My favorite compliment

What is your favorite compliment, or which of all your features do you wish people would recognize?

A couple of mornings ago a lab mate spontaneously told me that she’s amazed by my always very positive mood and attitude, despite bad results and setbacks in the lab. I am not sure whether it was intended as a compliment or just an honest reflection (I actually don’t even remember whether thanked her or not), but being viewed as positive is a characteristic I highly value.

I later discussed the idea of favorite personal characteristics with Lorena, and it made me curious to know what other people consider as their own most valued characteristics – characteristics that they want other people to notice, appreciate, and like them for. But also which of their characteristics they are not proud of and would not like people to notice – or even characteristics they would like to change.

It is quite difficult to recognize ones own characteristics, the good as well as the bad. Personally (and a bit related to one of my previous post about being proud) I am only proud of such characteristics that I actually have some control over and can affect. For example, although it is flattering to be complimented for genetic characteristics such as being intelligent or good looking, these are features that I don’t have much reason to be proud of; they are merely features I have inherited from my parents. Surely, someone who has lost 30 kg by regular and hard workout in the cross-fit hall has every reason in the world to be proud of that achievement, and may take a positive comment about his/her physical appearance as a huge compliment. But I don’t consider myself fitting into that category.

Instead, I value (or get turned down by) comments that involve behavioral characteristics. I like being recognized as inspiring, honest, helpful and (@an Animal) an honest douche; and I definitely don’t want to be remembered for being judgmental or boring… and maybe worst of all, to be indifferent and thus not being remembered at all! And even if it is being told as an honest compliment, I also don’t want be remembered solely for being attractive or good looking1, especially if it is a person whom I myself care for more than just superficially.

But most of all I do wish to be recognized as a positive guy with a contagiously good mood that spills over onto my friends. Perhaps because I personally cannot stand people who are negative and constantly complain; I simply don’t want to have such people around me, and therefore I don’t want to be that person myself.

I am not sure how well I succeed with this goal, and how many of my friends that would actually sign up on me being positive, but the times I do hear it, it is definitely my favorite compliment.

1. A completely non-empirical idea, but I reckon this may be a problem for many very attractive people, especially women: they get lots of attention and are recognized for their beauty, but much less often for their personalities.

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