Do you think my hair is soft and shiny?" Zarine asked Kumar one moonlit evening.

Kumar answered, "Yep."

"And are my eyes bright and beautiful?" she continued.

"Yep," he replied.

After a few minutes Zarine forged ahead, "Kumar, do you think my skin is smooth and clear?"


At this, Zarine smiled brightly and declared, "Oh, Kumar, you say the sweetest things!"

Lucky for Kumar, even with his monosyllable answers he got away!         

But I remember one particular friend of many years back. It was our school reunion and a rather fat woman entered the room, “It’s Padma!” shouted all of us.

“Padma,” I said, “we really miss you, we miss the applause you gave us every day that was so refreshing!”

A friend of mine who hadn’t studied with me but had come along for the reunion asked me afterwards, “That girl had no looks, nothing spectacular about her, but you all were so happy to see her?”

“Yes,” I told him, “Padma, would compliment us for something or other which helped make our day. Some days it was a new style we as shy young boys experimented with our hair, or a new school bag we’d got, but it was wonderful to hear her compliments. It was applause that refreshed us in some dreary, dull schooldays!”

No relationship can be built on flattery, but sincere compliments smooth over many rough edges. A thoughtful compliment is a way of saying, "I care enough to notice." Even relationships that are not romantic in nature will benefit from well-placed compliments.

Granted, some people feel suspicious, embarrassed, or defensive when complimented. They sometimes suspect that fine words might be part of a manipulative design. And quite often, people respond to compliments with mixed emotions rather than plain gratitude, primarily because they find the sincerity behind them suspect.

But most often, sincere encouragement can bolster self-confidence and cement friendships. In love relationships, thoughtful compliments can help keep the fires of romance burning vigorously.

One counselor says, 'Compliment your family members at least once every day." He cautions against flattery by adding, "It should be sincere. Then point out something new you appreciate about him or her every week. Make sure it is something you have never mentioned before. You'll be surprised at what it does for you."

Sincere compliments cost nothing and can accomplish so much. In any relationship, they are the applause that refreshes. Padma was fat and not very pretty, but we saw beauty in her, through her refreshing applause..!

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