It’s Complimentary, My Dear

I don’t tend to get a lot of compliments. I suspect introversion may play a role. I don’t give a lot of compliments either, though I am quick to speak up of some part of a friend’s wardrobe or appearance catches my eye. You are a powerhouse.

The last compliment I received took me by surprise. And I’m not even sure I would consider it a standard complement. It was a friend speaking frankly about a positive trait she sees in me. It’s funny, I don’t even want to talk about it in detail. Pride is something that has ruined good things in my life, and I fear if I speak about what someone else thinks about me, it goes all icky and starts being pride and gossip. And the even funnier thing is the positive trait was related to my level of confidence. I think the exact term was “powerhouse”. I laughed out loud.

But then as she went on to explain, it wasn’t as nearly “tough” as it sounded. It was more like a slow moving iceberg. Solid. Of course I think my Mom called it “stubborn”. 😀 (Hi mom!)

What made this particular interaction most memorable is that when this particular friend tells me truths she sees, it’s not smoke-blowing. It’s just her honest observations, and she’s just as likely to gently point out areas for improvement. That’s what I love about her. She’s the best kind of friend. Someone who is in my corner, listens through all my frustrations, asks leading questions to get to the heart of the matter, and then calls it like she sees it.

I pray you all have a friend like I do. I also pray I can be that same kind of friend in return, and to others. Telling each other the truth is infinitely more wonderful that simply paying compliments. When you can hear both the good and bad from the same friend, it makes it much easier to trust it’s the truth.

J4 and I have talked a few times over the past couple of months about what it means to be a friend. My initial determination was whether or not the friend ever slowed down long enough in the conversation to stop and ask how I am doing. I am a listener (as an introvert it at least seems that way), and therefore it is easy for people to talk to me. It is hard for me to share my feelings – hard to articulate them – and there are few people who stick around long enough to let me get there. So, at first my definition was they asked about me, but honestly, it’s not even so much asking as it is listening. Is it just me, or is listening a lost art here in America? What will it take to bring back the art (and skill) of active and participatory listening?

Writing this evening inspired by the November 2012 NaBloPoMo Writing Prompt: Wednesday, November 7, 2012 – Talk about the last compliment you received.

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  1. //

    I think you are right about listening and I like the term “powerhouse” for you! 🙂 I think a friend is someone I can go years without talking to and we pick up where we left off- still loving, still honest, still there- and would be if The other one really needed them to. Acquaintances are fun but friends are really present…

    1. //

      Thanks N!  Yes, I am so glad for the friendships that don’t require constant water to stay healthy.  Yes.  Present. Huge.

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