「ST」は紙名を新たに「Alpha」として2018年6月29日より新創刊しました。 Alpha以降の英文記事はこちら
「ST」は紙名を新たに「Alpha」として2018年6月29日より新創刊しました。 Alpha以降の英文記事はこちら


The power of compliments

By Kip A. Cates


It's not easy to be cheerful in a cold, hard world. It hurts when others criticize our looks or behavior. Harsh words and negative comments can lead to depression and a loss of self-esteem. What can we do to make the world a happier place?

One way to bring sunshine into people's lives is through compliments. A compliment is an expression of praise or admiration. Complimenting people shows that we're thinking of them, respect them and wish them well.

How do you compliment people? It's easy! First, open your eyes, look around and become aware of others. Is your colleague wearing a nice tie? Did your classmate get a haircut? Has your friend bought a new purse? Try to notice how people look, what they do and how they act.

Next, verbalize your feelings. If someone looks nice, say so. If they're good at something, tell them. True compliments come from the heart, not like shallow flattery meant to manipulate others.

The most common ways to compliment people are to praise their appearance ("I like your hairstyle!"), comment on their belongings ("That's a nice handbag you have!") or admire their skills ("You really speak English well!"). People may blush but they'll feel happy inside. Everyone likes to be complimented!

Learning to compliment people is one important skill. Accepting compliments gracefully is another. What should you do when someone compliments you? There are several ways to respond.

If someone says, "I like your shoes," say "Thanks!" If they say, "That's a nice pen," just reply, "Do you think so?" If they say, "You're a great soccer player!" tell them, "That's nice of you to say so."

There's a famous story about compliments called Love and the Cabbie by the American humorist Art Buchwald. The story takes place in New York, a city famous for its grumpy neighbors and rude citizens. A guy decides to fight this negativity by complimenting 10 different people each day. Every time he takes a taxi, he compliments the driver ("You're very skillful!"). Whenever he passes a building site, he praises the construction workers ("That's a great job you're doing!"). By giving compliments each day, he aims to make people happy, boost morale and make his hometown a better place.

In class, my students and I study this story. Then, I give them a special homework task: "Compliment three people in our city, then write a report about what happens." For the following week, students are busy complimenting friends and family, bus drivers and waiters, police officers and train staff. For one short week, our city becomes a very happy place!

Compliments are free and easy to give. They bring smiles to people's faces and brighten the lives of others. So, don't be shy. Compliment someone today!



The Japan Times ST: February 5, 2016

The Japan Times ST 読者アンケート




2018年6月29日号    試読・購読   デジタル版