Pay a compliment, get a treasure in return.
Angie is 33 years old and has been a waitress for most of her life. She has dreams of owning a food service establishment and intends to get a business degree to help make the dream a reality. She loves the foodservice industry and working with the public. I don't know how long she has been as the Pappacito's on FM 1960 in Houston, but she certainly made an impression on Kim and me at dinner.
We know all this about someone who was a total stranger because I asked her how long she has been a waitress, and then explained the question was based on her obvious confidence and abilities in her work. She answered with insights about herself and a brief story or two. She loves her career and happily shares that truth. Her simple sharing was uplifting and drew smiles. She returned to the table just to say "Thanks for the compliment." But we were the thankful ones.
Compliments encourage and affirm the recipient while bringing joy and comfort to the messenger. All that is great, of course, but perhaps the greatest reward for paying a compliment is getting a conversation started. Stories connect us and an honest, complimentary observation can start a great conversation, albeit a short one at times.
My dad used to say that paying a compliment cost him nothing but made the day of the recipient. There's a huge payoff for the messenger, too-a chance to listen and connect.
Listen to Life is a free newsletter about learning and getting more from life by paying attention to our own stories and the stories of others, based on the presentations, writings, photography and workshops by Dion McInnis (www.dionmcinnis.com). Copyright 2010 Dion McInnis. All rights reserved.