I read a post by The English Professor at LargeShe was writing about kindness and love and the simple things you can do to make the world a better place to live. If you have a chance, read her piece. You probably already agree, but she says it so very well and with so much class.

Mated for life

I got to thinking that my version of that is to offer compliments (unasked for) to people who I expect are rarely offered a compliment.

Ducks on a golden pond

I tell people they look great and they do. Maybe not for a 20-year old, but for them, they look fantastic. I tell them when they seem to have lost weight. I got a bullseye last week when it turned out she really had lost 50 pounds. I tell them they have a beautiful smile.

Saying nice things to people who don’t often hear them is the only gift i have to offer. I usually don’t know whether it was appreciated, but I know an unexpected compliment makes me feel good. Sometimes a bit embarrassed too, but what’s a little embarrassment between friends?

Red finch!

On the other hand, I am very wary of offering suggestions to anyone. I have a friend who takes pretty good pictures on her cell phone. She has come a long way, but can’t seem to remember to hold it level. Every picture is just a wee bit crooked. My pictures are crooked too, even with the leveler built into my camera. But I have Photoshop so I can straighten them later.

She doesn’t use any software. What it does mean is if the photo starts crooked, it will slant for all eternity. But she’s sharp. So I finally suggested she try and pay attention to holding the phone level when she shoots. I bet she will, too, because she is one of those “tell her once and she gets it” learners.

I’m pretty sure I complimented at least one follower into getting a better camera and she’s become an amazing photographer. Sometimes, a compliment, a well-meant suggestion can make a huge difference.

The most important part is to offer a compliment or suggestion without an expectation of payback and realize if you get rejected, drop it. The best thing is when you make someone feel better or improve their work or get them started in a different direction … and maybe they don’t even realize you’re the one who did it. When that happens, remember to never mention it. If you bring it up, you’ll ruin it.

Be happy. And shut up.

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. I am retired and delighted to be so. May I live long and write frequently.

16 thoughts on “COMPLIMENTS AND SUGGESTIONS UNBIDDEN – Marilyn Armstrong”

  1. Thank you,Marilyn. Yes, a compliment or a heartfelt suggestion can make a difference in one’s life. I learned that as a high school and college teacher. Thirty years later, a student would say to me, “One day in class, you said…….” and I have no memory of that at all. Last February, I was initiated into the Hall of Fame of the high school where I taught for 37 years. , and the dinner was attended by hundreds of students, who remembered far more than I did! It takes so little to give to others . I know you are a “giver,” and applaud you.


  2. Compliments do not cost money and spread a little happiness. I seem to spend my time condoling friends on the loss of a loved one. I often take photos with my iPhone, but I have the X phone and they have improved the camera a lot. They also have a straightener for the photos and I can make them smaller


    1. I glad to hear that. I think my friend has the last expensive one, It probably doesn’t have a leveler — or she hasn’t yet noticed it. A couple of my cameras have really great levelers, but I still tilt. I’ve noticed most people can keep the dominant hand in place, but the other hand drops just a little bit. I straighten it all with software.


  3. Show up, pay attention, do your best, and LET GO OF THE OUTCOME. As you put it well, Marilyn, sprinkle a little kindness and let its magic spread. When I’m out and about, I try to greet and look in the eye those I encounter, whether shop clerks or passers-by. Being seen matters.


  4. I couldn’t agree more. When I give someone a compliment, it’s heartfelt and amazingly usually on target,just the thing someone needed at that moment and it made a huge difference in their day in their outlook. It takes little time to offer a sincere compliment that can change a person’s day. Yours too truth be told.


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