Do you want to know my favorite compliment I have ever received?
It was when I was 17 years old, and it was given to me by a 17 year old boy who was madly in love with my best friend.
One day we were talking about the wonderfulness of my best friend and determining strategies he could use to get my friend to notice him. For a reason I couldn’t understand, since there wasn’t a natural break in the conversation, the boy became suddenly quiet. After silently looking at me for a several minutes he said, “You know, you are no raving beauty, but you are kind of pretty.”
As a 17 year old girl I was devastated. I desperately wanted to be a raving beauty, and I was insulted and hurt that I had to settle for being “kind of pretty”.
It was only years later that I realized the true intent of the compliment. He was not really commenting on my physical self, he just didn’t know how to express what he meant.
By saying I was “kind of pretty” he was trying to tell me he valued my friendship. He appreciated the hours I had spent listening to him blather on about the glories of my best friend.
After all, it isn’t every teenage girl who has the patience to listen to a litany of another girl’s wonderful attributes. Again and again and again.
It isn’t exactly a self-esteem builder.
So, after years of being bothered by the compliment, I’m happy to be able to say that I have figured it out. He was complimenting my good nature.
At least, that is what I’ve decided he meant. And I’m sticking to it.