There is nothing pretty about my very good friend Casey. Neither her name, face, skin, body, nor hair are attractive. Her house is the ugliest house in our neighborhood. Even her car is ugly. She does not have great taste in what she wears, how she decorates her house, or even her choice of a career or mate. However, she does have a beautiful baby. Wherever she goes, people rave about her baby. That’s the problem. People – including Casey – can’t believe she has such a beautiful baby. Strangers stop and stare in amazement saying, “Wow, what a beautiful child,” as though wondering how such a conventionally un-pretty woman could possibly have such a beautiful baby. What should we be saying to Casey instead?
–L.G., Baltimore, MD
What to say about baby?
Most everybody loves a baby and even when the baby isn’t so pretty or handsome we tend to gush about its looks by predicting that she looks intelligent and he looks like a football player or ‘bruiser.’
Soon there will be other ways to praise the parents and encourage the child when you see him or her riding their scooter, tossing a basketball through the hoop or speaking in sentences. Look for other words to express your approval and admiration.
Apparently, the hormone oxytocin, produced by the hypothalamus gland (the size of an almond size it connects the brain stem that links the nervous system to the endocrine), increases good feelings in adults when they interact, or even see, a baby. Instead of dwelling on the baby’s attractiveness, say something such as, “She looks so intelligent (or alert),” take the emphasis off of how handsome the child is, because looks aren’t everything.
The most successful people aren’t necessarily the best looking.
Whether or not you are the parent, take another approach by playing with the child, which will help to develop the skills needed for a healthy social life.
Try being playful. Even if it is “peek-a-boo, I see you,” when staring into the stroller of an alert baby.
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Accepting A Compliment