Complimenting People

I can’t compliment other human beings.

Actually, that’s not really true.

It’s not that I CAN’T, it’s that I WON’T.

Let me clear that up.

The reason I won’t compliment people isn’t because I have some kind of righteous plan to eliminate kindness and deter people from establishing meaningful connections with one another – I’m not a serial killer – it’s merely because I’m awkward and think too much about what I’m saying and how people will perceive it.

It’s a simple case of “I think, therefore I stand there awkwardly not saying anything while you have made some major changes in your life that I should’ve commented on by now but won’t because it’s awkward if you think I’m coming on to you. Also, so much time has passed that now you think I’m just saying something out of some rationale that it’s appropriate to say something and don’t actually mean it.”

That thought happens INSIDE MY HEAD pretty much daily.

Co-Worker: “Hey did you see Sally’s new haircut”

Me: “Yeah, it’s actually very nice. I think it looks really good.”

Co-Worker: “That would make her REALLY HAPPY! You should tell her that, it would make her day!”

Me: “I don’t really know her that well and I already saw her like 3 times today and didn’t say anything.”

Co-Worker: “TRUST me, she will be happy you said something.”

This is where Sally swings by our cluster of mini-cubicles I decided to give the nickname of “why are these walls so low? do they expect me to do work here?”

Co-Worker (to Sally): “Rob thinks your hair looks great. Right, Rob?”


I stand there frozen by fear and I start to rattle off in my head the possible thoughts she may be having as I stare at her like a child does the first time they see a dog humping a piano bench they just threw their coat on.

A few seconds pass by and now we are WAY past awkward and have entered a town I like to call “Creep-Asshole-A-Ville” and it has a population of 3 people, which is me, the person I can’t compliment and the worker at a frozen yogurt/hot wing joint called Icy Hot, yeah like the goddamn pain relief gel that Shaq promotes, it’s cute and clever and if you don’t like it you can move right the fuck out of “Creep-Asshole-A-Ville”.

So I force myself to smile – never a good idea – and nod my head like I’m being instructed on how to do the Heimlich maneuver on a child, no one needs to actually pay attention to that.

Then FINALLY I say something that doesn’t help anyone.

Me: “Yeah, it’s nice. It really slims down your face.”

Go back and re-read that sentence and then do that two more times.

Now read it again but this time picture yourself drowning and then someone hands you a lifesaver, of course the translucent one that tastes like saw dust, because they think they are funny and then you die.

I mean I know why I have a problem complimenting people and it’s pretty simple, I just think too much about ramifications if things are taken out of context.

But as of now the population of “Creep-Asshole-A-Ville” is down to two and don’t worry, Icy Hot, I’m on my way over now to sit at the lonely stool that will hopefully have the one next to it filled one day.



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