Compliments versus Flattery

Reference & EducationLanguage

  • Author Gerry Kramer
  • Published April 4, 2019
  • Word count 871

You don't need to know basic psychology to know that there are many ways to make a person feel good. Along with food, oxygen, and water, happiness is vital in order to ensure healthy survival. Nevertheless, happiness is intangible - it cannot be seen or touched. We might not need it completely (I said vital for HEALTHY survival), and some drops of sadness and even anger can be useful as well, but it certainly helps a lot. Two of those ways to give happiness are compliments and flattery.

Compliments are praise due to an accomplishment that one achieved. I get complimented a lot, and I compliment others a lot. Compliments must be given because of something someone did, not what someone is. I compliment and get complimented because of good grades in school, enriching writing pieces, etcetera. I never compliment or get complimented because of race, gender, looks, or anything parallel to those lines. Those fall into the category of flattery.

Flattery is extreme praise to one for something they cannot control. These may include rambling on and on about how someone is the most beautiful creature within the everlasting walls of consciousness. Flattery uses extreme words like "most" or "ever". Unlike true compliments, flattery can lead to envy, jealousy, and eventually greed. I consider flattery to be a complete waste of words and one of the many cloaked mothers of all "evil".

I generally, nay, always prefer compliments over flattery. They might not be as sugarcoated and extreme as flattery, which unfortunately does make people feel much happier, but it provides a more reasonable amount of praise for something the receiver actually did goodly (yes, that's a word). Compliments might also come with certain glints of criticism in the form of casual suggestions. Compliments, proper judgement, and feedback go hand-in-hand. Also deep down inside the person who's being flattered will most likely think "what that person's saying is actually questionable", but that never happens with true compliments.

But some people don't want to hear the truth. Truth is what I like to call a chocolate sword. It can be both a pleasing thing and an offending thing. I am pretty much the extreme example when it comes to being a truth lover, both fortunately and unfortunately. Those who don't want to hear the truth might denounce plain compliments. They want to hear more, not because they think it's true or anything but they want to just feel better. They are so famished to feel good they are willing to embrace lies that pour over the praises too much.

As mentioned before, flattery is much more "attractive" than compliments. Everyone wants to feel happy, and they feel that when it comes to praise (or shall we say "worship"), the more the merrier. To them, the truth means nothing. Only happiness matters. They take this logic to the next level with things like "Oh, you're the best _______ in the world!" and "Nobody ______s like you!" and "Oh, you are so beautiful! I want to be just like you!". People might also flatter in order to get something they want, like a child telling his mother "Oh, you look so beautiful!" and then after the mom says "thank you" telling her "Now give me my allowance!".

As mentioned before, the truth can be painful. Simplicity and immediate logic come into play here. Since flattery is easy to detect, it can potentially backfire on the flatterer. Also, being fed with nothing but lies can mentally hurt someone dramatically. The temporary effects, to many people, mean more than those of the long run.

This topic/issue is one of the only ones where I'm not even a partial centrist. Normally I'd try to compromise with coming up with the ultimate solution for a debate, but for this one I won't. I willingly admit that I am absolutely in favor of compliments than flattery. It may just be me, and it probably is. If any of you readers out there want to propose an alternative solution that compromises with both truth-lovers and flattery-lovers, then I'd say write about it and go for it, but for now, compliments clearly win this round, at least for me.

Nobody can survive alone. And if that's true, and it is, then we need to communicate with another being of the identical species in some way, fashion, or form. Happiness is a very healthy thing mentally and possibly physically, and there are many ways to obtain it. It's also very important for people to take reasonable pride in their positive actions. I remember a long time ago I was yete another depressed teenager with suicidal thoughts because I never looked on my achievements. I then realized that I had numerous achievements, and I discovered that I had every reason to live and that I can't run away from my troubles, but I can solve them. That's what I did, and to this day my love for life, for my friends and family, and for myself is growing exponentially. Compliments and flattery can help boost this process of rediscovering one's talents, but they both come with prices. We must weigh the prices to see which ones give us the more lucrative cost.

Greetings :) I'm a 15-year-old atheist, centrist, asexual person, mature, quiet, reader, writer, learner, son, friend, and high honor roll student. You can read more of my articles here:

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