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.