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How to Handle Compliments. . .

Mavis: "Oh, Percival!  You dance marvelously.  Almost as though you are moving on air."  Percival: "Why, thank you my dear!" 


As a man who dresses and presents himself to the world with intent, sooner or later you will receive a compliment about your general appearance.  Or a particular item that is part of your overall presentation.  

Strangely, compliments make a lot of people uncomfortable.  Daily kindness to each other has become so rare in 2021 -- even among people living in the same dwelling -- that many are left unsure how to handle unsolicited pleasant remarks or observations about attire, eye glasses, well-shined shoes, an interesting pocket square, one's smile, or a firm handshake for instance.  

Just one more sign of the graceless age in which we live.  Once common niceties of the (fairly recent) past, it seems have been relegated to the social dustbin of history.  

The sad result is that we have been left unable to navigate what used to be fairly easy social interactions.  As a solution to potentially awkward moments, however, let's take a page from my late maternal grandfather's book.

If and when someone pays you a compliment, simply reply like this.  

"Thank you!"  See?  That didn't hurt.

After you have responded graciously to said compliment, continue through the rest of your day with a tiny spring added to your step.  Rest assured, there are still people who appreciate and "get" the well turned out man.  

As I have mentioned before here at Classic Style, compliments are never necessary, but people appreciate them when offered. Little, seemingly insignificant utterances that nevertheless make others feel good about themselves.  Occasional compliments also pick up our own flagging spirits if and when  something nice is said to us about our appearance or demeanor.  

And goodness knows after the year or so all of us have endured, that is nothing to sneeze at.  To paraphrase the inimitable Nick Lowe (with a little help here from Elvis Costello), what's so funny about presentation, grace, and complimenting?

-- Heinz-Ulrich 


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