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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I think we might actually contrast strongly with other types in our view of complements, probably sharing the most in common with INFP and ENTP on this, but let’s see if we can explore our views. I’ve seen threads that touched on differences before. A while back there was an INTJ who thought that a “thank you” in response to his complement showed that ENFPs were not very romantic creatures afterall. He seemed to have the assumption that a complement’s proper usage is as a romantic gesture. I also see differences between us and how INFJs are answering their complement thread right now. Let’s explore:

1. What is the purpose of giving a complement? Why do you think others give complements? And why do you give a complement?

2. How do you receive complements in general? What is your immediate and long-term response? In the past? Now? From certain people? How does it affect you?
 
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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
1. The purpose of giving a sincere complement in general, I think, is to encourage something that you deem to be good. You can express good will. You can express sincere gratitude. Specifically it is one of my ways to love others is to not hold back when I see something that makes me happy to be alive. I usually complement hard work, dedication, skills that I think are above the ordinary, going the extra mile, being brave or a bit unconventional if it helps this world be a brighter happier more free world where love and good things can abound. It makes me happy to express my gratitude and positive feelings. I also deeply appreciate when I see others freely giving complements for the same reasons— to nurture, to uplift, to encourage, etc. to elevate this world to a better sphere if possible.

2. I say “Thank you!” And am happy to think that another adult person wants to nurture and spread good will as well and wants to encourage me in my journey. I see kindred spirits when I see people giving complements. It makes me very happy.

I think the opposite is sincere criticism which squashes ideas and people and I think usually has a long-lasting affect. Sincere criticism doesn’t always take into account the learning process. For instance, getting angry at a child for dancing around or something. Or making someone feel like they will never be good at math or something.

I think mostly complements just keep me doing what I want to do and in some areas I really need that encouragement. In areas where I hope to be granted opportunities by others. And thank heavens for the encouragement and opportunities I’ve gotten lately in music. I’ve had times when that learning process was not taken into account even by teachers (because they weren’t the best teachers and hadn’t seen the growth in their students that can be possible with great teaching). So... giving people tools, seeing wonderful growth, and encouraging the things people most love to do can be powerful in making this world a happier place for the individual and for everyone.

And I think that studies have shown that it takes 10 complements to negate a criticism. So criticisms are that strong but often they aren’t what I would call sincere criticism. Non-sincere (or whatever we want to call it) knee-jerk criticism can be motivated by jealousy or selfishness.

That being said, honest or sincere criticism with tools coupled by encouragement can help loads. An example from someone I’m super excited to sing with, a retired professional opera singer “ You were flat on your descending notes. We all are unless we think ascending.” Now... to me hearing that I was flat is the kiss of death, but she gave me a tool. I said, “ Do YOU have to think of going up when going down?” And she said “Every time. I have to every time. We all do. ” And gave me a smile and a squeeze. So.... of course I’m so grateful for this honest feedback from a professional who understands what to do. Is the negative burned into my brain? Afraid so, yes, but when given a tool, sympathy, and encouragement to grow in what I love then it’s a wonderful thing. I’m so excited to get to work with her more!

Man... they always say we ENFPs are attracted to gurus.... small wonder on why. Finding shared passion and concepts from them. Awesome.
 

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I love this topic! I've written before about the subject of "ENFPs and Compliments."

I'm going to start with a post that takes it on a bit of a tangent... that I have been taken aback by the following sentence from -- yes, once again :) -- Personality Page, which doesn't strike true at all for me or the healthy ENFPs I know.

More than one ENFP has been known to "go fishing" for compliments.


Um, no. Not at all. First of all, this goes against the whole "authentic, spontaneous" heart of ENFPs. One of the most important elements of compliments -- at least, to me -- is not only what is said, but that the speaker wanted of his/ her own volition to share something positive about me, to be kind, to add something kind and encouraging to the world. If I have to prod and poke for a nice comment, it loses much of it's value.

Second, this doesn't ring true because the word "compliment" is too broad in this context. If someone says, "your hair looks nice today" or "I love those shoes!" I appreciate the positivity and it's a sweet thing for someone to comment aloud on something they like. But, that's not the kind of thing that sustains me and I would never dream of digging for it. There are compliments that mean much more to me... and they usually indicate that someone has been paying attention, and has noticed something that others don't necessarily see. Someone recently told me, "I love how your mind works, and how you express yourself." Now THAT was a compliment that put a spring in my step for days.

Much more than compliments, though, are positive feedback that I don't think qualify as compliments. "Spending time with you today was a joy." Is that a compliment? Maybe, but it's not what springs to mind when I think of the word. "I think we make a great team." "Your presentation helped me clarify some of the key issues our department still has to face." "I like the way your bubbly nature balances out my more serious side." And, you know what, I could see myself "digging" for some of these, simply because I do ask questions to try to better understand my role in a relationship or organisation. For example, I have asked most boyfriends, at some point, what is it about you and me that works well together bc I genuinely want to hear their opinion about what I bring to them and what they think they bring to me. (I usually also ask them, what do you think are the parts of us that don't work together so well... again, bc I really want to understand and see if we can improve).

More thoughts to follow, later.

(@Llyralen: I think you were referring to Gottman's oft-quoted "magic ratio" which is for every negative interaction, a happy marriage -- or friendship, or workplace -- has 5 positive interactions)
 

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To answer your questions:
1. Why do I give a compliment? For many reasons. Here are a few: a. I've gone through some very tough periods in life when a kind word from a stranger was the only thing that separated an okay day from a terrible, awful, hideous day. So, I mindful that unexpected gentleness can mean more than we might know. b. I believe many/most humans do respond to feedback. When you tell someone something great or interesting or cool or pretty about himself, it can help them see themselves more clearly and in a better light, both of which tend to be genuinely useful to that person. c. I can very easily become disillusioned as I notice all the mediocrity, hypocrisy, ugliness around me. It's a heavy emotional weight to carry. When I compliment others, I am forcing myself to discover and speak aloud the goodness and beauty all around me. It's an exercise in hope and reassurance, for myself.

2. How do I receive compliments? It depends. If it's a stranger telling me I have pretty hair, I say thank you and smile. I figure it's someone just trying to have a positive interaction and complimenting another's hair is an easy way to accomplish that. It's harder to take compliments that are a bit more personal, from people I know. If someone tells me I'm smart, for example, I assure them that I might be smart in some areas (I am!) but in other areas I'm not. If they tell me I'm pretty, I'll say something like, "Thanks. I have my good days. My not so good days, too." I feel almost like it would be dishonest of me to accept a compliment that I don't think is always true, without qualifying it somehow. And if a guy I like compliments me. Hahahah. I'm a middle aged woman but I still get all goofy inside.
 
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