Over on the Chameleons’ forum, one of our members, Steph, posted a happy incident in which she’d complimented a stranger and had a very positive reaction. I think paying someone a sincere compliment is both great and yet, sometimes tricky.

I think it’s tricky because well, there’s A) a chance that you’ll get it wrong and offend, and/or B) that the person may not take the compliment. In terms of the latter, there’s the whole gig around what are they after?, are they hitting on me?, to I’m not used to strangers saying this!

That last one – people saying nice things – is something I struggle with. With family, well, most of the time it’s good-natured teasing, so compliments are rarely directed when you’re a dad. Not that I mind and it’s not why we had kids. Children are, if you’ll forgive a brief diversion, both the most challenging and at the same time rewarding thing you may ever do. Both kids know how to drive me up the wall, but equally, I wouldn’t be without them; they really are an adventure. Mind you, maybe I’m saying that because they’re out of the baby stage and not yet in full teenage rampage. Ask me again in a few years 😀

Where was I? Oh yeah, I guess there’s a blurred line between saying thank you and a compliment. Take Little Miss or Wee Man doing something kind for someone or helping out, I’ll say something like That was really good of you do to that. Thank you! Equally, the Ever Lovely Mrs J gets nice things said because, well, she’s ever lovely. Not that any compliment isn’t earned, if that makes sense.

So when folk do say something nice about me – how they like my shirt – or someone at Chams, I try not to shrug it off and say thank you instead. The shrugging off isn’t that I don’t appreciate nice words, it’s that I’m struggling to accept them. Me not them, so to speak… but I do try!

As to saying nice things to others, while I’m not sure if it’s right, I usually say something like “may I say your blah looks great/fantastic/brilliant” where blah is makeup, outfit, nails, shirt, etc. It’s fairly generic, but it’s legitimate and doesn’t have that personal touch – unlike what the kids get – where there’s some feedback linked to it.

So, yeah, I might say “May I say your new dress looks great“, but I won’t say “Your new dress looks great and makes you look slim.” I guess I’m worried that someone may read something too personal into the latter and I only say such things to people I really know.

Has it worked?

So in general just saying something nice has pretty much always gone well. A few years back I was out with my family shopping in Boots. The lady who served me had the most beautiful nails. Classy, well painted, with a length and shape that suited her. I said, “I hope you don’t mind me saying, but your mails look amazing.” She said thanks, I paid and took the goods, with nothing more of it.

Heading back to Mrs J, she asked: “What did you say to the assistant? She’s grinning like she’s just won a prize.” I took a quick peek over my shoulder and indeed Mrs J was spot on: said assistant looked most chuffed. I hope she enjoyed those words all day.

Likewise, if a colleague I like is sporting a fancy hairdo or is rocking a new shirt, I’ll mention it politely. Just a question if it’s recent and conversation rolls on from there. Not that I go around commenting on what people wear that would be rude. I have this blog to do that 😉 I am surprised on how people will happily talk about their new top or suchlike. Maybe it’s people taking an interest, but you may feel differently.

Last week

Due to being away there was no time to post a snap from last week. Now we’re back at home, there’s a chance to show Val’s photographic handiwork. Oh, to which I’m always grateful for, even if Muggins here isn’t always the best subject 😀

In the spirit of trying something new, I’m giving my re-cut wig (thanks Steph!) another run. It does take me a while to get used to new things, but I think I’m getting there.

Take care,


  1. In a restaurant last weekend a woman complimented my new skirt. I smiled and said thank you. Later we bumped into each other again, and she said she'd recently come out as gay, and it made her super happy to see LGBT people being confident out in public. I thanked her again and said I loved what she'd done with her hair (it was very artfully styled). She returned the happy smile 🙂

  2. Compliments are always nice 🙂 . I get quite a lot – especially about my various coats – and manage to say thank you without much trouble.

    Giving other people compliments, on the other hand, can be tricky in the sense of… how to give them so that the recipients don't just think you're hitting on them. My usual technique is to give them as a walking away remark so it's obvious that I'm not after anything. Not sure whether that always works though.

    1. From what photos I've seen of you, you do seem to have a fantastic array of fine coats. Not far to cooler weather and a chance to sport them! 🙂

      Yes, I'm with you on the leaving remark, so there's less chance of that awkward silence as some type of threat assessment goes on. 😀

  3. Re your comments about having children, they remind me of something funny I once read someone say about his own – that although there were times he longed to leave them out on his front lawn with a sign saying, "Free to a good home", they really did mean the world to him!

    Re compliments, they are indeed nice to receive, though only if they're genuine of course! One time when that wasn't the case for me was when I got on the bus one day and had the driver say something rather nice to me. It really made my day… until I heard him then proceed to say exactly the same thing to every other passenger who got on after me! That caused my mood to deflate rather quickly!

    Another thing about compliments I've found is that you shouldn't give them too often or else they end up becoming meaningless. A funny example of this sort of thing I recall was this frequent (and exceedingly strange) commenter on a site I used to visit all the time called, which was basically a news website for all things related to hard rock and heavy metal. The commenter in question was a guy who went by the name RiotAct666 who was so effusive with his compliments it ended up becoming thoroughly ridiculous. No matter what band was being discussed, he had to chip in with a comment about how said band was the bestest, most awesomest band he'd ever listened to, and how he just loved, loved, LOVED their latest album or whatever. No doubt he meant well, but you can probably guess how phony all the nice things he had to say ended up sounding! Weirdly enough (and no doubt as a result of being told by countless other commenters how full of crap he sounded), he ended up doing a complete 180, and becoming relentlessly negative instead. Suddenly every band in his opinion was the worst Hot Topic poser band that had ever existed, and their latest album deserved to be flushed down the nastiest, most disgusting toilet in Hell (that was actually what he used to say!). What a peculiar character. Lots of people used to wonder if he was actually for real or just some bizarre parody instead!

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