Feedback Part 2: Go Forth and Compliment

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Last week, I wrote about the importance of feedback, and how it can make a huge difference towards improving our relationships. This week (it's still feedback week!) it's all about giving feedback. This is a huge area, so I'm going to break it up into:

  • Awesome feedback
  • Not-quite-so-awesome feedback, and
  • Unsolicited feedback (i.e. When you really, reeeeeeally want to tell someone what you think ...except they haven't asked. Conundrum.)

We'll be dealing with the last two later this week, but today let's start with the good stuff.

Awesome feedback.

We all need it (even the haters) and it's nice to give it. Awesome feedback makes both the giver and the receiver feel, well, awesome.Things that fall under the category of awesome feedback include compliments, gratitude and appreciation.We all know how it feels to be on the end of a genuine compliment... but we also know what it's like to think 'Really? Was that supposed to be praise?'I mean those slightly awkward times when people say things like 'I didn't know who else to ask', 'You're the person I know who's least likely to screw it up', or 'you're [young/old/hip] and know about these things'.While we know they mean well, there's still a part of us that thinks 'Er..?'Yes, sometimes it can be difficult to give compliments that come straight from the heart.Why?Because they're a form of generosity. When we give someone a sincere compliment that is thought-out, personal and detailed, we are being the 'v-word': vulnerable.

Hitting the V-Spot

Vulnerability isn't just about showing our weaknesses, hurt, sadness etc. It's about showing who we really are and what we really feel, including the good stuff.That's what makes compliments so difficult sometimes. It can be kind of scary to say to someone 'I admire you for X' or 'I find your openness about Y really inspiring.', because we're revealing personal details about ourselves and the values we hold in doing so.But a life without appreciation for others kind of sucks.Compliments help other people feel good, increase the plus points in our relationships and help us feel good about ourselves, even though what we're saying is directed at other people.The key difference is between making them statements of fact, and making them statements of feeling.So, instead of saying 'That's a good idea', a more personal, and genuine, version would be: 'I feel excited by what you said because I love the idea of [improving our communication]'.'It was kind of you to pick me up after work' becomes 'When you picked me up after work, I felt very grateful because [I was feeling stressed about my day and it was great to see you and spend some time talking with you]'Don't be afraid to go totally over the top. Make it personal, make it insightful and make it from the heart. Most of all, make it about expressing yourself.Who do you want to compliment this week? Tell everyone about it in the comments below! 

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