The Right Way to Give a Compliment

Their well-meant praise landed with a thud.

My 50-something girlfriends and I were walking along the beach one day when a group of 20-somethings passed us. They looked back at us, smiling, and said, “You guys look great for your age!” 

It was a beautiful compliment that boosted our self-confidence…until they added that bit about age. 

We had been having a perfect time, soaking up sun, cooled by a perfect breeze coming off a sparkling ocean. But our spirits slumped. The sun seemed to darken, the breeze grew cold, the sea dulled.

“How old do they think we are?” we wondered aloud to each other. Fifty? Sixty? Who knew? Maybe they thought we were seventy or eighty. The flattery had fallen flat.

We finally figured out we were putting too much store in what others think. When we got that straight, we bounced back. We look good for ANY age, we agreed assertively as we walked briskly on, shoulders back and heads high, keeping in shape and enjoying the once-again beautiful day.

When you give someone a compliment, you have to stop when you’re ahead. Especially if it involves a group of 50-something women who look great. Period. 


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