Part of my job is customer service oriented. I help kids figure out how to navigate the vast machine that is higher education. I like this part of the job, I get to see the best and worst of people. Last week this interaction occurred:

Me: “Next.”

Student, fumbling with her bag: “Hi”

Me: “Hi, what can I help you with?”

Student: “Hi, um, you’re really pretty.”

Me: “Ha, thanks. What’s going on?”

Blah, blah, blah onward with professional service.

I took two things from this interaction. One, it’s REALLY nice to get a compliment from a stranger. Two, why is this such an uncommon experience? Why does it feel almost inappropriate to say something nice and unprompted to a stranger? Or even an acquaintance? I’m not sure but it’s true.

We can be kind to one another without looking for something in return. Maybe I can’t stop thinking about this because I see it as lacking in myself. I’m not one to dish out compliments but maybe I should be.

Ok, good talk, I’ll work on that.