Monday, September 19, 2016

Fishing for compliments

I have never been any good at fishing, except when I fish for compliments. THEN I am all enthusiasm, baiting my hook and dangling it into the stream of Society waiting to hook a compliment. Considering, though, that I generally only lose the bait with no compliment to compensate for the loss, I ought to remove that qualification - I have never been any good at fishing, period! (Oh! I first wrote 'angling', instead of 'fishing', and ended up having nightmares of people accusing me either of not knowing my English or of spending days on the Thesaurus to find the most obscure words possible. Apparently, the phrase 'angling for compliments' is assumed to mean bending the body at right angles and begging for them - not 'fishing for compliments'.)

You know what - I have figured out why angling proves so unproductive in this (I know! I know! But I thought I had just told you what it meant, so you cannot complain about my making you hunt up a dictionary). It is just that people are so diffident. When you say, "I don't think I sang that very well", for example, you expect to hear, "No! That was a lovely rendition". What you get, though, is probably silence, if not enthusiastic agreement with what you said ('Yes! That was really pathetic singing' and things like that). It is not necessary that they agree with you, it is just that they do not want to set their own opinions above yours or they are too considerate to disagree with you.

I have tried and tried to tell them that disagreeing with me, when I am being uncomplimentary to myself, does not make them disagreeable to me, but to no avail. I mean, come on, there MAY be some people who are so wedded to their opinions that they will brook no opposition, even if it is complimentary to themselves, but everyone who knows me knows that I am not one of them, considering the way I salivate at even the thought of receiving a compliment but still...

You know, people can be real strange that way. This strange bashfulness for expressing a contrary opinion seems to work in a rather funny way. I mean, people are all too shy about disagreeing with you when YOU are being uncomplimentary to yourself but, comes that time when THEY feel you are being too complimentary to yourself, that shyness takes a holiday. Try saying that you did something extremely well, when they do not share that opinion, and you will hear "Says you" or "Only if you were a retarded 3 month old donkey" or "I think you need to check up on the meaning of 'extremely well'" and things like that. Not a sight or sound of the 'How can I hurt you by disagreeing with you' syndrome.

No, it is not that people do not like to compliment and prefer to put others down, though it may be true of some. Nor, indeed, is it because they foolishly think that you would love to have them agree with your denigrating yourself and hate to have them agree with your praising yourself.

I rather feel that it is because people think that you know yourself best BUT you are likely to project yourself in the rosiest light possible. So, when you compliment yourself, and they feel otherwise, they have more confidence in assuming that what YOU say of yourself is wrong. When you downplay yourself and they disagree, they think that, if THIS is the rosiest light in which you can see yourself, THEY must be wrong in seeing you as better than you, yourself, do.

Which is why, whenever you do fish for compliments, all that happens is that people swallow what you say of yourself hook, line and sinker and junk their own opinion.

AND, alas for me, I am the chap who writes what is called self-deprecatory humor...which, in effect, means that people may...MAY...laugh at the humor  but think of me as a joker.

I should take up fishing, instead. I am never going to hook compliments but, who knows, I may hook a fish some day.


  1. 'When you say, "I don't think I sang that very well", for example, you expect to say, "No! That was a lovely rendition". " Ha ha ha...I am always in the boat.. I wait and wait and nothing comes out ! Hah to be surrounded by people who dont want to disagree when u are just being modest. Bane of our lives, i tell u !

    1. Absolutely! Why are we always surrounded by such 'polite' people :)

  2. Hm.. Indeed. Modesty always blows up on the face, doesn't it?

  3. I would like to know how some have compliments pouring in for them.
    Are they perfect?How do they manage it?

    1. Perhaps they do not fish? :) Or they have managed to find the VERY few who actually yield to the fishing? :)