In my last article I talked about the importance of spreading some love on Valentine's Day if you were single. Instead of moping around all day, I suggested that you do things like give compliments, tip big at restaurants, and otherwise spread joy however you could. So, I decided to do a little mingle experiment/challenge to do a few of these things myself and see how it went.
The goal was to give as many compliments to female strangers as possible in one day. The compliments had to be sincere and could not be used as part of some agenda to get a date, phone number, etc. The women could be old, young, tall, short, whatever. I didn't have time to take ALL day on this project, but I wanted to get in as many as I could. The intention was just to spread a little Valentine's Day positive energy.
How it went
I started out the day going out for breakfast to one of my favorite local spots. I immediately saw two older ladies decked out in bright red outfits. I told them that I liked their Valentine's Day red. They seemed a little shocked at first but appreciated it. I think they wanted to adopt me. I was off and running...
After breakfast I went through a typical, lazy Saturday. I went to Wal-Mart, Target, Starbucks, the mall, a restaurant for lunch, and the gym (with at least one compliment given in each place). All in all I got in a total of 22 compliments to complete strangers. Click here to see a detailed list of the compliments that I gave and where I gave them.
What I learned
By the end of my experiment, I learned a few lessons. The biggest thing I observed was that people generally love to be complimented, especially if it is sincere and without some hidden agenda. I almost always got a smile and a thank you. I also discovered that sometimes you have to REALLY pay attention to people to find something to compliment on. I am usually pretty observant, but even I had to raise my awareness up a notch to pull this off and reach as many people as possible.
Let me give a little warning: be careful going up to strangers and giving compliments out of the blue, unless they have something really out of the ordinary going on (like the beautiful woman in bright pink hair that I didn't get to, unfortunately). I have to admit that one or two of my compliments weren't so smooth. It is probably better to try to find a way to break the ice first. Even if it is a simple "how are you," anything is usually a better starting point than having your compliment be the first thing you say. Once you have given your compliment, feel free to either move on or continue the conversation. No big deal either way.
So let's not wait until Valentine's Day to start spreading the love. Get in the habit of noticing things you like about people, and don't be afraid to throw out a sincere compliment every now and then. Most people will be glad you did.
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