Thursday, March 22, 2012


I have never been used to people being nice to me. Honestly it’s not the deeds that I’m not used to. Plenty of people have done very nice deeds for or towards me and I’ve appreciated them. It’s the verbal compliments that I find particularly difficult to accept.

My parents were not very forthcoming with praise. I don’t think my dad ever said anything specific to me that showed his pride or applause. My mom wasn’t much for it in the past but has gotten better in recent years. In school, I got plenty of praise and it felt great. However, when I stepped into the real world; I found most compliments held ulterior motives.

All my bosses would compliment me on something to only bring up the big ‘but’ followed by ways I could improve. This is normal practice but I think that the practice squashes any employee’s motivation. As an employee I began to associate the compliment with a list of things I wasn’t doing well.

For instance last week the head of my group called me to thank me for all my hard work and that he thought I was one of the leaders in the team. He then proceeded to ask me questions which I couldn’t entirely answer and whatever happiness I felt from the compliment had disappeared in the span of a few nanoseconds.
While in my dating years every single compliment from a guy meant they expected something in return. Whether they intended it or not, I was very aware of it and I didn’t appreciate their words. It made me frigid in their eyes but at least I never felt taken advantage of.

I even have problems accepting them from my husband and friends. I always expect that something bad will follow the compliment. Perhaps if people would just compliment others without it sounding forced and without a disclaimer behind it, it might be easier. I usually compliment people and that’s it. I don’t wait with a long list of all the other things they do wrong. I am not waiting for a sexual favor in return. I do it be nice and to make a person smile. And I am sure other people do it to me as well – with no other intent than to be nice, but I find it very hard to accept and I’m not sure how to change it really.

1 comment:

M said...

Receiving a compliment is hard for many people. We have a tendency to see our flaws and have a hard time believing that others are sincere in their praise or that we really merit the compliment. I think it just takes practice to take a compliment at face value, say "thank you" and not second-guess the giver's motives or doubt whether it's true. Even in a work situation, praise is often used to soften the blow of less-positive talk that's coming, but that doesn't mean that the praise itself isn't still genuine.