People don’t like you because you’re superlative. More often than not, that causes the opposite reaction. Efficiency never won friends. It might cause you to be picked sometimes but it’s not liking that drives this choice; it’s need.

I think we all like someone who makes us feel good. Maybe you remind them of someone cherished. Maybe you’re easy to superimpose a dream on. Maybe you look like their favorite fantasy. It’s not about you at all. Most compliments aren’t.

Notice how many people struggle when asked why they like you? You might hear some generic traits that you don’t recognise in yourself.

“You’re nice.” What does that even mean? Most likely, that you seem like you might tolerate misbehaviour. “You’re strong” is often code for take care of me.

At least “You’re pretty” is a pretty straightforward admission of desire and you’ve got respect the honesty of that, even if it feels shallow. But maybe all compliments are, but shallow puddles muddied with other people’s misconceptions. Why then, should we seek ourselves in them?

Compliments are not about your feelings or you, at all. But a compliment may be a barter offer, a plea, a demand. For reciprocal compliments, for protection, for validation, for recognition, for authentication.

Maybe that’s why we blush. Our bodies recognise that we’re being demanded or asked of something and we don’t yet know what or if we want to give it. A compliment is a cocked gun, trained at you.

Thank you. Maybe that’s all it takes to walk away. You don’t have to get lost in someone else’s story. You don’t have to tear it up either.

#IWear: Look themed to @alphabetsambar
#LitLab: Land Lore on the use of place in writing.


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