“So, um, I like your work.” It feels an awful lot like, “Hey, baby, what’s your sign?” It makes me feel like I’m going on the prowl, and that just seems…strange.
But I decided a long time ago that it doesn’t hurt to sincerely compliment something that I admire. And sometimes something good can even come of it. The key word is “sincere”, though. Now that I’m writing/reading slush for Shock Totem, I can’t tell you how many people are schmoozing me for an in. Which is pretty funny, actually. I can spot a schmoozer a mile away (hello, my old job, remember? I worked with liars for a living!) and even if somebody did manage to sweep me right off of my stilettos, I have zero pull. But knock yourselves out, people; hope and humor are good for the soul.
I read a story last year that was simply amazing. Thoughtful, touching, tinged with sadness and a bit of burning anger. It stayed with me, and I finally emailed the author to say how stunning the story was. She wrote back not long ago saying, “Thank you, and I like your work, too. Especially X, Y,and Z.” It made me happy. Suddenly I’m reminded of two unfamiliar girls in pigtails and knee socks, standing awkwardly together at recess. Do you want to play? I guess so. Okay. Okay.
(This analogy reminds me of my friend Rachel. “I like your skirt.” “I like your dress.” “Let’s be dear friends!” “All right!”)
Twitter was abuzz this morning with this particular post by Jeremiah Tolbert. I’ve never been a Internet flamer, but I sometimes shy away from telling somebody that I enjoy what they said or did. I like his “Hey, use your fandom powers for good!” attitude, but most importantly, this article just made me happy.
So I’m going to be more open about the things that I like, even if it makes me all twitchy. I’m still committed to Doing Things That Scare Me.
I get all tensed up, too. I’m always afraid my compliment will come out all wrong and sound contrived or, worse, utter bullshit.
Did I mention how pretty you look today?
I know! Isn’t it stupid? But as a society, we’ve pretty much been conditioned to be suspicious of compliments. “You’re being nice? What do you want from me?!” And then there’s the creepiness factor, which is where I always fall.
You look nice, Natalie, but I like the pants that you wore yesterday better.
Your story reminds me of how you and I became buds.
Jeremiah Tolbert’s words were right on. Every little bit out there helps towards a more ‘social politeness’ on the internet as opposed to the sarcastic ramblings of the many.
Well said. Schmoozers…sniff.
Say, did I mention how well put together your blog looks today? Spectacular colors! 🙂
Just kidding! But not about the colors… Oh nevermind.
I really like how you have a tendency to touch on subjects we’ve all, (okay, maybe just some of us) have pondered.
When I compliment someone it’s usually just the first step in the collection of their soul.