Office Palava (Episode 1) – WHAT REALLY IS A COMPLIMENT?

Everyday, people meet and interact. Whether it is for a brief moment, or for long hours, people are often left with impressions. Now, it is up to the participants of such meet ups to ensure that the impression is positive. And one way to do that is to give compliments.

Compliments are as old as man. It is a social grooming tool that borders on human psychology. The idea, in itself, may sound manipulative, but sometimes, it is not. People say that the easiest way to get something out of another person is to make them feel good.

On another hand, giving compliments comes to some people naturally. For them, it is an expression of how they feel about a thing. It has nothing, whatsoever, to do with the receiver. Just give compliments because it portrays hoe you feel.

Well, we got talking about this topic this past week in the office. And you should have seen us! No, we didn’t tear ourselves up. We just talked. Like normal human beings. Trust me!

In this episode the argument is about how what a compliment really is and how it should be done. Here is what went down:

Office Palava (Episode 1)

Narrator: It was another work day. A very regular work day. Another pep talk from the boss. Another group meeting. Then, this!

Boss: Hey Amina, I like your outfit.

Amina: Excuse me!

Boss: It is just a compliment.

Narrator: What really is a compliment?

Woman 1: See, sometimes when you say “thank you”, it is out of “politeness”, not because you know you don’t know it’s not a compliment. But it just smoothens out things situationally.

Woman 2: But that wasn’t a compliment. For him to say “I like your outfit”, that’s is a statement of fact.

Woman 1: If someone tells me “I like your outfit”, I would say thank you.

Man 1: I feel like it is actually a compliment and it deserves a proper response like “thank you”.

Woman 2: When you go ahead and you tell me, “Oh, ehrm, your outfit looks nice, or your outfit looks good today. Yes, that’s a compliment, and I can say “thank you”.

Woman 1: Yes, it might be seen as a Nigerian way because everybody will say ah for something to be a compliment, you have to add an adjective and stuffs like that. But I think, maybe even if you don’t like the comment or you don’t like the person it is coming from, you should at least say thank you. You know, to smoothen things.

Woman 2: When I hear you say, “Your brown eyes are beautiful”, now I have a reason to blush. And if I do tell you thank you, it will be coming from my heart. So yes, Amina shouldn’t have said thank you. Anybody who says she should have is one of the Nigerians that are causing problems in this country. If he was aiming for a compliment, I think he should do it right. He should learn how to say it right.

Amina: It doesn’t make any sense to me. So I found it offensive, kind of, because he is trying to imply that other days I dress shabby to work, and then, today I took my time to dress.

Man 1: Because he does not say “I like your dress” everyday does not mean that he hates your dress every day. It does not mean that you don’t dress well every day.

Amina: Do I? I don’t have to say thank you because I don’t think it is a compliment. A compliment is when you say, “you are beautiful”, or “your outfit is beautiful”. He didn’t say that. He said he likes it. That’s just a fact. I don’t think I’m supposed to react and say thank you.

Woman 2: When people state facts, they remain facts. One way I would react to it is say “okay” because you have stated something I already know.

Man 1: So I feel it was rude. What she did actually was rude to the boss. I think Amina should apologize.

Amina: Well, if me being myself will make me lose my job, then I probably don’t belong here anyways. So, yeah.

There you have it! What really is a compliment? This is the first of many episodes. As we discuss issues here in our office, we will share them with you. Join the conversation @everyevery_ng