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We all enjoy getting complements. Studies have shown that compliments boost our self-esteem, increase our confidence, and improve relationships. So why are they so hard to give?
This Wikia is dedicated to exploring one of the most important, and most enigmatic, forms of communication.
The Prime Directive
See main article: The Prime Directive
When executed properly, a compliment can build and enhance existing relationships. When thrown out at random, compliments can come off as patronizing and artificial. It was for this reason that the Prime Directive (or main rule) of compliments was created:
[i]"All compliments should be sincere, accurate and honest."[/i]
Although we wish to emphasize the importance of this directive, we do not want to make it seem overly complicated or difficult to follow. Another way of stating it would be to say that we should "mean what we say and say what we mean."
Major Issues in Compliment-giving
See main article: Major Issues
There are many barriers that keep people from giving sincere, honest compliments to those around them. A few are listed below:
Lack of creativity: Sincere compliments require a high level of creativity, which not everyone has access to.
Timing: Many heart-felt compliments are 'spoiled' because the are given at the wrong time.
Machismo: Social norms dictate that men should not give compliments to other men or else they will sound effeminate. Norms also dictate that men should not give compliments to women unless they are attempting to express sincere romantic interest.
Obliviousness: Some of us go through life being completely unaware of all the skilled, talented people who improve out lives on a daily basis. One of the first steps to giving compliments involves becoming aware of your environment.
Anatomy of a Compliment
See main article: Anatomy of a Compliment
The process of giving compliments begins long before they are verbalized. Below are the basic components of a compliment, in chronological order:
Awareness: Before a person can give a compliment, they need to be aware of the talents and positive attributes of those around them.
Recognition: Compliments begin to take shape when the complimenter recognizes a positive attribute in another person.
Formulation: Once the positive attribute is recognized, the complimenter must then determine how to express their admiration for the positive attribute recognized. Refinement: Before a compliment makes the journey of a few inches from the brain to the mouth, it must be revised and refined until it is appropriate for the environment, relationship and conversation.
Delivery: Finally, after a compliment has been formed and refined, it can now be expressed. An expressed compliment should be a sincere statement of admiration for the attributes or actions of others.
Response: After a compliment is expressed, the person recieving it may respond in many ways including appreciation, surprise, apathy, or disagreement.
Types of Compliments
See main article: Types of Compliments
Conversational Compliments: The first and most basic type of compliment takes place during the course of an ordinary conversation. After it is given it may become the focus of the conversation, or it may be acknowledged and then passed over.
Stand-alone Compliments: A stand-alone compliment is one that is given at a time when a conversation is not taking place. These types of compliments can often generate an atmosphere of awkwardness, but if properly executed can be very effective.
Drive-by Compliments: In the course of a normal conversation, people will sometimes throw out a compliment, and then continue on with the conversation as if nothing had happened. These types of compliments can be effective in expressing sincere appreciation and admiration without the added burden of having to defend and justify the sincerity of the compliment.