As time has passed I've noticed that I don't meet new people as often as I used to. One of the benefits of making conversation with people you don't know all that well is that you tend to say nice things to each other - like "that's a lovely outfit" or "you have great kids" because you are making connections and being complimentary is a great way to make a positive impact.
With old friends I tend to take a lot of that for granted and it is a rare event to hear someone drop a compliment on me.
So it was a refreshing surprise when a friend's husband mentioned that he thought I had "charisma". I was completely taken aback and very flattered to think that was how I came across to them. It made such an impact that I still think about it several months later. I don't even have a good idea in my head about what "having charisma" means, but it was obviously a lovely thing to say and made me feel quite buoyant afterwards.
It made me think about how important it is to build each other up and give positive feedback on a more regular basis. I quite often think something nice but fail to actually put it into words. The moment passes and it will probably not come again. It's also easy to say "nice dress" or something casual, but to actually look deeper and compliment a character trait is even more meaningful.
I have some lovely friends who have been with me through thick and thin and it's well past time that I told them how important they are to me and to mention some of the qualities that make them special. I have funny friends, caring friends, others that show empathy or who have a quirky outlook on life and I should be telling them how much I enjoy that about them. If one off the cuff compliment can make my day (or month, or maybe even my year at this rate!) then I should be returning the kindness and passing on some love.
It also applies to the things I say to my husband and grown up children. I need to open my mouth and tell them when they say or do something great. Even more importantly, I need to pass on a compliment when things are just normal. My daughter was telling me how she and her husband made a rule about not leaving the house if they have an argument (ie: not running home to mum) and I thought that was a really good thing, but didn't get a chance to say so. I need to grab the opportunity to speak some light into the conversation. I need to tell my long-suffering husband how much I appreciate him and all the little things he does. I need to tell my son what a great job he's doing as a husband and with all the work he's doing around their home.
Perhaps the world would be a nicer place if we all stopped long enough to tell someone how much we appreciate them. I don't want to be so distracted by the day to day busyness of life that speeds along and rushes conversations. We all get a little dry and how refreshing it would be to have a pleasant encounter and an uplifting comment to take with us through the rest of the day.