We could all use a little more kindness in our days (especially these days). If you’re familiar with the concept of random acts of kindness, consider speaking random words of kindness. A new study shows that the effects of building each other up with kind words, affirmations, and compliments is better received than we often think.
Published in last months edition of the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, people are often worried to compliment a stranger because they are worried that the compliment will be misinterpreted. Reasons cited for people holding back on giving kind complimentary words to a stranger include worrying that the other person will feel uncomfortable or feel that the compliment will be taken incorrectly or offensively.
It seems that even after a compliment is given, sometimes the person speaking up still feels that they maybe shouldn’t have done so after the fact. Despite these feelings, people who want to give a compliment always report feeling better that they did so.
The takeaway is that we should let our guards down more often and take the chance to lift someone up and compliment them despite our misgivings—it will make both parties feel brighter!
Boothby, Erica J, and Vanessa K Bohns. “Why a Simple Act of Kindness Is Not as Simple as It Seems: Underestimating the Positive Impact of Our Compliments on Others.” Personality & Psychology Bulletin, 28 Aug. 2020, doi:https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167220949003.