Thursday, December 20, 2012
By Ela Newman
Instructor in Developmental Writing and in ESL
University of Texas at Brownsville
Advice about Compliments … the Surprise of the Hour
“Well, at least they have a healthy pile of magazines I can shuffle through,” I consoled myself after hearing that it would be a bit longer before the doctor could see me. Passing over the monthlies dealing with sports, cars, and teenage-hood, I settled on a magazine concerning lifestyles–and that’s where I found the surprise of the hour… an article entitled 10 Things Your Mother Never Taught You, which included a section on how to take a compliment.
“Really?” I thought, questioning the piece’s relevance to the average American audience. To my at-least-somewhat-assimilated mind (which has lived in the US for about ten years now), most Americans seem to accept compliments almost automatically.
Responses to Compliments… Spitting
As I began to read the section, I recalled having to adjust my reactions to compliments when I relocated to the US. In Poland, where I was raised, people almost invariably downgrade or even reject compliments. Reading on, I found mention of someone’s relatives who, in the face of a compliment, spat three times in order to avoid bad luck.
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