Tuesday, July 27, 2010

This is why I don't have friends

You may not know this about me but I suffer from a rare condition knows as Compliment Dysfunction Syndrome.  This painful condition renders me unable to give or receive compliments like a normal person. Of course it's a real thing!  I offer the following example as proof.

Yesterday Elle was at soccer practice and I was sitting on the sidelines.  I noticed how cute the little boy of the woman sitting next to me was.  I thought to myself that perhaps I should try to talk to this woman and tell her how cute her kid was.  Try as I could though I couldn't find a good way to start a conversation with this person I didn't know and had never spoken to before.  I suppose I could have just jumped in and talked to her without planning it our first but I know that if I had I would have ended up lurching towards her all Frankenstein like saying "Cute kids good!  FIRE BAD!" and that is not a good way to start a conversation.  So I just said nothing.

Then, not three minutes later, the woman started talking to me.  We made small talk for a couple of minutes and then she said the words that stopped me dead in my tracks.  "Your daughter is so cute."

My mind raced.  How should I respond to that?  The only two things I came up with made me sound insincere ("Oh yeah, your kid is totally cute too and I totally mean that and I'm not just saying that because you said it first.  For reals.") or like a total creeper ("Your kid is so cute too!  I noticed it as soon as you got here and I was just sitting here planning out the best way to tell you how cute I think your kid is!").

So I said nothing.  I think I sort of muttered a quick thanks but that's the most I could come up with.  I know it was rude and that wasn't how I meant to come across but this damned Compliment Dysfunction Syndrome left me able to give a return compliment.

Any advice?  How do I give a compliment in a way that won't make the other person fear that I'm going to lunge at them and start stroking their hair? 

One year ago today people in LA really liked fiber. 
Five years ago today I thought about the differences between raising adopted and birth children and Jesse did some weird first aid for a black eye.


Barbara said...

It's pretty easy I think when it comes to kids, I get told how cute my baby girl is all the time. I just say thank you and chit-chat a bit, and "I was just thinking the same thing about your son" would have been fine and not Frankensteinish :)

I know what you mean though, the lady I work with at one of my clients is great. Her personality is a perfect mesh for mine and I just knew we could be good friends, but was worried it'd be awkward if I tried to be friends with a client. So we just chatted when I was on site for issues. Well she asked me to go to lunch with her one day and we've been very good friends ever since. Thankfully she asked though, because I was a chicken and avoided the potential awkwardness. I do feel more comfortable though telling a mother her child/baby/etc is adorable when I have my own with me and striking up a conversation. Something about having a kid with you makes you more of a co-conspirator rather than a random freak. At least that's the way it seems to me.

Anonymous said...

We all get tongue tied at times... just be friendly. A brief, "thank you, she's wonderful...and then "tell me about your son, he is so cute with that..... hair....just pick out a feature to comment on in a positive way....

Love you,

MIL Judy