No. 1050



One day I asked a friend how he was doing and he said, “I am as fine as a frog-hair split four ways.” Now, that is fine. For the past few days I have been racking my brain trying to come up with a way to talk about a subject that, at some time or another, affects each of our lives.
The subject I want to talk about is flattery. Flattery means excessive or insincere praise. Contrast this with the word compliment, which is in the same family but with a softer and gentler choice of words. The key word here is insincere, and there is a fine line between a compliment, which we all love, and someone who is just trying to flatter us. While we all like to be flattered, most of us are not dumb and can see right through it.
It is just human nature to want other people to say nice things about us. “You look sharp today, better than I have ever seen you” and, “I could never make it without you” are two examples. Again, a lot depends on who is giving the compliment and what their motives are for giving it. This comes under the topic we call “human relations,” and to be able to practice good human relations on a consistent basis is very important if we are to achieve success in this old world. The basis for good human relations is “respect,” as we must have that for another person if we are to have the kind of relationship that is both satisfying and enduring.
If you are a sensitive person and do your best to practice good human relations, you know how important the topic of flattery is, although it is not discussed openly in many circles. Again, the key is to be sincere in what we say to others and not use excessive praise, glowing words or terms to manipulate others to get what we want. What this actually shows is that we have so little respect for them.
To be sure, imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. I personally know this is true, as I adore my new wife Janis and frequently find myself repeating some of the sayings she uses on a regular basis. A couple that come to mind that she uses quite often, are “Oh, my goodness” and “Well, good deal.” Of course you realize that the relationship we have with our spouses is different from all others. Because they love us, they will forgive us and give us another chance when we mess up or fall short. However, it is an entirely different matter when it comes to others who are out there in the world. Their standards, in most cases, are different because our relationship with them is different. The world can be very harsh, especially from those who do not have the spiritual value of forgiveness embedded in their heart and soul.
By the way, after Janis read my earlier comment, she said she was flattered. One of the many things I love about her is her sense of humor. Since imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, we should always be careful how we act and talk around our children. It has been said that children are natural mimics … they always act like their parents in spite of every effort to teach them good manners. There is a positive side of this, but there is also a down side. It always saddens me when I hear about parents who are hooked on drugs, commit crimes and wind up in prison, because of the example they are setting for their children.
There is certainly a lesson here for those of us who care what others think and have respect for other people, simply because they are another human being. We should enjoy and have fun in what we are doing around those we influence, and be sincere when we compliment others and not try to flatter them purely to get what we want, especially if it is not in their best interest.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: THE DEAL OF THE CENTURY – Begin your day on a positive note – 365 days for $12. This will benefit the Bookcase for Every Child project. Go to to subscribe.)