They say that sticks and stones may break our bones, but words will never hurt us. It’s honestly one of the weirdest idioms to ever be popularized, because it’s very clearly untrue. Ok, sure, words don’t tend to directly cause physical injury, but I’d rather break an arm than be emotionally scarred by someone’s verbal abuse any day.
Conversely, uplifting words can be very powerful as well. So much so, in fact, that we will hold on to even small moments of encouragement for years, or even lifetimes.
Here are some of the best responses.
1. There are pretty little truths worth revealing.
I was two weeks into my first job in high school and it was miserable. The manager’s personal life was falling apart and she was taking it out on us, most of my coworkers wouldn’t give me the time of day, plus I had to deal with everything that came with working fast food, dealing with horrible customers etc. I was planning on quitting by the end of the week.
One day I wore my hair to work a little bit different (I was growing out my bangs at the time and I left them down instead of pinning them back) and the boy in the kitchen told me it looked pretty. I assumed he was just trying to be nice and thanked him, he went on and said “No, seriously, I think the clips are super cute and all, but… you really look great today.”
Kept me from quitting that job. That boy and I are talking about marriage now. 🙂
2. Even an off-hand, casual remark can have a big impact.
About 4-5 years ago a girl in my college class said I had nice pants.
I looked at those pants like they were the cure for cancer after that day.
3. We like to be recognized for the things we create.
I was playing a song I made up for the piano when I was like 10, and my new teacher walks in and asks where the sheet music is for it.
I felt so proud.
4. Even if we’re just passing through…
I was in the drive thru of a McDonald’s and the young lady working the window said I had beautiful eyes.
This was 10 years ago and I’m still riding that one.
5. We want to be seen when we improve.
When I was in high school I was put in a special math class for students that weren’t so good in the subject. We learned the same things but the class just went at a slower pace. I took AP English and History classes but math and science were essentially foreign concepts to me I guess so I kind of needed it.
In 10th grade the math teacher my special math class was assigned to was Mr. Smith […] No matter how much of a rebel you were, no one f*cked around in a Mr. Smith class.
One day towards the end of the year, Mr. Smith told me to stay behind for a moment when I was leaving his class. After everyone left he told me that he just wanted to let me know that he saw how much I was improving and that he was proud of me. I left that class and almost cried. What he said was so simple but coming from him it meant so much.
He never gave out compliments and always seemed like more of a tough love type of guy. I always worked hard for my grads and at that time I really needed what he said to me.
6. No matter where it comes from, it’s nice.
When I was about 15, very depressed and with body dysmorphia, my mum and I visited the perfume floor of harrods. I was there in a hoodie with unwashed hair and too anxious to speak to any of the staff. When we got to one of the perfume shops and sat down, the very gentlemanly salesman told me I had a beautiful smile.
After talking a little with my mum and giving her a few testers, he gave me a tester he said I might like, and he’d written the name of the perfume on the card. It was called ‘Love (Don’t Be Shy)’. Always sticks in my head as being one of the loveliest interactions I’ve ever had, even though it obviously didn’t mean anything.
7. This is a Hollywood style meet cute right here.
In my early 20s I went to a local coffee shop with some coworkers.
Without warning a very attractive young lady came up to me said “hi,” shoved a piece of paper into my hand and then walked out the door.
The piece of paper had her name and phone number on it.
Only 1 word was spoken but it was an slightly overwhelming acknowledgement.
8. We are our own worst judges.
someone said I had a great personality when I felt like the most boring person in the planet.
Made me feel so much more confident
9. Compliments AND fries? Yes please.
A super cute guy working in a food truck took my order and said to the cook “one burger and fries for this beautiful girl right here”.
Then when he gave me my food he said “here you go darlin'” with a wink.
Big swoooon. Even if he was being nice, it really made an impression on my very insecure, 24 yo self lol.
10. Your talents may lift someone up.
At the conclusion of a church funeral service, the widow stopped by to see me at the organ console before proceeding to the cemetery.
She said, with both smiles and tears, “I want to thank you for your uplifting music. It made my husband’s funeral a celebration of his life rather than a sorrowful occasion.”
11. Drugs are a hell of a drug.
When I was chilling at a festival some dude came up to me outta nowhere like, “hey listen, I hope I’m not being weird or something, but I saw you and had to come over and tell you I dig your style, you really nailed this look, it’s really unique, I just thought you should know” and then he just left and I never saw him again
12. It’s all in the eye of the beholder.
This girl on the bus in middle school stopped mid-sentence to tell me I had really pretty eyes.
Thanks Courtney I will never forget you.
13. I want a love that ages like wine.
My wife telling me out of nowhere that I look better than I ever have.
I’m 50 and she really meant it so it really means a lot 🙂
14. Compliments are a feast for the senses.
Some girl told me I smelled good freshmen year of high school during class.
It came out of nowhere and made my day.
Still remember it.
15. This is the old guy I want to grow up to be.
Me and my boyfriend (now husband) were at the store and an old guy walked up to us and said “You’re the cutest couple I’ve ever seen.”
Meant a lot because we’d met online 6 years earlier and had been online dating, but a few days before this was the first time we had met in person.
So that was like our first “you make a cute couple” compliment.
Be on the lookout for ways that you can make someone’s day (or year) with a compliment today. It might just do them a world of good.
What’s the compliment that you’ve held onto?
Tell us in the comments.