“Wait, hold up a second, I wanted to tell how impressed I am by you.”
Huh? Wait…what? I’m quite certain no one has ever spoken those words to her. She’s 12 years old.
The look on her face was definitely conveying “tell me more.” So I did. She and a friend had been having some difficulties. Her feelings had been hurt. In the past, she would have defended those feelings with anger and her response would have been a mean one. She would have retaliated to ensure that her friend’s feelings were hurt too, only worse. But this time she didn’t make that choice.
“I’m impressed by the way you handled your hurt feelings during all of this. You didn’t try to hurt her back or retaliate. You maturely told her that she hurt your feelings and that you didn’t like it. You told her that you wanted to be her friend, but not if she was going to treat you like that. You defended yourself in an impressive way. I’ve seen such an amazing change in you and I wanted to be sure you knew that.”
“Really? You see a change in me?”
“Absolutely! I even notice it in the way you dress and the way you walk. You are much more confident being you now and it’s awesome to see.”
Compliments are great, but they hold a great deal more power when backed up with the evidence that you truly mean it. Are you impressed by someone? Tell him or her. Then tell him or her why.