A few months ago I gave a male date-coaching client of mine a compliment. We were talking about his wardrobe and how I felt he needed to purchase some "date-wear." Although his clothes were clean, he could easily be mistaken for just emerging from the couch after a few hours of video games in his parents' basement. I knew this was definitely not going to help with the ladies.
I said, "You're already a handsome guy, you just need some colour in your wardrobe."
He looked at me in complete shock. His body language became shy and he had this air of disbelief. To me, I was just simply stating the obvious with the handsome comment and was prepared to move on in the conversation but to him, it stopped him in his tracks. After a few seconds of silence, he said:
"No one has ever called me handsome...Thank you"
His sincerity caused me to pause and I said it to him again, "you're handsome!" knowing that it may take weeks or months for him to start believing this truth. I later consulted a few male friends on the topic and this is what one of them shared with me,
"Women have very little idea of the power that they can have over a man who hasn't had many compliments in his life. Certain men in this world have had no one to pay them compliments. We have an international media juggernaut telling us on an hourly basis that only guys who look like Ryan Reynolds or Brad Pitt can get girls and if you don't look anything like these sorts of guys, you have no chance in hell of finding happiness, let alone love. And when we do actually have someone tell us, it's usually our mothers or other family members and we then tell ourselves that any compliment from these women is invalid because they HAVE to say those things.
"Women can help build men into BETTER men, more confident, more self-assured. Women can help change men's lives simply by saying a few words and then believing in us."
We as women exist in a world where compliments are pretty much free-flowing. We like a friend's new winter jacket? We say so. We like our co-worker's new shoes? Again, we say so. For whatever reason, we sometimes skip over men in our lives (romantic or otherwise) and think they may not need to hear a compliment. We say to ourselves, "If we give them a compliment, are we being too nice or are they going to think we are hitting on them?" and so we don't take the risk.
It's true that too many compliments, especially on a man's appearance can make him feel uncomfortable. A quick "that sweater looks good on you!" will do the trick and we only need to say it once. Whereas with women, we can take an infinite supply of compliments before we feel uncomfortable. It's much more common for a woman to say to her friend, "I've had 10 people compliment me on my hat today, I feel great!"
So the next time you are thinking nice thoughts about a guy -- try saying it in your outside voice. I know, sometimes we forget or we think maybe we'll make him feel uncomfortable. Take the risk and let the truth make his day.
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