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.



Instagram 2013

There are those interesting nights where you find yourself completely exhausted and ready to sleep but, once you lay your head on the pillow, you find that sleep is not yet ready for you. You’re not exactly restless yet not exactly preoccupied, not exactly excited yet not exactly troubled. It’s a little like being uncomfortable in your own skin, an actor attempting to portray having a sinus headache in a TV commercial for over-the-counter sinus headache medication.

Your thoughts drift seamlessly between what was, what is, and what may yet come to be—the due date you keep changing for the task you’ve meant to complete for months … whether to shave tomorrow or wait one more day … how you’d like to one day have a drink with that person whose thoughts you just read because somehow they read your own.

It’s looking back and looking forward, all at the same time. Which is, today, where we find ourselves.

New Year’s Eve.

If you’re like me, this time last year held little indication—maybe a few hints here and there—of what 2013 would fully hold in store. But one thing would come to be certain: the year was exceptional. It was exceptional in the missed chances and the seized opportunities, alike.

To me, rather than a farewell, New Year’s Eve is the one true chance we have to say, “hello,” to the past 364 days. This is the one true chance to see how all the pieces fit into a puzzle of our own making. The other 364 days move too damn fast to watch the process. The other 364 days offer a puzzle that’s incomplete.

So today, before ringing in 2014—or before falling asleep prior to the clock striking midnight—take a minute to say, “hello,” to 2013. That, my friends, is the first piece to building the puzzle of 2014.

Cheers to you, and all my best wishes for your new year …


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.

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