Why the style compliment is an overvalued currency

Why the almighty compliment isn't so mighty.

“I got tons of compliments” 

Mission accomplished, right?

Not necessarily.

That’s not to say that a compliment on how you look is a bad thing. Far from it. But the weight that is given to compliments directed at someone’s shoes, blazer, or briefcase is inflated.

1. Just because no one paid you a compliment doesn’t mean you don’t look great.

Don’t keep score. Putting too much weight in compliments could lead some to think that if he never hears them, he’s not measuring up. And that’s garbage. Vincent van Gogh was all but dead before his talent started to get large scale recognition. (That is the first and last time getting dressed will be compared to one of the great masters, but the point stands.) Looking for recognition is a sign that you’re not truly there yet. Just like the guy/gal who’s always in a relationship because they can’t stand being alone is proof that they’re not quite ready to be in a solid relationship.

2. Sneaky Subtle Style > Unavoidable Style

A compliment every once in awhile is a great ego boost. But if you’re hearing someone say “nice shoes!” or “love how you mixed the patterns on your tie and shirt!” or “great watch!” every. damn. day… then that might not be so good. You risk being known as the guy who can’t leave the house without looking like he’s going to a photo shoot for Dandy-of-the-Month. So what’s wrong with that? If someone you know is describing you to someone you don’t, do you really want the first thing they say to be “he’s so well dressed” ? Wouldn’t you want it to be something better? Meatheads would take this as someone questioning their sexual orientation, but that’s not what’s being argued here. Instead, it’s about doing justice to the content of your character, not the contents of your closet.

The Bottom line: The Style as Music Theory

Style should be like music at a party. Too quiet and it’s not assisting the atmosphere in the way great music can. Too loud and no matter how good the food, how interesting the people in attendance, or how awesome the reason for the get together, the music overwhelms. It’s a balancing act. Someone might say “hey, I love this band” during the party. But not everyone is going to feel the need to make mention of the music if it’s at the right volume.

Your turn guys. Are compliments too easy to overvalue? Leave it all in the comments below.
Top Photo Credit: Mike FisherBottom Photo Credit: Boston Public Library

lotta compliments not always good