Wednesday, February 20, 2013

One Compliment Please

I had this conversation months ago with one of my girl friends. She wanted to send an email to her neighbor just letting her know that she thinks her kids are just fantastic and she's doing a great job raising them, but was concerned that it would come off as being weird. My friend mentioned that her neighbor seemed overwhelmed with life and wanted to give her a proverbial pat on the back.

I fired back that I didn't think it was weird at all. Sometimes it's nice to hear that we're doing a-okay out of the blue with no pretext or searching for the compliment. She ended up sending the email, the neighbor was touched, and they set up a coffee date. As humans (or a society?) we're so quick to point out others faults, flaws, and shortcomings. It seems anymore that we're surprised to be complimented on something we've done right because we've become so used to people constantly telling us what we are doing wrong.

I had a client send me a thank you email for all my help for a claim in his mother's home. He couldn't say enough about my patience, hard work, and ability to answer or find the answers to his questions. I was really taken aback when he sent it as I was only doing my job. The client said I just had a smile in my voice and he was so grateful for my guidance through the claims process (note: he did as if I was a Bruno from Hammonton, but when I said no, he replied well your husband is a lucky man, make sure you tell him. See Hammonton comment post here). I mean, I honestly was just doing my job, but it was nice to have someone say thank you instead of yelling at me for things that are beyond my control.

Nick and I are learning the hard way about a few things with home ownership. Our next door neighbor came over our house unannounced at 9 pm just days before Hurricane Sandy hit. He knew we had just moved in and wanted to give us tips of what the previous owners did to keep water away from their house so we could prepare. I was literally in shock that he was nice enough to take time out of his evening away from his wife and new born to look out for us.

We had our sprinkler pipes explode from pressure (apparently you have to winterize them, PLEASE TAKE NOTE FUTURE HOMEOWNERS). Our neighbor across the street saw the geyser on our lawn as he came home from working the night shift , figured we hadn't installed a water fountain, and called the city to have them shut off our water. He was gracious enough to watch for my husband to come home later in the afternoon to explain to him what he did.

I hand wrote thank yous to both of these neighbors for their kindness. I got them gift cards to a local liquor store and personally went over to thank them for their help. They didn't have to look out for us, but they did. And I wanted them to know that their acts of kindness were appreciated. 

At our last YIP meeting in December, my friend Kristen and I were sitting next to each other counting down to when they would bring out the warm cookies in our afternoon meeting that we so look forward to (don't judge us). Paul, our server from the venue's catering, made sure to personally bring us cookies at our afternoon meeting when he got wind of what we wanted. Literally he walks in during the middle of the meeting with the warm cookies, comes right up to us and lets us pick some out.

I made sure to stop in the catering office because as Kristen and I were discussing, you never hear the positives when you do something right. We wanted his bosses to know just how caring, considerate, and attentive he is as a server. They thanked me for letting them know and said he is one of their best workers.

I'm the first one to admit that I'd rather complain about something then point out the good. Prime example, a couple Saturdays ago I had a problem with my iPhone. I ranted about it on Twitter and how I had to go to the Verizon store. Immediately Verizon responded with one of their Twitter bots asking how they could help. It's amazing to see what response a complaint can get on the internet these days. I made sure to tell them thanks for the offer but unfortunately it's not Verizon's problem to solve (thank you Apple monopoly) though it was nice of them to reach out to me.

Sure it's easier to complain, and compliments anymore seem to be a thing of the past. But when I can I try to make sure that people know it's noticed when they're doing a good job, because gosh darn-it sometimes it's just nice to know you are appreciated. 

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