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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Compliments and Assertiveness

Giving someone a compliment is an assertive act. When you say something positive to someone else , you are taking a risk by asserting your opinion. You may be met with any number of responses.
  • The recipient of your compliment may blow you off.
You say: "I love the way you wrote that letter."
Response: "Oh, anybody would have said the same thing."
  • The recipient of your compliment may react negatively
You say: "That briefcase really makes you look like the professional you are."
Response: "My stepfather gave it to me so I feel like I HAVE to carry it around."
  • The recipient of your compliment may react in an unexpected way
You say: "I was so impressed with the stand you took in that planning meeting."
Response: The recipient bursts into tears, "Yes, but did you see how Mr. X looked at me - I know I'm going to get called on the carpet."

So as you can see, it is an assertive act to give a compliment because although nothing is required of the other person in the way of a response, there are many ways in which someone can respond.

On your part, work on the assertive challenge of receiving compliments well. An assertive way to receive a compliment is simply to say, "Thank you." Fight any effort to throw away the compliment, negate the compliment or react in any other way than a simple thank you.

If you can achieve this, you will have taken a step in the direction of good assertiveness!

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