Instead of manufacturing a compliment, just pay attention and realize what you think looks nice, what you like, or what you think is cool. Instead of holding back and not saying anything, which I think is what a lot of us do, tell them.
If the person has a funny shirt on and it brightens your day, say 'I really like your shirt.'
Instead of trying to compliment somebody, just try to appreciate them, and then relax enough to tell them what you appreciate.
A compliment you manufacture for the sake of giving a compliment will probably come across as stilted and fake.
 Specifically, he cites Drachman et al. (1978) study.
Personally I thought that part was hilarious. I'm not sure whether it was true or not (due to how naive it made the author seem) but I definitely enjoyed the article more because of it.
It's a very foreign feeling, stretching for compliments.
They'll sense you're well-disposed towards them because you are well-disposed towards them. You'll also feel happier, having noticed something you like.
It's why alcohol makes social stuff easier - lowered inhibitions.
Remember nothing bad will happen if you just tell people what you think. Especially if it's positive. I promise. It won't be weird.
In fact, I've gone so far as making this a daily habit: http://swizec.com/blog/can-you-pay-one-compliment-to-one-str...
It's important to be precise when giving public social advice, because the people that could benefit from it the most don't know how to tease out hidden subtleties (that seem obvious to everyone else). If what you really mean is, "nothing bad will happen if you just tell people what you think and have at least roughly average social skills" you should just say the whole thing.
It's a practice truly strange to tell people exactly how you feel or exactly what is on your mind; however, it definitely leads to some truly sincere compliments.
Perhaps all of the people who now are your friends might no longer be you friends, but your new habit could've brought you new friends who respect you for your candor, even if it is slightly cynical.
Besides me, she has maybe two or three other people who like her company.
Nor are her opinions that noxious--usually she just says out loud very blunt versions of what half of the people are thinking. But you can easily imagine personalities with an even lower batting average.
There is always the inner person with dirty habits and nasty thoughts that you don't expose to _anyone_ however drunk you are.
It is only an illusion that it is "easier". It makes you feel better simply because it removes the ability to recognize the negatives of your actions.
As to the advice that nothing bad will happen, that's dangerous advice. Tell coworkers what you think and you'll quickly find yourself without a job or worse. Tell strangers and you're on a short ride to fights, pariah status, etc.
Radical Honesty (kind of cultish)
> Confess to your boss your secret plans to start your own company. If you're having fantasies about your wife's sister, Blanton says to tell your wife and tell her sister. It's the only path to authentic relationships. It's the only way to smash through modernity's soul-deadening alienation. Oversharing? No such thing.
Yes. I know. One of the most idiotic ideas ever, right up there with Vanilla Coke and giving Phil Spector a gun permit. Deceit makes our world go round. Without lies, marriages would crumble, workers would be fired, egos would be shattered, governments would collapse.
And yet...maybe there's something to it. Especially for me...
When I get home, I keep the momentum going. I call a friend to say that I fantasize about his wife. (He says he likes my wife, too, and suggests a key party.)
I inform our twenty-seven-year-old nanny that "if my wife left me, I would ask you out on a date, because I think you are stunning."
She laughs. Nervously.
After all, there's nothing radical about being honest only when it's convenient.
Jon Stewart to SpaceX founder Elon Musk: You have invented a rocket, and a spaceship on the rocket, and you've launched this into orbit already, and brought it back. The four entities that have done that are: the United States, China, the Soviet Union, and Elon Musk.
Peter Forbes to physicist David Deutsch: To read him is to experience the thrill of the highest level of discourse available on this planet and to understand it.
Cicero to historian Thucydides: He so concentrates his copious material that he almost matches the number of his words with the number of his thoughts. In his words, further, he is so apposite and compressed that you do not know whether his matter is being illuminated by his diction or his words by his thoughts.
Then the other day my husband and I went to the bagel place down the street and he randomly told a guy in a Pink Floyd t-shirt "great shirt" with a genuine smile to which the guy responded "thanks, I like it too". This really surprised me because my husband isn't extroverted at all and especially not before a cup of coffee. In fact, I don't think I'd ever seen him randomly strike up a conversation with a stranger. Its something I'm more likely to do. And then 10 minutes later as we sat outside this strange came out carrying our order and said with a jolly laugh, "where's my tip?" before heading to his car.
Something happened there, they connected and it felt nice. And I was just the observer.
We sat and talked about the interaction a bit, because we are in the suburbs before and pondering whether it was due to the fact that people in the city half expect you to be crazy but maybe our new town was different. If feel like I am still detoxing from living in SOMA for 2 years, but it reminded me just to be more friendly and open to people.
So maybe the best compliment is just one that is simple, well meant, and not overly personal or threatening. It sure felt good in that interaction, not at all like the shallow "nice shirt" exchanges amount women in Barneys or the creepy "nice shirt" exchanges with men walking by me on my way home from work.
E.g. When I am commuting to NYC, if I observe someone wearing a nice shoes/tie/outfit or anything else which catches my fancy, I go and compliment them. Each and every time, it has brought smile to the person's face. Sometimes we often strike up a conversation and walk out from the station together and go on our own way. I am not saying that you should force yourself to compliment but if you notice something nice/interesting, it is definitely a great idea to let the other person know.
Complement someone when you're introduced, or meet for some purpose. Complementing people you pass on the street seems pointless.
However, the exact same compliment delivered out of a motivation simply to put a smile on someone's face can go a lot further. I used to wear quite quirky clothing and getting a compliment on my wardrobe choice would make my day. When I give someone a compliment, that's what I'm trying to achieve - I'm not trying to make myself feel good, or get in their pants, I just want to pass on some of the good will and good feeling that has come my way in life.
Little interactions that bring a bit of extra sunshine into the days of both people involved are a wonderful thing.
If I look friendly and safe (i.e., playing w/ my 3-year-old on a NYC street) strangers talk to me, and it's pretty clear they aren't after anything.
So from the POV of the complimenter -- agreed, some people will be suspicious, and that's fine. Give your compliment, and keep walking so they know quickly that's all you were doing, and maybe they'll be a little less fearful next time.
I realized later on that life's too short for that kind of negativity. Most people simply aren't being sarcastic, they are genuinely trying to be nice.
Rather than contrived, it seemed to me that the author pushed himself to find something that he genuinely liked. Sure he gave compliments that he wouldn't have given before, and that's artificial. On the other hand, his natural tendency to compliment certainly increased over the course of the venture, so I think that artificiality served a fine purpose.
I think the effort the author put in probably took him from hour 5 to hour 15 on his road to 10,000 compliment-hours and mastery. Fear of failure is the surest way to stifle success.
It's rare for me to feel challenged by such a light fluffy piece. I'm not sure I could do what he did.
Given the multitude of ways a compliment may be taken, I tend to only give them to people I know. And even then with great care.
For example, how often do you compliment women on their appearance? Outside of my family (wife, mom, sister), I never do.
I should note that I have no problem complimenting someone on a job well done (either work or in the community). But basically never on something one can observe by simply observing their appearance.
And I guess for myself personally, I've never received a compliment from a stranger that I've valued.
That's in contrast to me approving or evaluating something, which implies I'm somebody with standing to judge them. It's in contrast to broad generalities. And it's definitely in contrast to commenting on inborn characteristics.
So for example, people are fine with: "I love how cute those shoes are with that outfit." It's appreciation (I love), specific (cute, shoes), it's about a choice they made (buying the shoes, matching with the outfit). The opposite end of the scale is "You're hot," which places me as a judge, is about me getting horny, is general, and is likely to be mostly about the body they were born with.
It's empty. It's just a "look i'm cool and nice I say something nice just to say something nice"
I dislike when I hear those. On mean days, I'd often go "oh, thanks! so what's so good about my shoes compared to yours?"
And the person has no clue. They usually don't even come up with a lie, like "I like the shade/tint" or "the logos are awesome" or what not.
Because, again, it was empty and had no meaning. Generally, they did not like the shoes. They just "wanted to be nice". Happened that the shoes/umbrella/whatever weren't 100% usual, but they did not find anything they liked. Oh so wrong.
In most cases it's also easy to point out. People smart enough to do that properly are rare. (and usually manipulative :)
There are people who get anxious if a stranger says something to them out of the blue.
For example, if it's in line at a grocery store, I'd make a joke about the trash tabloids that are set up as an impulse buy. It's a safe way to start a convo, and a lot more natural sounding.