One day, someone said to himself, “You know what the Internet needs? Memes of strange, clever little compliments on a pastel template.” And so Daily Odd Compliment was born (at least, this is how it happened in my mind). Thousands of people like and share these memes Facebook, tagging various friends, significant others, and secret crushes to award the compliment to them.
The idea is wonderful. Some of the compliments are quite funny. But I’ve noticed recently that they’ve gotten a bit…similar. As I was reading recently, I wondered who the speaker was complimenting: the other person . . . or himself?
I decided to do a little research. By which I mean I went through the 30 most recent Daily Odd Compliments and counted pronouns, comparing the occurrences of you/your/yours to I/me/mine/my.
Final Score: 49 “you”s to 80 “me”s.
Maybe it’s just me, but I find that a little off-balance for a site that’s supposed to be about complimenting others.
But anyone who knows anything about statistics will tell you that this isn’t always an accurate way to measure things. So here are some examples of “me”-centered compliments.
But, you say, there are hundreds of these on the site. You probably just picked the worst ones to post here.
Nope. These were from the 20 most recent posts when I wrote this blog. And I didn’t show you another 5 of these that I also classified as blatantly selfish from that same set. So 50% of the compliments were more focused on me than you.
Yes, they’re supposed to be funny. I write satire blog posts occasionally, and know what it’s like to have some serious person not get the joke. But, come on. 50% of compliments like this? How often do I have to drag my own virtues, even jokingly, into something posing as a compliment before you start to wonder who this compliment is really all about?
At first, I was extremely annoyed by this and wanted to go off on a rant about how the generation that invented the “selfie” is so narcissistic that even compliments become self-focused. I probably would have blamed it on social media and stupid pop singers and a culture that elevates fame and success above intelligence and actual contribution to society because of Photoshop and Hollywood and good grief, people, stop taking Buzzfeed quizzes, write someone an actual letter about the real, non-TV things you’re doing in your life, and eat something that doesn’t come out of a box!
Then I thought about my last 30 lunchtime conversations. What if someone had counted up the number of times I used I/me/my/mine compared to you/your/yours?
I have a feeling the percentage would be just as bad, if not worse.
It’s easy for me to talk about me and tell stories about me and direct the conversation toward things I find interesting.
But talking about you means I have to actually remember stuff about you from past conversations and let you do most of the contributing and risk the fact that I might not care about what you’re saying. Who wants to do that? Not me.
Probably the worst of it is, as a Christian, this is what I’m called to do: to put others before myself. (Stupid greatest commandments.)
It’s hard to rant against this generation when you realize you’re a member of it, part of the problem.
Hypocrisy. Gets me every time.
Sometime, stop and do a word count on yourself. How many words do you use to encourage others and get to know them compared to the words you spend making people see you in a certain way or talking about yourself?
There is a time and place for a rant. But sometimes a resolution is a better choice.
Now, go stop taking Buzzfeed quizzes, write someone a letter, and eat something that doesn’t come out of a box.