This is a guest post written by the clever Colin Wright of Exilelifestyle.com where he blogs about self improvement, and lifestyle design.
If you knew me in real life, you’d know that I’m a big fan of games, especially ones that lead to better communication, an improved sense of self, or that somehow increase the understanding or skills of those participating.
As a result, I tend to take any situation that would be otherwise boring and turn it into a self-improvement opportunity (read: game).
One such game that I play is a big hit all around because it’s good for you, it’s good for the people you play it with, and it’s really good for innocent bystanders who get dragged into it.
The goal is really simple: give a stranger a compliment.
I know, I know, it doesn’t sound like a game at all. But a game is all about challenging yourself and others to get better at something, and by forcing yourself into an uncomfortable situation that will help you to get more comfortable with it, you are playing games with commonly acceptable social norms and forcing yourself out of your comfort zone (which to me is a great reason to do just about anything).
But say you need a more legit reason than breaking cultural folkways to do something that could be construed as publicly unacceptable (like this game). I’ve got you covered.
It’s all about communication. Being able to talk to strangers about anything is important because it can open up whole new doorways, personally and professionally. Every single person out there has something to teach you, and if you don’t have a way to open up the doors of conversation with them (without the off-chance of being introduced by a common friend), then you’re in pretty bad shape.
This exercise allows you to open up the channels of communication with one of the least contentious themes possible: the positive qualities of the person you are talking to. It’s like training wheels for your conversation starting abilities, and should be used whenever possible.
That being said, this game can be anything but easy. It can actually be very difficult to walk up to someone you don’t know and tell them you really like their hair. Or their shirt. Or nails. Telling them that they are looking good in a way that doesn’t come across as creepy or sleazy is especially difficult for guys, who have to deal with potential sexual harassment lawsuits on one hand (when the recipient of the compliment is a girl) and implied homosexuality on the other (when the recipient is another guy).
The best way for both girls and guys to approach this exercise is with an incredible amount of civility and a lack of any hidden agendas. When you can go up to someone with a genuine compliment with no intentions beyond letting them know that they are doing something well, that usually comes across without any problem. If you’ve ever had a random person come up and give you a compliment, you’ll know what I’m talking about. It just feels good. It’s the whole ‘they had nothing to gain from taking the time to tell me that, but they did. I feel great! Let’s get cake!’ kind of good.
So take the time to make someone else’s day and improve your own communication (and awkwardness-destroying) skills. If you find yourself just standing somewhere with nothing to do (checkout lines are a good place to try this out) or even just walking by someone who looks like they could use a pick-me-up, give it a shot. The worst that could happen is you’ll get a confused look. The best that can happen is that you’ll add some positivity to the world while improving a your ability to communicate.
By the way, did I mention that you look great today?
Colin and I swapped articles to spice up our work and introduce our audiences to a different take on epic living. I hope you enjoy his unique voice as much as I do. You can check out my post, How To See Like A Traveler All The Time by visiting his home page Exile Lifestyle.