10/8/15

Guerilla Compliments



I can live for two months on a good compliment.
Mark Twain
I’m going to say something that, although isn’t true, most of us have thought about. The world is full of idiots and assholes. The reality is that it isn’t. It’s just that assholes are pretty vocal about proving to the world what they are, usually loud enough to drown out the rest of us. And the problem lies in the fact that it just takes one single awful word or act to ruin our entire day. We’ll let it simmer within our minds, poisoning our every thought, and spreading it out to our environments as if it were some kind of virulent disease.

But here’s the flip side of the coin many of us usually don’t consider. It also takes a single compliment, a single kind word, to make someone’s day. When someone, specially a complete stranger, says something nice, you will probably end up smiling on the fact that someone was able to say something nice to you in a world proud of just being mean. You’ll share the story to your friends, reliving that simple moment where for an instant, the world wasn’t that horrible.

Now here’s the truly amazing fact that we keep forgetting, you have that power over everyone around you, especially those you don’t know in a personal level. You can be an asshole and ruin someone’s entire day or you can be nice and make someone’s entire day. You can make a difference every day to make this a nicer world, a single smile at a time.

With that in mind, I have always believed in guerrilla acts, as they become so random that the person is left without the possibility of accusing you of having ulterior motives. I mentioned this before in an old Valentine post. But what if it’s not limited to romance and valentines, what if you expanded it to everything and everyone?

What I am proposing are simple acts that take very little effort. It’s as simple as smiling to a complete stranger and saying “good day.” It’s as simple as offering a compliment on something about the person. “That’s a beautiful scarf” or “what a lovely pendant” will usually let the person realize that the world recognizes their existence in a positive way.

Just make sure to leave it at that and not turn it into some kind of opening gambit or pick up line, as it take away ALL validity of the act. Also consider what you compliment on. ’Dat Ass or Damn aren’t really appropriate compliments. Neither is complimenting on things that might be interpreted as inappropriate.

A while back, there was an online joke about #DudesGreatingDudes, as a criticism of catcalling apologists. Although it was intended as a joke, I actually agree with it. Limiting your compliments to the ladies proves that you’re intentions aren’t about making a decent world, but rather to see how many numbers you rack up. See a gentleman wearing a nice tie? Let him know. They have a nice car, why not mention it? Is it really that hard to say something as simple as “nice hat”?

You see, anyone gets a kick off a compliment and anyone deserves to be reminded that decent people actually outnumber the assholes. We just have to start being as loud as those who ruin everyone else’s day.