On what seemed like another uneventful day, as most of my weekdays are, I got restless and decided to finally leave the house after a long 2 day period. I vaguely remember wishing to have that much time to myself once upon a time not too long ago in my home country of Canada. However, there are times now when I miss my once-hectic and non-stop life as compared to a more relaxed life that I now have in America. Grass is always greener on the other side, eh.
Spending a lot of time at home, I actually look forward to going to the gym, park or even a grocery store. Today was grocery day and I left the house in anticipation of driving and enjoying a beautiful, warm day. That’s when spontaneity kicked in and we decided that we have enough milk and bread at home and to go shopping instead (because you can never have enough shoes, right?)
On our way to the mall, we met some beautiful clouds and the beginning of a sunset and I had to park my car on the side of the highway to take the picture you see on top of this page. I thought I knew that this would be my highlight of the day.
That is, until I met the friendliest and nicest cashier girl (ever) while buying my shoes. Our conversation went something like this:
Nice Cashier Girl: (NCG) “Last name?”
I spell it out
NCG: “First name?”
“T-a-h-i-r-a” and then I pronounce it for her.
NCG: “Wow that is such a pretty name.”
Me: “Thank you!”
NCG: “You are so pretty too. I bet you look gorgeous even without makeup, I can just tell by looking at you. You probably wake up and look beautiful without even trying.”
At this point I’m completely surprised by her huge compliment and earnest tone of voice. Most of the people close to me know that statement to be false and I’ve learned to accept that amongst a lot of my other imperfect, flawed, humanly things.
Now recovering from that mistaken, but utterly sweet compliment, I finally reply: “Thank you. I wish I woke up like this, but no, this took a bit of work.”
I go on to compliment her back as she was definitely a natural beauty with hardly any makeup on and the sweetest mannerisms. We continue to have more polite, friendly, girly chit-chat while I pay.
Me: “Thanks again. Have a great evening!”
NCG: “You too. And you’re gorgeous girl. Never ever think that you’re not!”
I guess she must have read my face. She was definitely not selling me anything at this point and just being a good human being to a stranger. By this time I was not only ready to befriend this girl (as she reminded me quite a bit of a co-worker turned one of my closest friends), but also dumbfounded by how nice she was and how she had quickly turned my day right-side up with just a few sentences. I was so humbled and embarrassed that I didn’t even remember all the compliments and nice things she said to me but I will never forget the way she spoke to me.
I’m sure everyone loves to be complemented, even though some of us may get a little surprised or flustered by it. But I really don’t think that’s all there is to it. I don’t think we like it simply because we’re egocentric or are looking for a way to feel better about ourselves. I think more than all of that, we like to connect with people without feeling judged or threatened. A lot of our social customs like shaking hands, smiling and greeting each other actually originate from a similar idea.
That’s a lesson I also learned from the friend I mentioned above. When I first met her at an age where I thought I had learned everything I needed to at university, I observed her and started learning (and am still learning) the true art of human communication. I saw that by complimenting people (honestly) right off the bat and putting them at ease, you can have a much easier and more open conversation with them. I came from a place of pride on being able to speak “honestly” and “frankly” because those were my values. However, I learned that by holding back our judgements and being patient with people, our friendships lasts longer and by having other people’s back when they’re in a corner, they also come to our rescue when we need it the most.
As a pay-it-forward, I hope you take her message with you as well, because if I can deserve it, you definitely do too. I would like to tell you that you are gorgeous inside and out and to never ever think that you’re not. I hope this adds a little light to your day too! xox