And give a little background-- who was it from, context/circumstances, why it meant so much to you, etc.
This is mine: Some friends were putting on a play at a small neighborhood theater. They had been in rehearsals for several weeks. On the day the play was to open, the guy who was supposed to run the lights canceled out. The producer/director came to me that morning and asked me to fill in, as I had run lights for him once before.
I had never been to even one rehearsal of this play and didn’t know a thing about it. I went to the empty theater early the same day, went up in the light box, and with the script in front of me, read through the play from beginning to end and ran each of the light cues *seven *times. By this time the actors and techie people had arrived and were getting set up.
About half an hour before curtain, the director came to me and gave me his watch and said at 7 pm (or whatever) bring the house lights down and that would be the cue for the actors to move to the stage from where they were mingling in the audience, and the play would begin (yeah, modern, no physical curtain). There was no stage manager to give me the cues; it was strictly from the script. Sweating profusely, I did my thing. It all went perfectly, without a hitch.
When it was over, I came down to give the director back his watch and he said, “You have no idea how much it meant to me to have someone up there I knew I could trust.”
This was over 30 years ago, and that comment left an indelible mark on my soul. I pride myself on being one of the Reliable People of the World. If I say I will show up and do something, I absolutely will, and if I’m not there, it’s because I’m dead. That would be the only reason. For him to say that to me affirmed what I still consider one of my best personal qualities, and I have never forgotten it.
Pretty neat compliment, ThelmaLou. You are S.O.T.E. One of the Salt of the Earth folks. What would we do without you all?
The one that stands out the brightest for me was given to me in an elevator of a care center by a dapper little old man. He turned to me as the door opened and said, “You have such a kind face.”
Some days I struggle to be kind. Or I get so self-absorbed I forget. So it was a big whoop to me to know my inside and outside were matching. Any day that happens I know I’ve got a whopping case of authenticity going.
My parents telling me they’re proud of me.
When I was young, I was the golden child compared to my sister. Then I became a teenager with too much ego and nothing to back it up. I made bad choices. Then I left college to give birth out of wedlock. Totally not kosher. We struggled greatly when TheKid was little. Bills were paid according to who yelled loudest. My parents helped; however, they made it clear that they were only doing so because of TheKid.
Then I got my shit together. I raised a pretty good young woman, I own my house, all bills are paid on time. It still is a struggle, but I’m doing it.
Before my dad died, he said he was proud that I did it on my own. My dad never ever said he was proud of me - we were always on different wavelengths, he had no idea who I was, really. I’ve always been a mommy’s girl, but she was never one to compliment me or my accomplishments. Good actions were expected. When she said it, I didn’t know how to respond.
My second published article had just been printed without my name. My graduate advisor had told me it had been on purpose; the graduate program’s director was the other teacher whose name was on the article and his take on it was “ eh, what can you do :(”.
I had to do some stuff downtown, took the metrorail. As I was sitting there feeling sorry for myself, someone said “excuse me, I love your jacket, where did you buy it?”
The jacket was 10 years old (it got stolen in a train, 12 years later) and had been bought across the bonnie blue sea, but talking about it took me out of a funk that could have gotten real bad; it reminded me that hey, your boss may be a motherfucker and his boss may be a depressive idiot, but what makes the big picture is the little things. Patches and embroidery on a denim jacket. A little kid seeing the sea for the first time. Snow-capped mountains overlooking a sunny valley. Knowing that you can go play in the snow for half a morning and then come back down to the land of no-sweaters-needed
I’ve made a point of not skimping on compliments for strangers ever since. So far they’ve always been well-received.
About six years ago, I got involved in a Christian ministry at a maximum security prison. It is an ecumenical group, made up of guys from many different Christian denominations. I don’t want to bore you with the details of all that is involved, but taking part in this requires a lot of time and travel for those involved.
At my first meeting with the group, in preparation for going to the prison, I was impressed with the level of commitment these guys had to what they were doing, how much time they were willing to give to the ministry, how kind they were to me and each other.
When I got home that day, I enthusiastically described the men I had met in glowing terms. “These guys are kind, these guys are loving, these guys are generous, these guys are great!”
I have received my share of compliments on work or personality etc but for some odd reason the ones that made me feel the best were similar to what Tethered Kite decribed. As a pre teen I got into some trouble with the police over vandalism at a construction project going on in my neighborhood. Most all the kids on the block were involved. All the neighbors spoke up for me as being a good, honest hardworking kid, always helpful and friendly etc. I carried that for a long time and it went a long way toward straightening me out before I got too bad.
The best compliment I ever heard was paid to my parents years ago, but it means a lot to me because it meant a lot to them. We were all sitting and eating dinner in a Chinese restaurant, joking with each other, laughing and having a great time. The Manager came over and said to my parents in halting English “you have a happy family”.
I’ll never forget that or the look on my Father’s face.
As for me personally, I’ve been told I have sexy eyes. Not especially *meaningful *I suppose, but I’ll take what I can get
The personal one was once when I showed up late to a get-together with friends and one of them said, “Hey, awesome, we were just saying how this wouldn’t be any fun without MsWhatsit here!” It was in high school during a time of pretty low self-confidence and it just really meant a lot to me because I could tell it was sincere.
Professional: I indexed a fairly major medical study guide last year and someone in the Amazon reviews specifically called it out as being this huge improvement over the previous year’s index and one of the reasons the new edition was worth buying. Totally anonymous approval from a stranger who has nothing invested in my reaction. I really felt validated.
After I started going to my church, and had been there a few months, one of the steadfast little old ladies told me I was “the nicest weird person” she’d ever known. I’ve tried to maintain that ever since.
And my last boss told me I was a “very efficient sponge”. Since the job involved a lot of research, that really was a compliment.
First, I was about nine and the neighbor across the street hired me to rake her front yard into piles - I recall there being some tension about it because she wanted it done before her husband got home and argued about how to do it, when to do it, he’d get around to it, etc. So I raked and raked (it was maybe 80 x 50) and being me and being nine and feeling very important, I carefully went back for every leaf, and finished up with four very neat and tight piles. I collected my dollar or whatever it was and went home. My dad was standing in the dark kitchen, where he’d been watching me work, and said something like, “You did a better job than I would have done” - which is saying something, my dad was a perfectionist - “…I’m proud of you.” Small thing,and not the only time he said something like that, but for some reason that instance has stuck with me and set my bar for doing the job whether or not anyone’s watching.
Second is much too long to tell; suffice to say I offended and insulted a moderately famous name in a public squabble when he was in no way at fault. A few years later, I ran into him, face to face in a crowd of peers and folks who knew the story, like some bad movie script. I got him by the hand and apologized profusely for being a horse’s ass in a not-quiet voice. He squeezed my hand for a long moment and moved on. His wife, who had been following him, stepped up to me and said a quiet, forceful, emotion-laden “Thank you” that still resonates in my ears. Not a compliment, per se, but that was part of it.
I don’t know that’s it’s the single most meaningful compliment I’ve ever received, but it’s certainly in my Top 10, and it happened right here on the Dope!
After a long post explaining just how important I think The Ramones are to rock and roll music, I was pleased to see this post in reply:
Music is a passion of mine, a subject that brings me great pleasure to experience and nearly as much pleasure to discuss. Having others tell me that my views have merit is always welcome, but it’s particularly gratifying in this instance given that the subject matter is so important to me.
When I was a senior in high school, I took a film class. And though my first film project sucked, the final project came out really well. I actually received two very nice compliments from it:
the teacher not only praised it, but he showed it to not only his other film class, but all of his other (english) classes as well (so all these kids who weren’t in my class saw it - I was an instant celebrity !)
one of my aunts was married to a part-time actor who had taken to teaching acting. I showed the movie at our Thanksgiving family get together, and the uncle asked me “Can I borrow this and show it to my class, and show them what an 18 year old with $50 can do ?” (this was the best compliment I have received)
Not a verbal compliment, but an action. I was in a long-distance relationship at the time and, although very much in love, still suffering from some self-confidence issues after my last relationship.
I had occasion to travel for an extended business trip to a location that was still a little over seven hours away by car from where my then-girlfriend lived, and I was working seven days a week during the trip. As it happened, I found out at about 3:30pm one Saturday afternoon that I was going to get the next day off before getting back to the grind Monday morning. I mentioned this with my girlfriend on the phone as soon as I got back to me hotel room, just happy to have a little break in my schedule.
Within half an hour, she had packed herself a bag and gotten on the road, and she drove the seven hours to get to me, arriving just after midnight. All to spend just a little over 24 hours with me. If I hadn’t been sure how she felt about me before then, I certainly did afterward.
Still makes me a bit teary thinking about it. Part of a long list of reasons that marrying her was an absolute no-brainer.
It was my first day on a new job at a small ad agency in NYC. The department head was on vacation, another guy was out sick, everyone else has an excuse not to be there. In short, I was the only one there besides the two owners and the bookkeeper. An absolute avalanche of work piled up for me. I had the bookkeeper man the phones (she had no knowledge of anything besides bookkeeping), and the two owners showed up to help me out (They had no knowledge of anything besides sales). These guys proved to be no help at all, more of an annoyance.
At some point, one of the owners said to me “Man, I wish I could clone you.” I felt like saying “Instead of cloning me, I wish you’d just get out of my way and let me do the work.” But I kept my mouth shut and accepted the compliment.
Something more personal happened with my former lover. We had just finished having sex, and it was one of those times when everything went perfectly. He turned to me and said “There’s nothing wrong with you that isn’t correctable.” I was going to ask him to elaborate, but instead pretended to fall asleep.
Wow - thanks! I stand by it - I’d say your tastes are catholic, but some of the metal categories you listen to would not work with that word
I came in the thread to read stories and imagine what I might post - while I’m here I might as well go for it. From a music standpoint, it’s been playing with professional musician friends and gaining their respect. There may have been specific words exchanged, but the musical communication said more than enough. Having my art and craft validated that way has meant something fundamental.