“You have beautiful hair.”
I almost had to look behind myself to see who the cashier was talking to. It couldn’t have been me. I barely finished drying it and just stuck it up in a ponytail in the morning and hadn’t taken it out since. My bangs were sure to be oily (from my huge forehead) and my roots were starting to come in. But she was, in fact, talking to me. And it brought a huge smile to my face as I said, “Thank you!” After my husband and I picked up our bags and started walking away, I realized I should have said something nice back. She had a really nice accent! Or… um… crap… I didn’t even see her name to compliment her next time I was shopping. I’d been blindsided by the compliment. I’d been the lucky recipient of a Compliment Drive-by.
You’ve probably had the impulse to give a Drive-by Compliment before. You’re on the subway and the girl across from you has some really amazing shoes. Or the person in front of you in the coffee line has the greatest smile you’ve ever seen. Or one of your customers has the coolest manicure you’ve ever seen. You want to express your appreciation for the coolness of the person… but you don’t. You don’t know them… it would seem creepy… they’re just a stranger… they’ll think you’re hitting on them… how would you like it if someone randomly complimented you?
Back up to that last one.
How would you like it if someone randomly complimented you?
You’d love it! A genuine, agenda-less, honest-to-goodness compliment? It would make your day. And you know what? It’s a two-way street. The person giving the compliment has their mood boosted by the knowledge that they made someone else happy. It’s a win-win.
This Week’s Challenge
Make someone’s day. Every day this week, dish out a Drive-by Compliment. Walking down the hall and see someone wearing a great outfit? Tell them! Waiting at the doctor’s and like the flowers on the receptionist’s desk? Let them know! Need help? See our own Buster Blonde’s guide on How to Give Good Compliments.
You may notice that I’m focusing on strangers here… feel free to throw compliments at your loved ones, too! But that works on your positivity in a completely different way, which we’ll focus on in another challenge.
This Week’s Mantra
Part of why we’re doing this a sort of transitive property of positivity. In The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, the author discusses the curious effect of gossip: when you gossip about others, the people whom you’re gossiping to infer those same attributes you’re talking about to you. Good and bad. By dishing out Drive-by Compliments, we’re kind of tricking ourselves into this as well. So this week’s motto gets to the heart of this week’s challenge: “See in yourself what you see in others.”
If you want a reminder of your mantra for the next week, feel free to click the image above to download a wallpaper-sized version.
Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional or mental health expert, and there are problems that positivity cannot overcome, so please do not take this advice in lieu of a doctor’s care.
Not all challenges will be relevant to everyone, so I welcome you to come and go as you please and take from each challenge what works for you! Please make sure to share your thoughts in the comments!