In the very culturally important 2004 movie "Mean Girls," popular high school student Regina George teaches us an important lesson: Our compliments can be a lot better.
In one scene, Regina stops a girl in the hallway as she's passing by to halfheartedly praise her outfit. The girl perks up and thanks Regina -- but moments after the girl departs, Regina brushes her (and her skirt) off with a disgusted eye roll.
While most of us (hopefully) never have to deal with a Regina George, her compliment method is still worth noting. Genuine praise from someone is always nice to hear, but it's the sincerity behind a compliment that makes it uplifting. And while it is nice to be complimented on your clothing, those kind words only begin to scratch the surface of making someone feel special. If you want to really commend another person, try offering one of the thoughtful comments below. You'll make someone's day -- and your kindness will make your own day happier, too.
"You're a great listener."
In a society full of distractions, being an intent listener is actually a cherished quality. When you tell someone that they're a good listener, you're showing them that you appreciate their presence and their thoughtfulness in your conversations. Being an active listener can also boost your relationships, so by thanking someone for lending their ear, you're also solidifying the friendship.
"You're a really strong person."
Resilience is an important key to happiness -- and remarking on someone's strength shows that you're noticing how emotionally agile they actually are. As well-being expert Brad Waters, LCSW, points out in a Psychology Today blog, that ability to bounce back is one of the greatest human traits. "[R]esilient people are like bamboo in a hurricane -- they bend rather than break," he wrote. "Or, even if they feel like they're broken for a time, there's still a part of them deep inside that knows they won't be broken forever."
"Your work on that project was incredible."
There's nothing more gratifying than hearing that your work -- something that you painstakingly put passion and effort into -- was valued and appreciated. Research shows that productivity increases when we're happy at our jobs, and there's no better (or easier) way to spread cheer throughout the office than by sharing a genuine compliment about the quality of someone's work.
"You inspire me."
Hearing that you're someone's role model is an instant mood booster -- but having admirable people and leaders in your life can also be good for business. As Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, explains, being an inspiring influence can do wonders for our work. "When employees have ethical leaders, they like them better," she wrote in a Psychology Today blog. "Just as importantly, they will behave in more positive ways within the organization. Clearly, it's to everyone's advantage to have supervisors who are positive role models."
"You're a wonderful mother."
Or brother, sister, father, aunt or grandfather. How many times have you been unsure if you're doing what's best for your family? As The Orange Rhino, a HuffPost Parents blogger, confesses, all parents just want to be good enough for their kids: "I want to be a mom who doesn't feel inadequate. Who doesn't look at her friends (and strangers) and say: Wow, they are great moms, why aren't I like them? But instead looks at them and says: Wow, they are great moms and so am I. I am a good mom." Hearing from a third party that you're doing something right when it comes to nurturing your child or other relationships is reassuring -- and probably one of the best compliments you can give.
"You are an amazing friend."
We may be hardwired for friendship, but that doesn't always mean we're the best at it. Research shows there are multiple benefits to creating strong social relationships. By telling someone they're a good friend, you're also telling them that they mean something to you. And who doesn't like to feel accepted?
"You have a beautiful heart."
Anyone can compliment a pretty face, but as the old adage goes, it's what's on the inside that counts. If you want to truly touch someone, compliment their personality, humor, heart or spirit. That's who they are at their core -- and that's way better than hearing that you're wearing a nice skirt.
What are some of your favorite, genuine compliments? Share them with us in the comments!
This GPS Guide is part of a series of posts designed to bring you back to balance when you're feeling off course.
GPS Guides are our way of showing you what has relieved others' stress in the hopes that you will be able to identify solutions that work for you. We all have de-stressing "secret weapons" that we pull out in times of tension or anxiety, whether they be photos that relax us or make us smile, songs that bring us back to our heart, quotes or poems that create a feeling of harmony or meditative exercises that help us find a sense of silence and calm. We encourage you to visit our other GPS Guides here, and share with us your own personal tips for finding peace, balance and tranquility.