Compliments and Comparisons

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“You remind me of <famous person>” or “<famous person> reminds me of you.” You can fill in the blanks. I’m sure you’ve heard them before. My question is this: Do people really believe they’re paying you a compliment when they’re comparing you to someone else?

Three times in my life that I can remember—although, I’m sure it’s happened more—I’ve been compared to other people (in no particular order):

  • Doogie Howser, M.D. (Not Neil Patrick Harris, the actual person. Doogie Howser, the fictional character.)
  • Colin Firth (She couldn’t remember his name, but could name the movies he was in.)
  • Justin Timberlake (Solo career Justin, not *NSYNC Justin.)

Did I do a side-by-side comparison in any of these instances? No. Said persons aren’t necessarily in my iPhone’s favorites, and I’d feel a little weird asking even if they were.

The thing is, we can’t help but take a quick mental inventory whenever these comparisons occur. Is it the hair? The facial features? Did I inadvertently learn a new body language that only Sexy Back speaks?

No, no, and no.

I understand that the person handing out these “compliments” believes they’re being complimentary. But, they aren’t. They’re being lazy.

When we compliment someone else, we should be complimenting THEM … their features … their clothing … their writing … their ass … and not somebody else’s ass in a poor attempt at flattery. And whatever you do, don’t compare them to their sibling. I’d be running if I were you, and good luck with that.

What I’m saying is, don’t be lazy with your compliments. Take in what’s directly in front of you because the rest of what you think matters, doesn’t.

Take in what’s directly in front of you, and get to where you’re actually going.


Free Compliments: Take One

A few days ago, I saw a post on Facebook that inspired me to design what you see in the above photo. I felt it shouldn’t be limited to the confines of Facebook and wanted to bring the idea to real life, so I printed seven of them and brought them to my three-story, two-stairwell, two-elevator office building.

I taped one to the inside of each stairwell door (a total of six), and taped the other (which met an early, yet-to-be-determined demise) inside one of the elevators.

Here are the compliments as they appeared left to right on the page, and how many were taken of each:

  • That shirt looks GREAT on you. — 2
  • You are AWESOMENESS. — 2
  • You make me smile. Always. — 0
  • You’re the brightest bulb on the porch. — 2
  • You deserve a raise of epic proportions. — 1
  • Fortune cookies want to open YOU. — 2
  • Your shoes should have their own reality show. — 0
  • Sailors have nothing on your artistic additions to language. — 1
  • Someone is lucky to have you. — 3
  • World’s. Greatest. Boss. — 0
  • People should call you, “Dragon”. Or, “Nighthawk”. — 1
  • You make this look easy. — 1

“Someone is lucky to have you.” That compliment was chosen more than any of the others. Bittersweet symphony, that one.

I didn’t do this for a blog post or to gather scientific data. What made my day was seeing that someone had actually taken a compliment. However, I can conclude with a high-degree of certainty that at least one person in the building likes the movie, “Step Brothers”.

If I had been interested in volume, I would’ve placed the sheets so they faced the high-traffic areas of each floor—not on the inside of the low-traffic stairwells. Plus, I didn’t want a person deterred by the prospect of tearing off a compliment in public view, especially if they were in need of a compliment.

But, more than anything, I wanted them to have that compliment—whether for themselves or for someone else.

Because it’s when we feel like nobody is looking that we need a compliment the most.

What remained shortly after 5 p.m.

And if you’d like to post these free compliments around your own office, hit me up at I’ll be happy to send you the file … with my compliments, of course.

Word play, and she made you look

Word Play sketch

Not everyone has a way with words. And that’s okay, because that’s the way it is. However, that doesn’t mean—fellas—we can’t be better when it comes to word play.

So easy to mold. So easy to shape.

What I’m getting ready to share is not to be used with misguided intentions. It’s simple in its (re)arrangement. It’s subtle to the point of not being consciously recognized.

But, she will notice. As she tends to do.

The next time your girl is wearing something that catches your eye, I ask you to say—without any expectation of anything other than a display of publicly acceptable recognition—these words:

“That looks great on you.”

… instead of …

“You look great in that.”

See what happened there? I told you. Simple. Subtle. So easy to mold. So easy to shape.

She’ll like the former much better than the latter. Here’s why:

  • You’re recognizing she’s gorgeous in, and out of, whatever she’s wearing. The clothes don’t make her look great. It’s she who makes the clothes—or lack thereof—look great.
  • You’re reinforcing her fashion sense and letting her know it made you look. It’s not easy to make a buying decision when you’re trying to please two people instead of one. Make no mistake—she buys those clothes partly for your benefit.
  • It’s nice and it’s thoughtful and, when said the right way, damn sexy. She likes that shit.

Like I said, don’t use this knowledge with misguided intentions. Your only intention should be sincerity. If it isn’t, she will notice.

As she tends to do.

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