As some of us are lucky enough to emerge from our months of isolation, I’ve been really curious to see if anything has changed. Are people more courteous to each other or more cautious? We are quick to forget the promises we made ourselves in the depths of lock in so will anything be different as we return to our (somewhat) normal routines?
My initial observation? I think people are a little bit nicer.
Pre-pandemic, some people may not have been comfortable complimenting a stranger, but in these past few weeks, I feel that reluctance has lifted. In the last week alone, I’ve had a few instances where people have gone out of their way to say something nice to me. Maybe it's just my lucky week but I think that this time apart from other people, even time apart from strangers, has made us appreciate one another more.
A compliment is such an inexpensive gift to give. It doesn’t cost a cent and can really affect the quality of someone's day. Not only have you boosted the mood of the receiver but it also makes you feel pretty great too.
It's something I’m trying to instill in my kids. Children are notorious at saying the most inappropriate things to strangers. They tend to focus on things that are different or stand out - The best (or worst) example of this happening to me was in the queue at my local supermarket. My daughter (who was two at the time) asked a very dark skinned African man if he was a baddie - I was mortified. Luckily the man wasn’t offended and by the time we left the supermarket they were quite good buddies, but holy shit, what a thing to say!
Kids are going to do stuff like that regardless so I’m trying to get them to be more vocal about things they like or they think are interesting. So instead of waiting for them to say something awkward they are actively looking for compliments to give people. Best so far, is my son told a tradie he had a ‘cool trailer’. Small steps but the kids are starting to realise that what they say can make someone feel really good.
The professional equivalent of this is simply saying thank you.
At the end of each day, one of my favourite authors, Tina Seelig, goes through her calendar and sends a thank you note to every person she meet with that day. What a wonderful thing to do! Not only are you thanking the person for sharing their limited time with you, but you are nurturing that relationship.
Maybe the lack of human contact has just made me want to appreciate the people in my life more. I’ve started to try and drop one compliment per day. Sometimes that's hard when I only see my immediate family but if you extend your reach out to your online communities then the opportunities are endless.
It's so easy to mindlessly scroll through Facebook or Instagram. Next time you're online, say something nice. Don’t just give it the thumbs up but write a genuine compliment. It will take less than 10 seconds and might really make someone’s day.
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