Written By: Morgan Austin
Today I want to tell you a story about something that happened to me recently. I was at school the other day and I was working in the school book store with my friend. The day before we had both seen this video of people complimenting random strangers just to make their day a bit happier. Well, my friend and I decided that we should try that too. At school, kids could use a little more brightness in their day since they are usually tired or stressed from school work. So, my friend and I stood by the opening in the door to the book store so that we could give compliments to people as they passed in the hallway.
We would simply say "Hey, that's a cool shirt, dude" or "I like your hair today". Sometimes we would throw in something like "Stay happy," or "Have a great day" but that was about it. Some people would smile and accept our compliments with a thank you but other people just seemed confused. I mean, I can see why. Random strangers giving other random strangers compliments? That might seem a little strange. But we didn't care because we just wanted to make people feel good. Unfortunatly, our message was not always well recieved. There was a counselor from our school standing in the doorway of the office across from the book store while we were giving out compliments. My friend and I told him that he had a nice shirt and replied with a smile and a thank you to us. Then, the director of that office come out and we told her that she had a nice dress. She replied the same way and then she and the counselor walked across the hall and went down a ways. My friend and I continued to compliment people until the office director came back over to us to tell us that we might not want to compliment people anymore. When we asked why, she said that some people might see our compliments as method of making fun of people.
That was not our intention, so we apologized and asked if there was an alternative way to compliment people that wouldn't make people speculate that we were teasing them. The office director told us that we could tell people to have a nice day so we agreed and began saying that to students that passed by. While I was standing there, telling people to have a nice day, I couldn't help but think, "Since when have compliments been percieved as a negative thing that could be used to bully people?" I had seen movies where the mean girls of the school would say something like "Nice shirt. Where'd you get it- the garbage?" and then burst out into hystarical laughter but my friend and I weren't saying things like that. We were being sincere. I kept thinking, "Maybe we were too smiley so that made it seem like we were joking. Maybe when we laughed, because we felt a little silly for giving random people compliments, a student might have thought that we were actually laughing at them when we were really laughing at each other." I felt bad that people might have thought this way and I wanted to do something.
I wanted to tell them that we were being serious. I wanted to put up a sign so people would know that we weren't saying these things as a way to be sarcastic and mean to one person; we were doing it to just give non-sarcastice compliments to everyone to make them happy. But at that point, I felt that it wouldn't do me much good now. Next time, I want to make a sign. I want to show people that we didn't want to ruin their day and make them feel bad. We wanted their day to brighten and we wanted them to feel appreciated by their fellow peers. Because you are appreciated, just sometimes it might take a little compliment to remind you of that.
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