Today a stranger challenged me to compliment every person I happened to talk to. It started off with a casual “thank you. Your idea is amazing” but my day soon transitioned into the absolutely unexpected.
I began by complimenting people on shallow things, such as their seemingly new shoes or their very large designer handbag, noticing the smile that grew on strangers’ faces and the pride in their stride as we parted ways. It felt nice to make people feel good about themselves.
I was casually walking through a parking lot when I spotted a homeless man that needed my full bottle of water more than I did. As I handed him the water, I told him that I loved his Lakers jersey and he told me that he loved my generosity. I noticed in that moment that I had been giving compliments on peoples exteriors all day, and while that made them, and myself, feel good, I wasn’t complimenting people on their choice of actions; things that they control that make them who they are, things that make them exceptional. So as my day went on I complimented people on their kindness, their aspirations, their lifestyle choices, their ideas, etc. The smiles were twice as large and that stride in their pride looked like some kind of happy dance. I was making friends with complete strangers, the woman at the checkout line at the grocery store, the mailman who dropped off a package, the nice man who always walks his dog outside of my house at 3:15pm every day, people I would have never taken the time to consider.
One woman at my dry cleaner asked me why I was so kind and although I wanted to tell her something along the lines of “I am always this nice”, I told her about the task given to me that morning. She said it was an amazing idea and said she would give it a try and update me on how it goes next time I happen to run into her.
Now I don’t know if she really gave it a full effort and that’s not what matters. What matters is that I planted the seed inside that woman’s head and inspired her to try something new, something that would benefit other people and not just herself.
So now I challenge you, blog-reader or whoever you may be, to try something new. Go out and give everyone a high-five or strike up a conversation with that guy in the coffee shop that you see sitting alone every morning. Go out and put a smile on someone else’s face. But don’t do it because I told you to, do it because “strangers are just family you have yet to meet”.