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Complimenting strangers.

(85 Posts)
Namsnanny Mon 20-Jan-20 19:06:42

I often compliment strangers when I'm out and about.
If a colour or style suits them I say so. Or maybe their children have been lovely, or anything that catches my attention really.
It's completely selfish, as I like to see the surprise and delight it brings.
Leaves me with a little rosy glow that I can use to protect myself against the grey weather, or the bad news that is invariably spouted.

But today for the first time in absolutely years, a stranger complimented me instead. On my hair!

Funnily enough all last week I was debating and edging towards changing it!

Now I'm back on the fence! confused

JackyB Mon 20-Jan-20 19:12:33

I rarely speak to strangers but once I had to compliment a lone American in a restaurant in France on the behaviour of his two young boys.

I will try and overcome my shyness in future and comment more, but it's a fine line between being genuinely nice and invading someone's private space.

Greenfinch Mon 20-Jan-20 19:17:39

We took the grandchildren to MacDonalds just before Christmas. It was of course crowded and a young lady and her partner said we could have their table. I was amazed by the beautiful colour of her hair which was somewhere between blonde and pale ginger and was very long.I complimented her,she beamed and said that it was natural. I said that I could tell that.

SirChenjin Mon 20-Jan-20 19:22:58

I’d love to have the confidence to compliment a stranger - I think it’s such a lovely thing to, good on you for doing it! smile

Pantglas2 Mon 20-Jan-20 19:24:15

I’m forever telling other women that they’ve got lovely hair, clothes, handbags, whatever!

Years ago, my daughter and husband used to go mad with mortification that I’d start speaking to ‘strangers’ as if I was a dotty old dear - which I am now of course! I don’t care - I’ve never been told to ‘foxtrot oscar’ and it’s put a smile on someone else’s face!

Curlywhirly Mon 20-Jan-20 19:25:11

I very often complement strangers on their children or their dogs! I'm a real chatterbox and find it relatively easy to talk to most strangers.

grannyrebel7 Mon 20-Jan-20 19:32:35

I don't talk to strangers very often, but my DH talks to everyone! He especially likes to speak to dog walkers in the park and tell them he knows the breed. Makes me cringe so I just walk on! smile

GrannySomerset Mon 20-Jan-20 19:33:53

Young parents get so much stick about children’s behaviour so I always comment to the parents of well behaved children and say how nice it is to see a family enjoying being together. At worst it comes across as patronising and at best it makes a parent’s day. How could that be anything but a good thing?

Like Pantglas, I don’t in the least mind being considered a dotty old lady, and am working on being a complete embarrassment to my grandchildren.

crazyH Mon 20-Jan-20 19:34:11

I compliment anyone and everyone, if I think they deserve it........

TrendyNannie6 Mon 20-Jan-20 19:36:55

Yes I compliment strangers, if I see them wearing something nice or like their hair whatever, or if their children have nice manners etc etc, I will say it’s women. I don’t go up to random men and compliment though lol

Namsnanny Mon 20-Jan-20 19:38:04

Funnily enough Curlywhirly I'm not a chatterbox.
If any of the compliments strayed into actual 'conversations' I'd probably stiffen and mumble something in audible!!

Bit strange of me really. I know my limitations.
I'm a shy self conscious anxious person in public.

But I try to balance that with short bursts of contact!

SirChenjin ...Nice of you to say so, but as I said it gives me something back too.

SirChenjin Mon 20-Jan-20 19:43:20

I know - but I’ll bet they get more out of it smile I can still remember compliments complete strangers have paid me years later!

Namsnanny Mon 20-Jan-20 19:45:06

TrendyNannie6 … I love that idea, lots of grannies out there complimenting random men on random things!
What do you recon they would think? grin

Grannysomerset … I totally agree. It's hard being a Mother sometimes. I know I certainly appreciated it when others praised my children's behaviour. Especially if they had been kind. I really like that.

Greenfinch … her hair sounds so beautiful, I wish I could have seen it, I would have complimented her too!!

Pantglas2 Mon 20-Jan-20 19:46:38

So true SirChenjin- I can always remember a kindness said/done for me no matter how long ago and I like to pass it on.

Namsnanny Mon 20-Jan-20 19:53:32

JackyB … Yes I agree it is a fine line between invading someones privacy and being cordial.

I think being sensitive to the environment or conditions the person you wish to talk too is in, is important.

If they are deep in a book, or conversation with another. Or possibly avoiding eye contact with those around them. Then I'd probably think twice about it.

But if they seem 'open' to being approached, I dive in!

Namsnanny Mon 20-Jan-20 20:06:18

Well pantglas2 … I shall remember her words about my hair because its made me look at it with fresh eyes.

To be honest and I know its hard to believe, I do it without even looking in the mirror nowadays!
I can do it by feel, and that means I don't have to remind myself of my baggy ugly mug first thing in the morning! grin

Fennel Mon 20-Jan-20 20:17:39

I talk to everyone too, Namsnanny. I've had some interesting conversations with strangers.
As for complimenting, I often do that too. But I got into a lot of trouble on here once about my praise of a redhead toddler - never forgotten it blush.

BlueSky Mon 20-Jan-20 20:44:30

Grannyrebel7 sounds just like my DH! I don't speak to strangers, just about acknowledge neighbours, but he speaks to anybody with the slightest excuse! I keep telling him he chats too much while he says I'm unsociable!

kissngate Mon 20-Jan-20 21:03:07

My OH speaks to anyone, sometimes I get embarrassed when he buts in other people's conversations who are on the next table or behind on a bus. I once complimented a lady on her hair at the local gym. She was quite taken back and completely avoided eye contact after that.

Namsnanny Mon 20-Jan-20 21:11:02

Fennel … I remember that thread! grin I also love red auburn hair!

Namsnanny Mon 20-Jan-20 21:14:49

kissngate … unsettling someone you approach is the downside to putting yourself out there. There will be some people or situations that just fall flat!

No I don't think butting in is really a very good idea, but I expect most people your husband talks to don't mind!

Dollymac Mon 20-Jan-20 22:27:38

I had a rather lovely experience in town today, it was 'pass on a kindness ' experience. A thing that schools are doing here.
A young boy approached us, gave us a chocolate and asked us to pass on a kindness to someone else, if we were able
I was moved to tears

Callistemon Mon 20-Jan-20 23:14:25

I do sometimes and if children have been kind or well-behaved I'll say so to the parent/carer.

I chat to people or find they chat to me in queues etc and DH always says 'I see you've found another new best friend'.

Fennel I remember the red headed toddler grin

Dee1012 Mon 20-Jan-20 23:35:55

Once, many years ago, I'd had the most awful week.
Personal issues and work, it was just horrendous. I was waiting for the bus home one evening, feeling like I wanted to crawl into a hole when a woman started to chatter away to me. I really wasn't in the mood but made polite you do!
The bus arrived and I said goodbye and smiled, she looked at me and said 'you should do that more often, what a lovely smile'. That woman absolutely made my day, in fact I can remember sitting on the bus grinning to myself.
So to those who pay a compliment, please carry on. To someone, it could mean more than you know.

Namsnanny Tue 21-Jan-20 00:25:26

What a lovely story Dee1012 Thank you smile

Callistemon … The other day, two boys, one became distressed about something (aged 8ish?) the other put his arm around him and gave him his choccy bar and a pep talk. Soon they were laughing together.
I was a overcome at this touching scene, and just had to say 'well done', to the choccy bar owner, and gave him a coin to get another one for himself.
I've since seen them out and about and they shyly say hello now. smile

Namsnanny Tue 21-Jan-20 00:31:23

Dollymac … so easy to break through the outer shell we all have, with a genuine kind gesture isn't it?

Newquay Tue 21-Jan-20 09:11:27

You never know the impact a kind word/gesture can have on someone. I’m a great believer in passing kindness on-without being intrusive, of course!

polnan Tue 21-Jan-20 10:09:30

I will always talk to strangers... tell a lie, sometimes since dh died, I have to pop to local shop when just want to cry,, then I scoot in and out with head down

fortunately that does not happen often, so I will speak to anyone,, I don`t approach someone if they look as though they don`t want to be spoken to.. well not everyone does, I will tender a quiet hello, and pray, silently for them

compliment someone I don`t know?? of course, why not? however, I am basically shy, so if someone compliments me, and I have received some, I cringe!

minxie Tue 21-Jan-20 10:10:51

I’ve got long curly red hair, and it draws attention. One lady in a shop said I had lovely hair and actually took a handful of it and have it a shake !! I’ll take the compliment but not the touching

pamdixon Tue 21-Jan-20 10:12:42

On the odd occasions I'm actually buying myself new clothes (less and less these days!) I'll always compliment someone who is trying something on if I think they look nice in it (wouldn't dream of saying anything if I think they look frightful!). I've never had a negative response. And I always talk to strangers on buses or on the tube (I live in London) - have had some lovely conversations over the years.

glammanana Tue 21-Jan-20 10:22:17

I will talk to everyone and anyone given the chance,years ago when going to Liverpool clubs we would be in the "ladies" and all manner of compliments would be passed around as to the dress/makeup/shoes other girls where wearing all greatly accepted northern girls are such a friendly lot.

NotSpaghetti Tue 21-Jan-20 10:25:29

I try to say something nice to parents who are struggling with badly behaved or grumpy children - the parents who are generally trying to keep everything together and failing. A kind word on a bad day goes a long way.

Yesterday it was a mum with lots of shopping and two small children in a buggy who were miserable in a very hot shop. She had a (roughly) 5 year old who was carrying all the gloves and hats but the little two were flailing about and wanted out... one had managed to kick off a boot and the other was shouting and grabbing at things as they passed by.
She was trying to buy some knickers...
She was doing her best to keep their minds on other things but I know she would be pleased to be home after that.
I just exchanged a few words and she seemed to relax a bit and smile.
People can be so judgemental about children when out and about. It’s not an easy job even keeping them in one place!

Just don’t ask me to be so sympathetic to the ones allowed to run madly around a restaurant when we’re out for a quiet supper!

henetha Tue 21-Jan-20 10:29:44

I think it's a lovely thing to do. We can lift someone's whole day with a few kind words.

Moth62 Tue 21-Jan-20 10:32:28

I speak to people on buses, shop queues, trains, you name it. I find people often approach me to ask for help. It appears I have “a nice face” - or so I’ve been told. A laugh and a joke makes the world go round. Too many young folk miss out on that with their earpieces rammed in. It’ll be a much quieter world when our generation has gone! Having said that, I find young ones are equally kind and helpful when approached. It all depends how you do it.

jaylucy Tue 21-Jan-20 10:40:37

I often compliment strangers!
My son always says that I will talk to anyone (he's right) and has given up asking where I know them from !

Madmaggie Tue 21-Jan-20 10:48:40

Yes I compliment strangers. I can remember how great I felt when a waitress made a point of telling me, many moons ago now. That my children had been a pleasure to serve because they had said please and thank you to her. So now I try and make mums feel good. I tell mums they're doing a good job when they're looking exasperated too. If I see a woman trying on a coat or jacket for example in a shop and they're alone, I will say if it suits them, "What a lovely colour" etc.

rowanflower0 Tue 21-Jan-20 10:59:22

It is something I often do - it only takes an 'I love your earrings' to make someones day - so why not?
I'd advise anyone to try it - it only takes a moment and is so rewarding for everyone.

V3ra Tue 21-Jan-20 11:15:58

One thing I challenge myself to do is make a grumpy looking person smile. I smile at them, hold their gaze, and they always smile back. Such a transformation!

Riggie Tue 21-Jan-20 11:27:03

Ive done a "that looks lovely" in a queue in a clothes shop but thats probably as far as Id go with a stranger!!

Apricity Tue 21-Jan-20 11:33:23

Sometimes it's those subtle little exchanges with a complete stranger that are so lovely. Not so long ago a young woman sitting opposite me on a train pointed to my necklace, smiled and gave me a thumbs up. It was a shared woman to woman moment of appreciation that spanned generations.

jura2 Tue 21-Jan-20 11:45:55

jaylucy ''I often compliment strangers!
My son always says that I will talk to anyone (he's right) and has given up asking where I know them from !''

made me smile - I always talk to strangers, or smile- not just to compliment, but to reassure or include, be it a mum struggling with a toddler, or someone who doesn't quite seem to fit for whatever reason, someone very old, etc... and my daugthers have also given up on asking why and how. Makes the world such a better place <3

inishowen Tue 21-Jan-20 11:46:35

My husband compliments people all the time. Mostly ladies but I dont mind. If the check out lady at Tesco feels flattered I'm happy for them.

TLVgran48 Tue 21-Jan-20 11:50:20

Lovely stories here. I've complimented mums talking to their kids in a buggy - talking, and not engrossed in their phones. Did it with some trepidation, but all of them seemed chuffed.

Theoddbird Tue 21-Jan-20 11:54:29

I have complemented people on the behaviour of their children. I do smile at strangers all the time...smiles get passed on.

Namsnanny Tue 21-Jan-20 12:34:06

What a lovely lot you are!
I thought we were supposed to be a standoffish lot in the uk?

Grandmacong Tue 21-Jan-20 12:38:12

I always seem to attract conversations from others. Doesn’t matter where I go, others, mainly elderly folk (I’m nearly 70!) often ask if they can join me in a coffee shop (when there are other vacant tables) and within 10 minutes I have their life history! I really don’t mind and often wonder if I’m the only person they’ve spoken to all week! I wholeheartedly agree with those who’ve said ‘a smile costs nothing’ and usually is returned. Let’s all try to make someone happy every day!

Keeper1 Tue 21-Jan-20 12:39:24

I remember also remember the red head post.

We both speak to strangers about all sorts of things and to compliment where appropriate. A stranger is a friend you haven’t met.

sarahellenwhitney Tue 21-Jan-20 12:39:58

I am not the sort who will respond to strangers comments should they be on the personal side ie lovely smile /like your hairstyle etc or will I make them.
When in a long supermarket checkout queue it can be tedious and I will on occasions make comments on a typical Brit subject the weather, if it happens to be raining other than that I find the majority want to get to the till in silence.

gulligranny Tue 21-Jan-20 13:27:45

I like to give compliments, make a bit of a joke etc., all helps to oil the wheels of modern society and I find others are usually happy to respond. My best - and funniest - was at a Space Spectacular concert in the Royal Albert Hall a few years ago; there were two quite young children in the row behind and at the end of the concert I complimented the parents on the excellent behaviour of their children. The little girl - probably about 6/7 - asked her daddy what I'd said and he told her "the lady said how well behaved you are". She smiled at me and said "And you were very well behaved too"! My husband said to her "Of course, she's not always this well behaved" and we all ended up laughing, which was a lovely thing to share with complete strangers.

PernillaVanilla Tue 21-Jan-20 13:37:27

I sometimes compliment strangers. I was in Anthropologie in Bath just before Christmas and a lady who looked a bit lacking in confidence was having a nervous twirl in the mirror outside the fitting rooms. The dress suited her very well, so I told her how lovely she looked in it and she beamed. I remember my own happiness when in a restaurant someone made the comment that is was good to see boys eating proper food as mine tucked into a seafood platter with all the whelks, clams etc. etc. on it.

Dianehillbilly1957 Tue 21-Jan-20 13:54:52

I do like to pay a compliment to someone who has well behaved children, as it seems to be a rarity now days, i think they deserve acknowledgement. Let's them know it's appreciated & they're doing a good job.

hazel93 Tue 21-Jan-20 14:01:06

I can't say I actually compliment on a regular basis but I do talk to strangers regularly, a queue, a coffee shop, a frazzled parent etc. Never yet had a negative response - we are naturally sociable animals after all.
Intrigued re. the red hair thread, no idea what it was about ! I am/was a natural redhead, the red has faded to a degree and now streaked with white. I 'm often asked by total strangers where I have my hair coloured , I almost feel guilty saying "Sorry, I don't".

Bekind Tue 21-Jan-20 14:03:23

I always compliment strangers but I never thought about it being selfish. Namsnanny is right, though! It makes me feel so good to see the person brighten up. It always makes me feel better when it happens to me, too, especially when I'm feeling down.

Ngaio1 Tue 21-Jan-20 14:13:58

Pantglass2. "Foxtrot Oscar"!! What a fun phrase - shall keep that tucked away for the right occasion!!

nanamac77 Tue 21-Jan-20 14:55:10

Please continue, Jacky B and others.
I live on my own and although I'm involved in quite a few activities I rarely receive a compliment, There's no one at home to say 'that meal was nice', or similar positive comments, so when I do receive a compliment, however small, I savour it in my mind for days, if not weeks!
You are brightening other people's days.

GreenGran78 Tue 21-Jan-20 15:02:36

I often chat to strangers and like to give compliments when I am able. A while back I heard a young woman in the supermarket stoically refusing her child’s demands for chocolate. I remarked how refreshing it was to hear a parent stick to her guns, instead of caving in to a nagging child. She seemed very pleased by my compliment. However, when I passed them outside the shop, about ten minutes later, she looked very embarrassed. Her little girl was happily tucking into a Mars bar! Oops!

Calendargirl Tue 21-Jan-20 15:27:57

I’ll tell someone trying on a dress or something if it looks good, as I am pleased if they say it to me, without being prompted.

Rosina Tue 21-Jan-20 15:45:20

There is an elderly lady in our town - much older than me! - and she always looks amazing. She has real style and her outfits are eye catching; flowing scarves, subtle colours and always nicely applied makeup. We came face to face in a shop doorway once and I blurted out - 'You always look so marvelous'. She went pink and thanked me - I hope I made her day and didn't embarass her!

TrendyNannie6 Tue 21-Jan-20 16:01:33

Namsnanny I don’t know what random men would think if I went up to them and complimented them they would probably be as happy as a woman to receive compliment lol but I would be more inclined to compliment ladies, not saying that a man shouldn’t be complimented of course, I think it makes everyone feel good to have a compliment,

CBBL Tue 21-Jan-20 16:09:49

My hubby is another one who happily chats to anyone and everyone! I'm not so keen, but do smile at people. I have paid compliments to others sometimes, and agree that it's cheering to have someone do that for you.

Lancslass1 Tue 21-Jan-20 16:10:31

I often do it.
I once told a lady how elegant she looked after I followed her up an escalator at John Lewis and she burst into tears as it was her Wedding Anniversary and she had dressed that way especially to please her husband who had forgotten the date!
It has happened to me too.
Three times about clothes I was wearing and once about my legs !
Doesn’t half make one feel good!

grannymy Tue 21-Jan-20 16:14:21

I am happy to compliment strangers. I don't see the point in thinking it and not saying it. A compliment can make someone's day if and when they are feeling low. I know it makes me feel good.

Juicylucy Tue 21-Jan-20 16:21:58

I talk to Absolutely everyone, if I’m in a shop or a queue or petrol station on a train any where really. Drives my DD mad.

Chardy Tue 21-Jan-20 16:31:11

When the dogs are with me, I invariably talk to other dog-owners. When in a clothes shop, if someone is holding something up to them, and it looks good, I tell them!

On the odd occasion, I've complimented women on their hair or something they're wearing.

But when it comes to babies and toddlers, I run out of complimentary adjectives.

grannypiper Tue 21-Jan-20 16:52:28

I do it all the time, i remember being in a department store and a young woman was trying on a coat, her Husband was stood beside the pushchair huffing and puffing, he was sulking like a teenager, she was saying how much she loved the coat and hadnt had a new one for years, he replied that it was horrible and didnt suit her and anyway he was going away the following day on a stag do and if they bought it he wouldnt have as muuch money as he wanted to take.
I appeared from behind the handbags and told her she loooked like a model in the coat and was just so gorgeous, her face was a picture( so was his) she smiled, gave me a hug, said thank you and went off to the till to pay for it.

Lizbethann55 Tue 21-Jan-20 17:20:23

I told a taxi driver his taxi smelt really nice and asked if it was the thing hanging from the mirror. He said that had long since dried up so it must be his scent!😳

Caro57 Tue 21-Jan-20 17:44:18

I offer compliments as well. I was amused at a childrens' Carols service at Christmas my son's new partner was complimented on her eyebrows - she is stunning but it's not something I would specifically pick out from the rest of a lovely face

Callistemon Tue 21-Jan-20 18:22:43

I usually talk to the dogs as I don't have one with me any more.

4allweknow Tue 21-Jan-20 18:26:17

I too compliment strangers especially on seeing consideration and kindness. Find I am also sparking to strangers more often nowadays, losing my inhibitions!

Pantglas2 Tue 21-Jan-20 19:08:31

4allweknow - I think as we get older we lose our inhibitions about what folks think and just say what we feel!

If people don’t like it (never had a bad response personally) then move on, not the end of the world is it? Their problem, not mine!

dianetheartist Tue 21-Jan-20 19:54:36

Just before Christmas I was walking across Tesco carpark, it was a horrible day and I was feeling a bit down--a lady in a mini stopped--wound down her window and shouted to me " Madam you look absolutely gorgeous" she made my day-and year! As a larger lady with very bad health, I have lost a lot of the confidence I had..However, I refuse to be seen without a full face of makeup, hair done and a lovely dress etc. Even if it does take me a couple of hours to do my face due to not being able to hold my hands up for long! She will never know how that made me feel.

Junesun Tue 21-Jan-20 21:05:29

A stranger complimented me on how I'd applied my blusher. She said it was nicely done 😊. I said " thankyou, but I'm blushing now !

Naty Tue 21-Jan-20 21:38:52

I'm very obviously a straight woman. I once complimented another woman on her beautiful eyes and she blushed, said thank you and the avoided eye contact with me for the rest of the interaction!

SirChenjin Tue 21-Jan-20 21:46:53

What does an obviously kstraight woman look like? confusedgrin

Phoebes Tue 21-Jan-20 22:26:46

I’m Welsh! I’ll talk to anyone! I compliment people, too, if I see something that deserves one! I love it when someone gives me a compliment, so I like to compliment other people.

Callistemon Tue 21-Jan-20 22:56:27

But don't chat to me in Welsh please Phoebes grin
Although I may smile and nod

Namsnanny Wed 22-Jan-20 01:00:56

*Gulligrannie … what a delightful little girl! So funny your husband spoke to her like she was the adult and you were the child!! grin

Namsnanny Wed 22-Jan-20 01:16:11

Popty ping Callistemon? smiling and nodding

Namsnanny Wed 22-Jan-20 01:34:21

Bekind ...It does doesn't it? And here's one back for you.....I love your name! grin

nanamac … I think about what was said to me for ages as well!
Have you thought about putting up some photos of your cooking or makes of any sort?

I know it seems self centred, and you might feel a little awkward at first, but lots of people do that sort of thing now.

If there is no one to appreciate something you have put effort into, perhaps it's a good idea to share the results with others (on here?)
I can assure you, I would be interested!
It's just another way to extend contact really isn't it?

timetogo2016 Wed 22-Jan-20 08:44:26

I`m with CrazyH .
I did it yesterday in Sainsburys a little boy around the age of two smiled at me from his trolley seat he was soooo cute and I told his mother just that.
She beamed and thanked me.
Smiles all round.

Callistemon Wed 22-Jan-20 10:07:20

Just checking Google translate

Calendargirl Wed 22-Jan-20 10:42:51

On a coach holiday, we were sat at dinner with another couple, didn’t know them, after a day or so he suddenly said what nice teeth I had, white and even!
I was quite flattered, but as I write this sounds like Red Riding Hood and the Wolf!

Tooyoungytobeagrandma Wed 22-Jan-20 11:18:35

Callistemon =microwave😂 Im akways talking to strangers have ended up with some lovely friends that way. Always talk to dogs (and their owners ) & pay complinents. Have had lots of people compliment me on my hair which is nothing special and I only run my fingers through it when i get up sk no styling. Lovely thread smile

Callistemon Wed 22-Jan-20 11:24:32

Calendargirl grin

Thank you for the translation Tooyoung
I will stick a note on the microwave so I remember!

Evie64 Wed 22-Jan-20 18:33:00

I often compliment strangers if they are wearing something I think looks lovely or have great hair etc. I don't find it in the least embarrassing and it's so nice to see their smiling face. Sadly, old, fat and grey I don't often get them myself, but no matter.