Are you good at giving compliments?
I used to be horrible at it, until I decided to work on it. Today, it’s one of my favorite ways to connect with people, and a little while ago I took it to extremes!
On my vacation last week I went to an incredible event in the Nevada desert, and met tons of fantastic people doing this one simple challenge.
The event I was at is called Burning Man, and to try to describe it would take more words than I would be able to fit into one email. But in a nutshell, it is a city built in the middle of a desert for one week of every year. There’s art, workshops, seminars, music, parties, and anything else you can think of.
And all kinds of people come there.
This year I met people from Israel, Luxembourg, Sweden, Germany, England, India and more. Emma Watson (Hermoine herself) visited my camp bar one night, and rumor has it that Elon Musk flew in for his traditional visit.
While the art, workshops, music and so on is all great – my personal favorite thing about this event is meeting the people there.
But since I travel there with my wife and we have somewhere between 40 and 50 other friends who attend every year, it’s easy to get sucked into familiarity. So this year I decided to spend at least one of my nights there alone – exploring and meeting people on my own.
And I decided that the way I was going to do that was to give 100 compliments to 100 strangers in one night.
Did I succeed?
I have no idea. I lost count early on. But I definitely reached my goal of spreading joy, creating connections out of nothing, and leaving with memories for life.
The challenge is simple. Go out and give compliments to complete strangers. It can be their outfit, their hair, their smile, their energy, their dancing, the act of kindness you observed, the skill they’re demonstrating – it does not matter.
All you are aiming to do is give the compliments, and then you can freely move on to the next one – unless you feel inspired to stay and chat with them for longer.
Don’t do it to get something back, don’t do it to impress the attractive ones, don’t do it to get laid. Do it because it is a nice, fun thing to do.
As I walked down the sandy streets of Black Rock City on my own, I was on the lookout for anything that I would like, and when I saw something I simply walked up to the person in question and told them.
“I really like your coat, where did you get that?”
“I saw you dance, and I love all your energy!”
“Thank you for returning that guy’s phone when he dropped it, I love honest people.”
While some people simply gave me a superficial smile and a “thanks”. Others lit up. Some blushed. Some grinned. Some gave me hugs. Some asked me my name. Some returned a compliment. Some invited me to share in their drinks or snacks. Some wanted to sit and talk with me.
Throughout the night I connected with all kinds of people. Men, women, young, old, sober and not. And while some, I’m sure, wondered what my motives were – all of them were nice and polite, and most were happy and excited.
The conversations I had, the connections I made, and the adventures I experienced with complete strangers are my favorite memories of an incredible week.
And all it took was for me to let people know what I appreciated about them. To share with them what I liked. To be open, to not worry about what they would think or say, to not discriminate and hold back from connecting with anyone – no matter who they were.
And I want to extend the same challenge to you.
Go out there and compliment strangers. Aim for as many as you can in one day. Challenge yourself, exit your comfort zone and create adventure.
And after you do, send me an email and tell me about it. Anyone who does will get to pick one of three bonuses/gifts that I will give them for free.
PS: This challenge will go a long way towards building your social confidence and skill. But if you want to take it even further even faster, check this out.