Friday, August 5, 2011

On Friends, Compliments & Sincerity

Recently I happened to be asked to act an emcee(it was put in a such a way that I could not decline). I said yes and promptly forgot about it until a day to the event. Then I was surprised with some "talking points" that I was supposed to memorize. I was even given exact lines to introduce some film. I still took everything for granted until the last minute when backstage, I saw all these people that were to make some speeches busy rehearsing their speeches. It was then that it occurred to me that I needed to be rehearsing and that there was no room for mistakes. This made me tense throughout, a situation that was made worse by the blinding stage lights. Needless to say, I got through it unscathed, meaning I did not introduce people using wrong names and did not refer to the US Ambassador as being from Iran or something like that (the highlight for me though was having to help Alfre Woodard down the steps - they kept reminding me how to pronounce her name. Would she have strangled me if I got it wrong?)

Anyway, the point of this is that after the event I was obviously concerned that I might have made a fool of myself on stage. But as usual, friends came and patted me on the back saying stuff like 'that was good' etc. It is actually only one person who upon my probing told me that I looked rather nervous at the beginning...This made me reflect on how many mornings that my wife asks me how she looks like in a certain attire, and without thinking, murmur that it looks ok. In deed, how many times do I pass compliments without actually meaning it, just because I am expected to be nice. I see a musician friend of mine perform and clearly the performance sucks but I just say "well done, that was brilliant!". I think being sincere in compliments is perhaps not as easy as it sounds, most of the time we will not tell our friends the truth. Perhaps it is only husbands who get to hear the truth from their wives concerning their dressing, something that at times we do not take lightly!

Finally, "Real friendship is exchanging secrets, rolling over like a puppy and exposing the soft underbelly. You tell your friend the truth, and you feel the friendship growing - like a bank account - with each upfront opinion you give, with each honest answer you hear". Adair Lara, Cosmopolitan

21 comments:

  1. So now you will tell it as it is, right? Sometimes a little sugar-coating helps boost morale. Especially about stuff that one cannot change.

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  2. I agree with you, there are stuff where you just don't put people down so I don't mean that you have to tell people they are "ugly" (besides that is subjective) or stuff like that. But if you ask someone for an opinion, would you prefer that they are honest with you or tell you what you want to hear?

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  3. So if you're anything like me, you prefer sincere compliments, not things said just to make you feel good. Of course, I prefer those who know how to share truths with sugar not with poison. :-) Sometimes I avoid sharing my real opinion rather than giving it straight up if it will hurt the person and I can't find a nice way to tell them. Avoidance is a harder tactic if someone asks you something point blank. Sounds like you it was a high profile event and that you got over your initial nerves.

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  4. Sincere compliments are always welcome but sometimes when we know that we look good and then want to reiterate that thought, we ask for a second opinion and at that time if one hears something contrary, it is slightly irritable. But hearing positive comments all the time knowing fully well that the positivity is just a routine and pleasing technique, it is highly annoying. I try to be honest while doling out compliments but I do so in a way that does not seem offending: I would say "green looks better on you than violet" and the person would get the message without feeling bad. Even with friends, negative comments are not always easy to give. Everyone has a BIG ego and easy temper. So one has to be careful.

    Joy always,
    Susan

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  5. very true..compliments might be very tuough to give out...especially when u have a load of ego. but it means a lot to the concerned people

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  6. Susan, I have actually learned something good from your comment about wanting to reiterate the thought though you already know that you look good. I have always wondered why my wife is asking me how she looks yet she knows that she looks good and I am not fashion savvy enough to offer a good opinion. Thanks for passing by Susan.

    Joyful and Jon, thanks for your comments too.

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  7. It actually boils down to who the person giving the compliment is to me. One cannot afford to even consider some peoples' opinions because there are those who always see the glass as half-empty. A sincere one from one whose opinion I value is good.

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  8. And yeah, if I ask for an opinion, honesty is what I prefer. It means your judgment means something to me.

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  9. I think it's always nice to look for the positive aspects of each other...and focus on those. There is always something wonderful in everything and everyone; at times it can be more challenging to find, but I believe it's always there.

    I love your quote about friendship, too. I like to think it refers to telling the truth and being honest about ourselves, rather than giving a friend what we perceive to be the truth...after all, we each have our own, personal version of the truth, based on seeing life through our personal lens of experience. I like to remind myself that truth is not the same as everybody else's.

    Thank you, Charles, I enjoyed this thoughtful post. :)

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  10. I meant to say *my* truth is not the same... :)

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  11. I always tell my wife be 100% honest with me if I ask you how a suit looks on me or how a meal I cooked taste. If your comment is not great..then I need to deal with it and the next time when you tell me it is great ..then I know you mean it!!!! It has value!

    I started following you!!

    http://jpweddingphotograpy.blogspot.com/2011/08/photographs-for-magnificent-monday.html

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  12. Bec, what you say is so true, truth about some stuff can always be interpreted differently by another eye depending on the culture and context.

    Jim, thanks for passing by and following. Will check out what you have at your place.

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  13. This post certainly makes me think a bit.:) I guess I prefer to error on the side of kindness...unless it is a very serious or important issue. A kind comment instead of a totally honest one may be the very thing that increases their confidence and enables them to do better the next time. It's a tricky issue though. I value honesty and yet at the same time, we are all so fragile, aren't we?:)

    Have a great day.:)

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  14. i tend to say the truth to all people, needless to say most people have stopped asking me about things they don't want the truth to. I forgot to say hi at bakes last Friday, maybe next time.

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  15. Most people don't want your honest opinion, so I tell them what they want to hear. Those who genuinely want to hear what I want to say, I tell the truth. The trick is to differentiate the former from the latter.

    And when I tell you the truth.. I try to soften the blow.

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  16. And oh, thanks for giving me the 'thumbs of the week' spot!

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  17. My modus operandi is somewhere between Bec & Pitzevans -- I look for the good and I tell the truth. I have no patience with people who make stuff up to try not to hurt my feelings. That feels like more of an insult to me than the truth. It's like saying, "You were so awful I can't even bear to tell you how awful you were so I will lie to you to protect your fragile ego." Thanks, but no thanks ;-)

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  18. I guess it's a little difficult. I try not to lie to people but also don't want to hurt feelings. So if you ask me what your strange dress looks like, I won't tell you it's great. Maybe I'll throw in an 'it's interesting' and hope for the best!

    While you're feeling honest, I've tagged you to give 7 truths about yourself (on the assumption you haven't been tagged before). Happy writing
    http://unmarried.blogspot.com/

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  19. Colleen, too err on the side of kindness, I like that phrase. It is something I think I will adopt!

    To the rest, I have actually learned quite a lot from your comments. Before I did this post I had never really reflected on this issue. Thanks for your contributions

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  20. Pitzevans, I did not notice you, I'd have said hi. Yes, next time!

    Spinster, I already did, check the post before this one!

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  21. Savvykenya, thanks for alerting me that I should be removing you from there, you have been there for more than a week!!

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