Charm Lesson 1: Flattery

It is easy to tell a friend or new acquaintance that he or she has a nice shirt. But, even the most sophisticated man or woman can say this and appear insincere. Flattery is a cornerstone of charm. It is said that flattery is the devil’s tool. And used for selfish personal gain, it is. The secret to successful flattery is sincerity. Almost everyone, with the exception of those truly hideous or unkempt people, has an attribute that can be complimented.

Complimenting a haircut is always a good bet, if the haircut is indeed attractive. It’s a given that all people with hair have had a haircut at some point. Noticing that a friend has had a haircut lets them know you care enough to notice they have had a haircut. This also reinforces the decision he or she made when determining the hair-cut. It’s a win-win solution for everyone.

I find it best to tell a person something true. If you like Cricket’s blouse, tell her. Most people are too scared to say anything; you’ll stand out. It’s hard to dislike someone who has given you a compliment. But you must say the compliment in a sincere way, and when first greeting someone or saying goodbye. For example, at the end of a lunch when everyone is parting, reach over, touch the person on the arm and say discretely, “That is really a snappy tie.” If you sit through lunch quietly staring at them, and then blurt out suddenly, “I like your tie,” it will sound creepy and you may seem like a serial killer.

Flattery can backfire if you are not careful. I once mentioned to a woman who usually wore a hat that her hairstyle was attractive. I offended her as she had quite thin hair, and thought I was making fun of her. In actuality, I wish I had been, and now can use this as a backhanded compliment.

Good Flattery Subjects:






Bad Flattery Subjects:






What a Pig!

When I have really bad days, I consider Plan B. If all else fails, I can move into a trailer in the desert and collect rocks. Alternatively, I could follow the path of the "Pig Dude."

If you drive from Los Angeles to San Francisco along Interstate 5, you will pass Harris Ranch. This is a good place to stop for gas, buy sodas, or have lunch. Across the highway from Harris Ranch is a McDonald's. Behind the McDonald's at the edge of the desert is the "Pig Dude." That's what we call him, I don't know his actual name. He lives in a trailer sitting behind rows and rows of garden ceramic figurines. They are all neatly lined up according to theme. There is a religious section, a woodland creature section, the ethnically offensive section, and the pigs. You can buy a farmer pig, or a farmer's wife pig, even a police officer pig. The police one is probably a bad idea, and I put that in the "offensive" category.

I bought the farmer's wife. She has a cute dress and happy little hooves. Now she serves as our greeter by the front door. She scares some people and delights others. My grandfather always told me that "the fat hog gets slaughtered first" as a warning against being greedy. Our greeter pig reminds me of this every day.