Discounts Don’t Count

6 Dec 2021

“Thank you,” I said, “You’ve been a great help.”

“I didn’t do much,” she said.

“You did exactly what I needed, when I needed it,” I said, smiling, “And I’m grateful.”

How often do we have conversations like this? My friend really did deliver the help I needed when I needed it. She was right, she didn’t do much, but it was nevertheless all I needed, all I asked for – it was perfect.

When we weaken a compliment or a statement of gratitude by dismissing it as ‘nothing’ or ‘only a little thing’, some psychologists call this a ‘discount’. It reduces the value both of the gift of the compliment and the energy of the interaction. This is very British but I suspect the habit has spread worldwide.

You know me, I’m not going to write a blog to put you or me down for rejecting compliments! No, instead, let’s be curious and notice if we do it too, then have some fun. If we catch ourselves beginning to moderate a compliment, let’s go the other way – thanking them for the compliment and then adding something else!

Here’s an example. I’ve got a Fuchsia Fedora at the moment. It matches the fuchsia in my beard (fuchsia, deep royal blue, and silvery in its current incarnation.) The hat gets compliments – so does the beard. Next time I get a, “Love the hat!” cheerful greeting, I’ll say, “Thank you! I chose it to match the beard!” I don’t think that’s bragging and I bet it will start a fun conversation.

Have fun… now I’m off to think about how I can add a festive touch to my new look!


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