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By nature, human beings are self-centered — thinking about ourselves was crucial to survival for thousands of years.
Since we evolve slowly, we are still fairly self-centered. Even when we try to compliment, our gratitude is about us instead of the other person.
Let's say you attend a beautiful holiday party at your friend Michelle's home. Here are two compliments: Which do you think is better?
1. 'Self-Centered' Compliment
"Thanks for having me tonight. I had a nice time."
Assessment: This isn't a rude thing to say, but is kind of "blah." Ultimately it's about what we felt. "I" had a good time.
Tip: The word "I" often precedes a self-focused compliment. And, it's usually not a very effective compliment.
2. 'Other-Centered' Compliment
"Your holiday party was outstanding. Your decorations were beautiful, and made the house seem so festive and warm. The food was so well thought out. Everyone was talking about the meal, drinks and appetizers. You have a future business in dinner parties if you'd like that!"
Assessment: This type of compliment highlights what the person did that was outstanding — and is all about them.
This focuses on the host and about the wonderful things he or she did, instead of what the event did for us.
The "other-centered" compliment will win fans every time.
Instead of thinking about yourself, think about everything your host thoughtfully did to make it a beautiful night — and tell her that.
She will probably feel so lifted that you'll be first on her invite list for next year's holiday party.