dreamcatcher in London is doing 43 things including…

give more compliments

16 cheers


dreamcatcher has written 5 entries about this goal


Sometimes I feel like being generous with compliments might put me in a vulnerable position. You know how people who are too gushy are sometimes a bit off-putting? It’s pretty obvious, though, that you’re only as vulnerable as you let yourself be. If you give compliments hoping for something in return, if you invest too much in the giving of compliments, then you might feel rejected if that gesture isn’t returned. But if you give for the joy of giving and don’t invest too much in it emotionally, then I guess that’s pretty terrific for everyone, isn’t it?!

Descriptive praise

I work a lot with kids and have been reading the book How to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk. I can’t recommend it highly enough for people who need to manage children: parents, teachers, etc. Anyway, how does this relate to giving compliments? There is a chapter in the book on praise where the authors state that valuative comments such as “That’s beautiful!” or “You’re such a good girl!” don’t always have the positive effects we hope they will. From what I gather, this is for two interlinking reasons:

  • They’re not specific enough and leave the receiver wondering if you really mean it
  • A valuative comment such as “good girl” can easily be negated by calling a child a “bad girl” the next day.

The authors of the book recommend a style of praise that is descriptive and allows the child to then evaluate and praise him or herself. So, instead of saying, “What a beautiful drawing!” you say, “Ah, I see you drew a house here and a colourful rainbow and look at all those birds flying in the blue sky!” To praise in this way you really have to look at the thing you’re praising instead of just throwing out some generalized response.

I feel more sincere praising my students in this way and it requires me to seek out and notice the special things about them and the things they do.


Recently, an incident happened which confirmed my theory: that my boyfriend feels his parents don’t give him enough credit for his achievements, that they are undemonstrative when it comes to praise. It made me feel sad. I think I’ll encourage him to talk to them about it. They are, generally speaking, affectionate people, and I’m quite sure they’d make it up to him if they knew how he feels.

I’m continuing to give compliments. Most of the time it’s pretty easy to remember as it’s part of my job. I’m a teacher and it’s natural for me to praise my students for their good work. It’s with other people that I would like to be more effusive. Yesterday I complimented three people on what they were wearing but, thinking back, I had other opportunities to compliment people and I didn’t take them. Complimenting people on their outfits isn’t much of a stretch. Maybe I should try and be more creative in my compliments!


Still doing this, I guess, but not consciously enough. It would be nice if I could find a nice compliment to give to each person I meet throughout the day. Of course, sometimes that’s just not possible! But good to try and keep in mind…


This started off as a goal related to my boyfriend but I think it’s a nice thing to do, generally. Regarding my boyfriend, I don’t think his parents praised him and his achievements all that much as he was growing up (perhaps they do it a bit more these days) They expected things of him and, when he achieved them, they didn’t act as if it was a great achievement to be proud of but as if it was simply something to be expected, i.e. anything less wouldn’t have been good enough. This has lead to him having very high expectations of himself, sometimes too high, and to him not giving himself enough credit for all his amazingness-es!

I think I can make him feel better about his achievements by giving him lots of support, praise and compliments. I do this anyway but I want to do it more, and more consciously. And I could do with giving more compliments generally too. I love to receive them and it doesn’t take much, just a few genuine words, to make someone feel good.

dreamcatcher has gotten 16 cheers on this goal.


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