My friend, Lorri, wanted to set me up on a blind date with her boyfriend’s friend, Scott. But Scott and I wanted a “preview” before we agreed to an official date. So on a sunny day in the fall of 1984, Scott and I “accidentally” ran into each other outside of a dorm on the campus of Texas A&M. After a brief introduction, Scott looked down and said, “You have really small, cute feet.” And that one sincere and unusual compliment began our 33 year (and counting) relationship and marriage! A compliment is defined as a polite expression of praise or admiration. In a 2012 study, scientists found proof that people perform better when given a social reward after completing an exercise. Professor Norihiro Sadato explained, “To the brain, receiving a compliment is as much a social reward as being rewarded cash.” What? Is that why we “pay” compliments? Look, deep down inside, we ALL love the gold star, the pat-on-the-back, the “way to go” at the end of a task or performance. So why don’t we give compliments more often? Why don’t we take the time to praise, admire, or appreciate others? I honestly think we don’t give more compliments because we just don’t think about the value of such statements. Technology has moved us away from strong face-to-face connections with emails, texts, and social media. The goal seems to be to communicate in as few letters or words as possible. As we have thinned out our communication messages, I think that we cut compliments because we think that they don’t really matter. We feel constructive criticism is necessary to help better a situation, but compliments definitely produce more bang-for-the-buck because both the giver and receiver benefit. Sincere compliments build trust, encourage creativity, produce positivity, and strengthen relationships - for both participants. And best of all -- compliments are free! But strive to make compliments genuine, sincere, and focused on the important stuff, not just appearance. A few years ago, I (with a group of dedicated teacher-friends) worked out at a gym full of serious (and much stronger) athletes. The “old ladies” (as we called ourselves) worked at our own pace surrounded by younger, more fit “teens” (as we called the others). As teachers, we know the value of a compliment as motivation, so as we worked out, we complimented each other often, and over time, we found our areas of “expertise”! We crowned Melanie the best runner, Christi the best tire-flipper, Melinda the best long jumper, and I became the best … planker! I can totally plank - for a really long time! You may laugh at our titles, but complimenting each other really helped us to work harder and feel good about it. etc Strategies believes that giving compliments is an important part of communicating, both professionally and personally. Work to find a way to express praise or admiration to others. Make it a daily habit to compliment someone for a job well done. And you are welcome to use Scott’s compliment about my feet (if it fits!). It certainly worked for both of us!