"There's a new girl in my class," my 13-year-old daughter told me today on our walk. "I told her that I really liked her shoes."
"That was nice of you," I said.
"It didn't quite work out," my daughter explained. "She told me that she didn't really like the shoes at all, that they were really old. Then she said she thought they were ugly."
"But I told her that I liked them because I had on the same exact pair," my daughter said.
"When I looked down at my shoes, the girl looked, too," she went on to explain. "Then she tried to walk it back and say that she thought the shoes looked good on me, just not on her. Because, you know, they're shoes. And then it was a little awkward."
I felt badly for this girl.
I've been in her shoes, the ones she doesn't like. Or maybe she doesn't mind them, but doesn't know what to say.
I've been the person who didn't know how to accept a compliment, the one who felt I had to say something negative and who wasn't overly gracious when people said something nice.
Hearing this story was a way to discuss with my daughter how to respond to a compliment: just smile and say "thank you."
It is a really simple, but those actions are perhaps easier said than done.
It's a tough, for adults as well as kids, and especially for girls. When we adults slam ourselves in response to compliments, we make it even harder for them. This story was a great reminder for myself to just smile and express thanks.
It's taken me a while to get to that point. I've been slowly improving, moving from making really negative comments to making excuses to smiling sheepishly as I shrug and say "It's from Target" or offer a long story about the item before realizing that the person did not ask where said nice item was acquired.
Offering a brief "thank you" in response is not only appropriate, it may also prevent inadvertently offending the compliment giver, who may just have the same pair of shoes.
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Filed under: Parenting