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It's National Compliment Day, Let's Remember How to Compliment Each Other

It's day two (or day five, depending on how you're keeping track) of the new administration, and apparently the transition hasn't gone too smoothly.

I'm tempted to say something less than complimentary, but I will refrain because today is #NationalComplimentDay!

Maybe we need National Compliment Day this year more than ever before? It's been a very negative time, and it only seems to be getting more divisive (and derisive) by the day lately. It's easy to let sarcasm take over our social media feed, but we can do better -- at least for the next few hours. (Can't we?)

Do you know that National Compliment Day has been a compliment to our annual calendar since 1998? The day was founded by Kathy Chamberlin of Hopkinton, New Hampshire and Debby Hoffman of Concord, New Hampshire, who wanted to hear a kind word. And who doesn't like to hear a kind word? According to, here is how we should ideally celebrate today:

To give a great compliment, first be sincere. People have a way of knowing when we are fake. If you don’t mean it, it’s worse than getting a thoughtless birthday gift.

Complimenting character versus a new haircut are different rewards.
The first says you respect the person and the other tells them you paid attention. Sometimes the receiver needs to hear one or the other, or both.

Human beings like to be unique, original. Strive to compliment what makes a person stand out above the rest. Take the time to reflect on what you admire about the person.

These are all fantastic tips, but how can we compliment a work colleague without sounding like a total suck up? Luckily, we've covered that topic on this blog already, but here are some other quick compliment ideas in 30 seconds or less!

The only thing I would add is to take the time today to say something nice on social media (if you use social media). For every sarcastic, flippant tweet, write one that says something nice and complimentary. I think we can do this if we try?

I think the main thing to remember when complimenting a colleague is to make sure it's genuine. Say it because you really mean it! Also, make sure it's not a back-handed compliment, which is the worst kind of compliment. Don't say: "Hey, Bob! Great job on the project! You sure did better than you usually do."

Yikes! Instead, say something like: "Hey, Bob! Great job on the project!" without any comparisons to past performance. If you want to go the extra mile, you might throw in one, specific part of the project that Bob particularly rocked -- e.g., "Your PowerPoint graphs were great!"

Can we compliment ourselves on National Compliment Day? Hmm. I think the point here is to look outward instead of inward. Ultimately, offering a compliment isn't weak; it's a sign of personal strength! Think of it as civility in action. Today, a kind word could be worth a 1,000 pictures. And remember: if you can't say anything nice, then don't say anything at all. Unless it's on Twitter.


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