There are so many people out there that, for any little problem, issue, or whatever, will offer a friend on blog/LJ/whatever some *hugs*. Now some of these are genuinely meant. They come from people who really care about you, who would be there for you if they could, would come over and give you a real hug if possible for no other reason than you need one and they want to give it to you because dammit, they hate seeing you in distress.
This isn't about those people.
No, I'm talking about those people who sit there on their fat arses, not thinking or caring about you at any other time than for the few moments it takes them to read through their friends list. The people who don't actually care about you, but you've had an upset or disaster and they feel they need to look nice - so they offer a *hugs*. Maybe if they are feeling particularly motivated, they'll precede it with a 'sorry to hear it' as well, just to show they really care more than the others.
And now, thanks to them, I find myself not wanting to send *hugs* any more. Every time I go to send them, there's a pause, a moment where I think "but will they know this comes from the heart?"
I hate this because I only send *hugs* to people who I would hug. The people where, even if I don't contact them because I'm a slack bastard, I do think about them when I'm away from the computer. Those arseholes who type *hugs* for every friggin' person's smallest woe shit me to tears, because it cheapens the thought for the rest of us. They have no meaning, no worth, because they've been mass-produced by the mindless fucking blog-drones that care for you oh-so-greatly for the two seconds it takes them to write before they go searching for more porn or slash fiction.
I want to stab each and every one of them through the eye... then send them a *hugs*, just to enjoy the cruel irony. Oh yes, let these fuckers weep tears of blood as they sit on their fat, pimply backsides, typing about how some mad bastard just removed their depth perception... and all their worthless blog buddies who only think of them for the time it takes them to read the piece, hit six keys and press 'send', will send more *hugs* to go with mine.
Yeah, because that'll make it all better.
The only people I hate more, the ones I loathe and detest even more than those microsecond best friends, are the sad-sack wannabe Romeos. Oh yes, those suave fucking blowflies that wait with baited breath for the posts where a girl they fancy complains about something the guy in her life has done. With one hand on their priapismic cocks, they look for the cracks and they begin to try to widen them with a *hugs* for every post where she expresses the slightest unhappiness. And they sit back dreaming of the day when they can make their move over the still warm corpse of the relationship.
They are so simple, so fucking dim-witted, they think this is how they will win the girl away from this other guy. They don't want to write too much, because then it may be obvious. They rarely want to risk saying anything against the current beau, in case it backfires. So they offer the single, oh-so-very sensitive and I-feel-your-pain *hugs*
You know? The twenty-three women in the world who are stupid enough to fall for that fucking deserve you. But the rest of the universe knows what you're doing. We know you don't fucking mean it! When you send your messages we groan and roll our eyes! Oh, we know you'd give them genuine hugs. No doubt there. Of course you would, holding them close as your mind is thinking about the most genuine sounding thing you can say to prove you're more caring than the other guy - all the while wondering if she swallows.
Maybe when you're sure the relationship is in real trouble, you can drop the "He doesn't appreciate you *hugs*" into a comment. All the while hoping when she reads it that that'll be the moment she gets moist and thinks, "No he doesn't... but you do! Oh my God! Here, let me send you naked pictures!"
I've sat there with women after they've poured out their heart or simply vented on LJ. Most can tell the *hugs* that come from the people who really care, and the ones from those who are trying to score points. The only good thing about your sad efforts is that it sometimes affords some amusement.
So enough with the *hugs* ok? The world is full of enough false sentiment without you bastards adding to it. Here's my thought. Acronyms! People love them on here! LOL! ROFLMAO! Lets try to get a little honesty on the interwebby. So, here are my suggestions -
*IOOSTAN* (I'm only offering support to appear nice)
*SWHAGWM* (Split with him and get with me)
Say what you mean and leave the *hugs* for those of us that are genuine.
One of the things I love, one of the special little joys that make my day extra lovely, is having the chance to offer somebody a compliment. It really is one of the highpoints for me.
I'm lucky. I keep my eyes open for the things I like, and enjoy them where I find them. So when I see someone who looks nice, I appreciate them, be that simple admiration or full-on perve. If someone's wearing a cool watch or nice jewellery, I enjoy the item. If someone has done something I liked, I do my best to soak it in, hold onto the joy.
And when I experience these things, I try to say something. After being served at the supermarket, nothing makes my day more than the delighted smile on the cashier's face because I've taken the extra few moments to pause and tell her that I liked her earrings. For a few moments she's pulled away from work, from dealing with another faceless customer, and has been told that something about her is special. It's cost me nothing and brightened her day.
It's harder to compliment guys. Guys fashions aren't that interesting, most guys dress in a boring manner, etc. That said, I have complimented a number of punks on some really cool mohawks over the years. Some people just look great with a good 'hawk.
I don't offer compliments for the sake of it. I don't see the point. It makes my words meaningless and I don't want that. I only compliment when I experience something that touches me in the right way. It doesn't have to be big, but it does have to strike me as worth a mention. I'm not going to tell someone their shirt is nice if it's ordinary. Part of what makes giving the compliment worthwhile is that I get to share my joy and enthusiasm with the person. And because it's honest, they usually pick up on that and take it at face value.
Complimenting people on who they are or on their looks is a hard one. There's a lot of folks out there that use compliments as a way to ingratiate themselves in order to achieve some sort of goal or agenda. I hate this. I hate it because once it's been done to a person enough, they view every bit of praise through a filter - 'Why did they say that? What do they want?'
I've seen that look in someone's eyes when I've said something nice. That momentary "what is he after?' is there, even as they thank you. With people I don't know, I usually deliver parting compliments. Say something nice just as we're about to move apart so even if they are suss, they aren't in a position to wonder what I'm after. I don't know how well it works, but I hope that the end result is at least a 'well, he didn't have to say it, maybe he meant it.'
With some people I know, the issues are lessened. With someone I've some history with, I can drop in many of the compliments as they occur to me. They may still think I'm buttering them up, but hopefully past experience will show that I tend to speak my mind. I rant and rave when I'm annoyed, I appreciate and enthuse when I'm happy.
With other friends, especially women, the issues are increased. I love deeply and easily. I love my friends and I fall deeply in love with some people. Some notice, some don't. But I'm always self conscious when complimenting someone I find extra-attractive or who is special to my heart in some way. Part of that is just being a little embarrassed. And part is the worry that they will think I'm after something.
Yes, naturally some of these are people I want to screw or snuggle with, I find them attractive! But the compliments come from what I see and experience, the things that make them special to me as people in the first place. My desire for them would be unlikely to exist without those elements. It's the person bringing the compliments forth, instead of my own lust manipulating me into using compliments for sexual gain.
In some ways my poor self esteem gives me a little freedom, because I assume that there's no way they'll ever want to shag me. So giving a woman that extra appreciation is actually kind of safe - In my mind I've nothing to gain so I've nothing to lose by telling them. At the same time, there may be many things I want to tell them about themselves, all the little ways in which I find them special, that I hold off on. Some of that is because it can be a little overwhelming for some folks, and some is I'm afraid they'll start to think it's insincere, or that I am building up for an attempt to push things further.
I should mention that there are women who get me aroused just by talking to them. We can be talking safe tread depth on tires and their minds sparkle in ways that go straight to my libido. And what can I say? "Your brain gets me hard." WTF? I might get away with it, but what of the many women over the years who I wanted to compliment on beautiful breasts, or a great bum? You simply can't do it. It's not considered polite or socially acceptable. And of course, generally speaking if a guy is saying 'Gee you've got nice tits' it's a feeble attempt to get somewhere.
I've always found it frustrating that I'm 'allowed' to praise shoes, hair, a smile, but if someone walks by with a gorgeous backside, telling her that her arse is perfect is awkward at best.
One friend recently gave me permission to compliment her breasts. This had the effect of making me vastly more relaxed around her than I ever expected to be. It is one of the most wonderful freedoms I have ever been given! It's like a new door opening - A female friend who I can just be honest with when something about her is pressing my buttons. Strangely, I don't think I've complimented her boobs, but I have ended up making more openly appreciative comments on her as a person and other areas of her body I find attractive.
One of the nice things about the people I've had as lovers is that that gives me the freedom to compliment them. We're already shagging, I've nothing more to gain by talking about how wonderful they are. And I get to compliment minds and body parts with equal joy.
One of the more socially unacceptable things that I sometimes get the urge to do is to go up to a complete stranger and offer them a compliment. Someone's got on great clothes, or they have amazing hair, or they are just really beautiful to me, and I so want to go up and say something. Again, what you can say is limited by social mores and people's expectations. I saw a young woman walking down the street in a business suit. She's not the sort that most people would think of as good-looking, but she had my tastes nailed and to me she looked stunning. Utterly gorgeous. And I was so taken with the desire to go up and simply tell her that she looked really amazing.
And I couldn't do it.
Partially it was embarrassment, but partially it was the idea of this shambling hairy little bastard on his walking stick wandering up and offering a compliment. I couldn't see any way to make it work. Even the idea of walking off straight afterwards so there was no way she could feel I was after something more didn't work.
But I've since had an idea - cards. On those rare occasions when I see someone I don't know from Adam and feel the urge to say something nice, I go up and do it and then hand them a card. It would say something like this -
You have just been complimented by a complete stranger.
It is genuinely meant, there is no ulterior motive, no agenda.
I simply wanted to let you know that something about you touched me and made my day a little brighter.
I hope I've done the same for you.
Maybe they'll keep the card for themselves, or to show people when they tell them about the day a weird little guy came up and said they looked great. Maybe they'll just throw it away. Or maybe at some point they'll see someone who touched them in some way, dig the card out and give it to them with a few nice words.
I like that idea. It would be such a nice world if this sort of thing happened more.
Of course I've talked here only about giving compliments, getting them is nice too, but I'm still not terribly good at it. Still, I no longer do the automatic denial -
Jennifer Connelly: You look nice, Danny.
Me: No I don't.
Or Basic Avoidance -
Britney Spears: You look stunning in those shorts.
Me: So... What do you think of the statue by Daniel Edwards?
Aggressive avoidance -
Lameo the Lamest Person in the World: Nice car.
Avoidance by comparison -
His Holiness the Pope: I liked that clip you put together.
Me: Have you seen the one my dog did? It's fabulous.
And of course, the flaw-finding -
Neil Gaiman: I really liked that story, it was great!
Me: It was over-long, and I buggered up the ending. And what would you know?
It's taken me years to learn to take a compliment, and I'm still not good at it. But I usually manage to choke out a shy "Thank you" in response. Part of it is I feel it so deeply I don't know how to respond. I rarely feel I'm worthy of the praise.
Learning to accept a compliment graciously is important. It's important for ourselves, but it's also important to the person giving you the praise. If you think about it, shooting down, ignoring or avoiding any compliment is actually quite insulting to the person offering it. You're basically saying they are wrong and insulting their taste or opinion.
Never assume any motive beyond the honest one unless you know better. There are too few kind or supportive words offered to you over a lifetime, take the ones you're given and hold them to your heart. No matter what you believe of yourself, some people may actually think you're kind of special, and all they want to do is show you that, if only for a moment.
And if you let them, you may make two people just that little bit happier.