I wrote this for our English conversation salon at Tamana Library.
I plan to travel all over the world and have many adventures, but no matter where I go, I will never be complimented as much as I have been here in Japan. The people here have been so polite and kind to me. People who are older and wiser than me are always telling me how smart I am, how nice I am, how handsome I am, how young I am, and how good my Japanese is. I really am not as smart, nice, handsome, young, and good at Japanese as they say, but I am very happy and grateful when they say it. It encourages me to work harder. It helps me to love myself and to be happy. It shows that they care about me, and it shows that they want me to be happy. I want to become as good at compliments as Japanese people are. I’ve been here two years, but I’m not there yet. I always forget to return compliments! I say “No, I’m not” or “Thank you,” but I should good things about them instead.
A good compliment shows a good heart. It shows you pay attention to other people and appreciate their company. It shows that you look for the good things in people, not the bad. In junior high school and high school, I often looked at the bad things in people and talked about those bad things with others. But in college, in church, I learned to ignore the bad and to nurture the good. If you tell a person about his good qualities and how much they mean to you, he will want to develop them more in the future. This is good for everyone!
It is important to be genuine, to say something you really see in a person rather than something that just sounds nice. A compliment that isn’t true is called flattery. If the other person thinks you are just flattering him, or saying the same thing to everyone, he won’t be as happy.
Sometimes I get into trouble when I give compliments to women. For example, I told a teacher “your necklace looks really nice,” and she said “Why didn’t you say that earlier?” I told a teacher “You look great today,” and another teacher said “What about me?” I think they are just kidding, but it’s tricky!
To close, thank you all for letting me come to your salon. I’m sorry I cannot hear your speeches this week. Because you come from all walks of life, and you have a lot of interesting experiences, I’m always interested in hearing what you have to say. You’re very original, and your humor is great, too! I hope this week is satisfying!