Becky Says...

July 28, 2001

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If I like someone, or admire whatever they produce, I will say so. Probably, since I have this venue, I'll say so in public. But I'm unlikely to join in massive statements of adoration (read: I don't do fan clubs much).

I don't mean that an audience shouldn't applaud, but I do mean there are too many standing ovations these days.

I think this notion goes back to early-life dealings with someone who could exaggerate praise and flattery to a point where a compliment from her meant less than it should have. If she liked the shirt you were wearing, she wouldn't merely say she liked it, or that it looked good on you. She might start out that way, but she wouldn't stop there. A few minutes later, she would repeat the earlier compliment, then add it was the prettiest shirt she had ever seen. And on and on. She really did mean she liked the shirt, but she didn't seem to know when enough was enough.

It's really hard to keep thanking someone when what you really want to do is tell the person to shut up.

On the flip side, however, I'm not much of a fan of false modesty, either. I think the only time it's ever appropriate to add a disclaimer to your reply to a compliment is if you're being complimented for something that isn't yours. Otherwise, just express your appreciation.

Oh---and if you've gotten that compliment from me, trust that I meant it.

Text © copyright 2000-2001 Becky