The chief difference between a friend and a flatterer is this; the flatterer speaks to please, the friend will not leave out even what is disagreeable….At all events any one would rather see his friend angry with him than anyone else flattering him.” -Saint Basil the Great-
Flattery will get you everywhere, except true friendship!?
Have you come across that person in your life who always greets you with compliments? Even when you know you are wearing your glad rags and sporting the worst hair day ever! But despite it all she will stand there and compliment you till she’s blue in the face. Or maybe you are that person? Do you feel as though those compliments will show the other person that you are indeed a good person, a friend? Or are you saving face? Do you plan on gossiping about the flattery later? Or, do you wish to have that person do something for you? Are you manipulating?
The problem is if you are a constant flatterer your words will eventually begin to lose meaning and validity. You might even find people questioning your true purpose. Why? Flattery and manipulation are often one in the same. Flattery is just served up with a smile and cherry on top.
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery
Though true, this statement only harms the person doing the flattering. When we see others in their true bliss, living their true passion, we can’t help but want to have what they have. But the problem is everyone has their own passion that needs to be found. You simply cannot take what another person is passionate about and make it your passion. Just as you cannot assume that because someone looks great with a certain hair color/cut that you will look similar. We each have different facial features, body types, and passions that are what makes us so marvelously unique.
Now, it is important to not confuse flattery with encouragement. A true friend will encourage you as long as they see that it will not harm you in any way. The question then is how do you know if you are a flatterer?
How to tell if you’re a flatterer (Source: Counting My Blessings)
1. Are you nicer to someone when you want something from them?
2. Are you kind to strangers, servers, sales-people, etc. – someone you may never meet again?
3. Are you patient with other drivers no matter what kind of car they drive?
4. Are you more attentive to your “rich uncle” than you are to the one on a fixed income?
5. Are you as pleasant around your family as you are around your friends?
1. Do you look to see how many fans or followers a blog has before you leave a comment?
2. Do you swoon over celebrities while avoiding eye-contact with those in need or homeless?
3. Do you encourage your children to become friends with the attractive, popular kids at school?
4. Do you talk to people the same way you talk about them – your neighbor, boss, coworker, etc.?
5. Do you treat the person asking you for something the way you would want them to treat you if situations were reversed?
This week’s Homework Assignment:
When you feel the urge to start complementing someone on something first ask yourself…
Am I doing this to manipulate them…do I want something from them?
Am I doing this to make myself for better about gossiping about them?
Or do I genuinely like that necklace, their hair, blog post, etc.?
You might be surprised with your answer. I know I was.
I know I have been guilty of being a flatterer; I am a work in progress, how about you? I have to be honest; I think it will be difficult to break this flattery cycle. I feel like women in particular practically include flattery as a form of introduction, (i.e. “I would like to induce you to Jennifer, who is sporting an awesome necklace today”….or “Hi Cindy it is nice to meet you, I simply adore those shoes”) do you agree? Disagree? Please share.