Anyone of my friends can tell you taht I’m not a big complement giver. Unless someone really wows me, I don’t give words of praise or admiration. To understand why, take a look at American Idol (this entry was inspired by JadedStaccato’s):
There are some horrible singers who go on the show–at least compared the very best that also appear. What we may not know is that they are the best singer out of their circle of friends. They may have landed a few bit-parts in their high school and college musicals.
JadedStaccato mentioned that they should get other people to listen to their singing before they go on the show. Obviously, this is probably what most people do. I think it is a good bet to state that at one point or another in their lives, someone told them that they they could sing. This belief, spurred by (possibly false) praise, burgeoned a whole fantasy about a possible career in music.
I’ve always thought that I was a pretty optimistic individual, but that side of me is counter-balanced by the pragmatic, down-to-earth philosophy of my parents’ instruction. When does an act of courage become an act of stupidity? There is a thin line I think…this has been evidenced by show-boaters, jackass cast members, and every other individual on the planet. Still, can hope ever be justifiable called stupid??
Is it okay to praise someone, knowing that they are not as good as they think they are? Is it okay to praise someone as fantastic, when they are only “fantastic” compared to average people? Would anyone even bother with a compliment like, “wow, that was good, you’re much better than average, but not nearly great!” It’s a compliment that could come as close to the truth as any other, but who would say something like that?
It’s quite a problem–knowing how much you can boost someone’s ego before it starts to compromise their common sense.