Why You Should Be Careful Establishing Someone’s Excellent Reputation

If given a choice of whom to spend time with, people would generally pick the person who is over-complimentary rather than someone who is cynical and perhaps hateful. Expressing positive thoughts about someone else, in turn, makes us feel good too. There’s something to be said for positivity making its way back around to the person who’s given birth to it. Striving to find the good in those who surround you is a good trait to adopt.

This article is about the well-meaning attempt at improving someone else’s reputation via complimentary ways. Our attempts at exhibiting genuine kindness can sometimes put the subject of our compliments in a tough spot. This article does not propose you to lower the number of compliments that you give out. It is however, meant to prompt you about the kinds of compliments you choose to voice, and how they may be perceived by all those involved.


False Promises Are Bad in Many Ways


Your act of complimenting someone in a way which shifts how they’re perceived by a third party, can set unrealistic expectations. By being adamant in voicing your complimentary dialogue about someone else, those listening may expect the person in question to perform at a high level by default. You thereby risk placing the subject of your compliments to not live up to expectation in their future work. Your over-complimentary ways can be perceived as assurance of the quality of your subject’s output. If you adamantly recommend a plumber who effectively solved a major issue at your home to a friend, your friend may begin to expect the same scope of output. If that plumber fails to replicate the results you witnessed, but still does a decent job by objective measure, the person who you’ve recommended them to can express undeserved disappointment.

Your attempts at improving someone’s reputation thereby, should be balanced in marketing the positive traits of another individual, while not placing unnecessary pressure on them to replicate the results which make you speak so highly of them. Be cognizant of the pressures you place on those who you compliment, and remember, over-complimenting does nobody any favors.


The Tendency to Prove People Wrong


Some people seem to hold a consistent drive to disprove the commonly held notions about themselves. If we’re not happy with the labels being placed on us, our behavior begins to be shaped by the desire to disprove that label. You have to be very careful in assuming that what you perceive to be a positive trait, being a universal belief. There are instances in which even the most seemingly positive labels can be unwanted by the person who you’re labelling. A simple example of this notion are men who are set out to be a ‘bad guy’ in attempts to increase their pool of sexual partners. Their, perhaps inaccurate, perception of which types of partners women flock to would entice them to reject being labelled, ‘a nice guy’. The mere act of labelling someone a ‘nice guy’ can upset the person you’re complimenting. It would make them strive to further disprove that notion, as by their perception, the label of ‘nice guy’ has prevented them from bedding their desired partners. This article is not suggesting that those people are right in their perception, only that their perception is one they honestly believe.

The reputation you seek to propagate, no matter how positive, can be rejected by the person who you’re trying to help. It can not only be rejected, but you can entice them to act in completely opposite ways to which you’re communicating. They may not only fail to meet the expectations that you set, they may begin to contrast them in order to falsify your praises. It is difficult to act in a way which limits the happenings of these instances. One has to be completely sure that the person they’re complimenting seeks to be complimented in such a manner. In the majority of instances though, it’s rather obvious what people want to be labelled as. For instance, a person who writes as a hobby would most likely enjoy being labelled as a good writer. However, always strive to take into account the randomness of human perception when propagating someone’s certain reputation.

Book Recommendation: 

D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths

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