Core Decorum


Dear Decorum,
My friend can never take a compliment. Whenever someone praises her accomplishments or says something nice, she always brushes it off or refuses to accept the kind words. She’ll reply with something like, “Oh, no, it’s nothing.” She says it’s too difficult to simply say “Thank you,” in fear that it would boost her ego. Is that true? Is this rude on her part? What should she do?
-Polite Pal

Dear Polite,
Your friend may be concerned about cultivating the virtue of humility. However, in order to grow in humility, one must also grow in appreciation of God’s rich gifts in everyone, including those gifts found in oneself. Practically speaking, humility demands for a person to think of his/her own abilities and actions as no greater, and no lesser, than they really are. That involves making an honest assessment about one’s strengths and struggles.

There’s an unusually common mentality in society, one that surmises that a person cannot possibly merit positive feedback from peers or professors. However, your friend should not only accept the compliment, but she should embrace this positive feedback. It’s a lot simpler to say “Thank you” and smile rather than argue with others. When a person disregards or shies away from a compliment, this can be considered rude, going so far as to insult the complimenter.

Reader, if you do struggle with accepting compliments and praise, appreciate the fact that someone took the time to say something positive and pleasant. If you feel uncomfortable merely responding with “Thanks,” you can always return the favor and the compliment. Furthermore, give credit where credit is due. If you aced that AmCiv paper thanks to Dr. Jodziewicz or your roommate, give that person the proper credit – but don’t forget to include yourself. Remember that you have gifts to share with others – so kudos to you. Oh, you’re welcome.


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