less welcome? Has PC (political correctness) gone too far? What do you think?

How about you? Have you ever received or given a random compliment? How did you react, or how did the person you were complimenting react?


  1. I'm more of a random acts of kindness girl. You know, letting people with only a few grocery items jump ahead of me when I have a trolley load. We even moved tables at a restaurant the other day because a larger family were looking for somewhere to sit so we squeezed into a smaller table.

    I love how it makes people feel. I also love getting and giving compliments. I think more people should do it and the world would be a far friendlier place! I am, however, a little unobservant so tend to not compliment on the simple things which make people feel even better to know that someone noticed, you know? So I'm trying to hone my observation skills (although with three small children, some days it's hard not to just be absorbed in that).

    Stopping by from Do I really Wanna Blog? :D

  2. I read this when you first posted it, Mark but didn't have a chance to comment.

    Nice work and nice piece and thanks for taking the challenge. I wonder if you've had the opportunity to do more random compliments since then?

    I need to do more. Perhaps I will.