According to my holiday app, today is “World Compliment Day.” As I was running errands, I picked up my mail to find the March/April issue of Psychology Today in my box. Among the many articles and features is “The Power of a Kind Word: Giving an unsolicited compliment is more rewarding than you might think.” Perfect Timing!
The article was based on five studies published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. As someone who relishes talking to strangers, I was surprised to find that folks in the study had varying degrees of anxiety about offering a compliment as they weren’t sure how it would be received. Those who were complimented, as one might imagine, reported being flattered, happy, and pleased that a stranger offered a kind word. Moreover, those offering a nice remark, when surveyed after the interaction, indicated a boost in their own sense of well-being. Makes sense to me. It’s hard, during the pandemic, with people social distancing and masked up, but it’s still worth trying to offer nice words. And it really is better to give, than to receive.