Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Jasmin 1997

My Mom has a friend named Mary Ellen, and when Mom tells people about Mary Ellen, the first thing she says is "Mary Ellen always has something nice to say about everyone."

Impressive, right? Also, it really speaks to her character. Having been raised with stories of Mom's time in Boston (where she and Mary Ellen met and became friends), it worked it's way into my developing brain.

When I was in high school, I started actively saying nice things. (We could refer to this as "Jasmin 1997".) Not insincerely, but when I looked at someone and thought "Wow, X looks good in that shirt" or "Hot damn, that's a great haircut", instead of keeping it in, I would tell them.

Some people thought it was strange. Some people were put off by the bluntness, since my intention was really only to say the nice thing and move on with my day. Especially on the high school scene, where you have the Mean Girl/Queen Bee phenomena, and cutting someone down is more fun (or more empowering) than saying something that would potentially lift them up.

At some point, I stopped. I don't know if it was hormones, or classic teen angst, but I just ... stopped. For a long time. I would occasionally pay a compliment to someone I knew, but strangers? Not so much.

I was at a store the other day, and the girl at the counter had the best dye job I've seen in ages- and I knew it was a dye job the same way that most people knew that my hair wasn't naturally hot pink. So I told her.

After the shock of a Random Compliment wore off, she felt really good, too. Like, spring-in-her-step, tossing-her-hair good.

You know what? It felt really good to say it. Maybe it's time for Jasmin 1997 to make a comeback.


  1. I had a friend in high school who while wasn't quite so direct in her behavior, she NEVER said anything bad about anyone. It was wonderful, and I found that I was nicer around her, and that I liked to be around her. I think this is a great idea, and I may just adopt it myself.

  2. I think I will join you in this. Sunday I told a sales clerk that she was a hard worker and she just glowed. It was true coworkers were standing around gabbing but she was helping people at all ends of the store. I was glad I said something and glad that she got credit for the purchase. People need more of this. Don't worry about eclectic music for sharkbean there just needs to be music.

  3. I want to do this! So many times I just blurt out the negative, not to strangers, but family. I really need to get the positive back in form!

  4. I make a habit of complimenting strangers...to the near point of embarrassing them sometimes. But it always makes them feel good. Like it's a nice shot of self esteem they needed but didn't expect. And I love getting compliments, so I might as well give as many as I feel necessary, right?

    Anyway...welcome back, Jasmin 1997! Great hair, by the way! :D

  5. Nothing beats a sincere compliment! Glad to hear you speak out-we need more Jasmine 1997's!

  6. I love to do this. If I see someone wearing something lovely or looking like they have made a real effort I tell them. Pregnant ladies in particular need commending just for getting out of the house in the morning - never mind managing to look good, so they are a favourite to compliment.

    People are often surprised but always happy.

    Go for it Jasmine

  7. I do this a lot... and I tell my friends when I think they look particularly pretty, and I also smile at people, you know, like when they stop their car to let you cross, or when they hold the door open... I don't just say thank you but I really smile. Sometimes it embarrasses people, sometimes I get lovely smiles back but it is ALWAYS worth it!

    (And remember, especially if your daughter in the years to come, has a little less pretty phase, remember to tell her she is pretty JUST THE WAY SHE IS!!! My daughter's are a bit round, and the world sure as hell is hard as a preteen or teen, when you'd like to be like everyone else and you're not! I consider it a real accomlishment that my girls are confident, smart AND beautiful! )

  8. I'm playing catch-up on blog postings so apologies for the belated comment.
    When I was a youngling, my Mom also told me "If you notice something nice about someone...tell them. There is no point in keeping it to yourself and it might make their day." I took it to heart and have been complimenting friends and strangers on blouses, shoes, craft projects, purses, color choices, coats, eye color ....whatever catches my eye appreciatively. Generally it is a lovely gift to offer people and they smile. For some reason, it does come off a bit odd in the close confines of an elevator, though. {wry grin}


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