Fulton Sheen once said, "Baloney is flattery laid on so thick it cannot be true, and blarney is flattery so thin we love it." There is a wide gap, however, between blarney and a sincere compliment.
Eleanor Roosevelt's mother, Anna, was deeply disappointed in her daughter's looks and demeanor. She often called young Eleanor "Granny." To visitors, she would say, "She is such a funny child, so old-fashioned that we always call her Granny."
"I wanted to sink through the floor in shame," an older and wiser Eleanor later recalled.
Adding to the cruel remarks, Anna told her young daughter, "You have no looks, so see to it that you have manners." Yet despite the obvious disappointment that Anna felt for her daughter, Eleanor forever wanted her mother's approval. Unfortunately, Anna died on December 7, 1892, at the age of 29, when her daughter was only eight.
At any age, sincere compliments and acts of appreciation feel like a warm fireside on a cold night. They melt away icy pain; they invigorate and refresh. We often remember them for years and they have remarkable power to influence future behavior.
One man lived by this motto: Never let a day go by without giving at least three people a compliment. It can give a whole new meaning to "comp time"! If you question the value of this exercise, give it a try. I think you will discover other people responding better to you, and you will experience a growing appreciation for the people in your life. And don't be surprised if, days or even years later, you learn how your words deeply affected someone in a significant way.
Remember, only three kinds of people respond well to a sincere compliment -- men, women and children. Do you know any of these?