i’ve noticed in my travels two types of complements, the implicit and explicit compliment. when someone compliments something that you have done, they have delivered an implicit compliment. when someone offers a compliment about you they have delivered an explicit complement. let’s view some examples.
you are cooking a big family meal and have poured your whole heart into it. at sometime during the meal, your sister says, “this food rocks! everything goes together so well,” she just delivered an implicit compliment because she commented on something you did, this food rocks.
you are cooking a big family meal and have poured your whole heart into it. at sometime during the meal, your sister says, “hey bro, you did an excellent job here! I can’t believe how well everything goes together.” she delivered an explicit compliment because she directed the comment to you, you did an excellent job.
in a perfect world, these two different types of compliments are like splitting hairs. i mean, they both eventually are about something you did. the implicit compliment just needs to take an extra jump from this food rocks to the fact that i put together this meal , so i can imply the compliment got directed to me.
who lives in a perfect world? surely i don’t. when i hear the implicit compliment, when I am in a good space, i still need to make the leap from something i did, to i did that well. when i am in a less than good space, the leap becomes difficult to impossible. I hear this food rocks and I begin to wonder if all the hard work and efforts will ever be recognized. my emotional state makes the chasm too wide and i lose the assumed experience of feeling well about the rockin’ food.
since we seldom live in a perfect world, i like to lean heavily towards the explicit compliment. this helps to insure the person receiving the compliment get an opportunity to feel good about their hard work.
there are still times i find myself saying,”this food rocks!” really, do i want to pay the food a compliment or the person who made the food? i’ll then follow that up with a, “hey, bro you did and excellent job!” this insures that if the person can’t make the leap for themselves, they can still fully enjoy the experience of a job well done.
when delivering a compliment, the question arises; do i want to deliver a compliment about the act or action, implicit, or who did it, explicit? the explicit compliment insures the recipient can receive the compliments without any extra acrobatics, that they may or may not be able to perform at this time. this makes it easier for them to have a good feeling about what they have done.