How to Pay a Compliment

If you wish to go through life surrounded by smiling faces you must know how to pay a compliment. The vile flatterer of the famous fable knew what he was doing; he had a much more pleasant life than the grumbler who never found anything nice to say and whom everybody shunned.

Advertising companies seem to recognize man’s insatiable thirst for admiration, since this, together with triumphant sex, are the two motivations on which all their campaigns are based. If I were using graphic means of expression, I would picture the fastest, most perfect lift to success in life as an immense polishing brush, with compliments at every floor.


Monsieur, you have a perfect wife. She feeds you with patiently tested recipes and she anoints her body with fragrant lotions in order to increase your pleasure in bed. In return for all this you pay her no other salary than your name and a few compliments – so don’t be stingy with them.

If you wish her to continue to serve you so well, tell her:

  • that she looks wonderful when she returns from a visit to the hairdresser .. . but certainly not when she has just cleaned the entire house and is dead tired. Nothing is more irritating than a compliment at the wrong time. If, for example, I have a fever of a hundred degrees and drag myself to the office, I feel like hugging the person who tells me that I really look very peaked and that I should have stayed at home in bed, but I also feel like using the little strength I have left to strangle the person who says that I seem to be in fine form.
  • that her souffle is much better than your mother’s (the only thing you risk with this kind of compliment is a steady diet of souffles).
  • that you congratulate yourself every day for having married her and that you feel awfully sorry for poor Alfred, her best friend’s husband, etc., etc. Try it, starting today, and you will be surprised by the results.

Madame, you have a perfect husband. Tell him that he is strong, intelligent, clever, generous, and a marvelous lover. (Even if you have not cared to make a thorough survey as to the last point and so lack standards of comparison, the more you flatter him, the greater effort he will make.)

Mademoiselle, you’ve just turned twenty, you’re lovely, and the entire world seems to revolve around your silky tresses. Come, come, the others aren’t so bad either. Even the most apparently unattractive person has some little speciality in which he excels. While waiting for the man you cannot live without (who will perhaps be quite the opposite of what you most appreciate today), take advantage of the talents of all the others. If Harry’s only attraction is his Jaguar, take him to the country where you will join up with Bert, who plays tennis so well, dance with George, chat in front of the fire with that dear intellectual Andrew (it will perhaps get you out of having to read Kafka for yourself), have your hair-drier repaired by that darling mechanically minded Peter, and keep your entire menagerie well in hand by feeding a simple diet of appropriate compliments.

Finally, if you are always on the look-out for opportunities to offer compliments, your entire point of view will change. You will see only the good side of people and you may even get to like them, which is perhaps one of the most foolproof recipes for happiness.

Filed Under: General How To's


About the Author: Bruno Silva is an entrepreneur from Portugal with over 15 years of experience in Online Marketing. He is also a blogger and writes on variety of topics from online marketing to designs, cars to loans, etc.

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