It’s a wonderful thing to give compliments but just like foreign languages, Americans don’t know what they are.  This is a “How To” guide to giving compliments, not only for Americans but for the people of the world.  I will list the essentials you will need in order to compliment even the most uncomplimentable.  Now remember, complimenting someone is just like cooking lasagna.  Get the ingredients right, and it will be a pleasurable evening.

Set the Tone: Assume the serious voice that is commonly used to say “we need to talk,” and reference a sensitive issue from the recent past.

Example:  “Remember when I secretly had that poppy seed ‘energy’ bar made and I gave it to your sister right before she competed in Vancouver this past winter?  I swear I didn’t think it would work.  But that incident got me thinking…”

Reasons this is good: The voice prepares him or her for something bad, and something bad does come up — you deliberately made him or her mad or sad so your compliment could make them happy again.  You have his or her attention.

Bigger is Not Better: Only say something that you wouldn’t mind doing if you really had to.  Forget the crap you hear on the radio and in poetry.  We’ve heard the song lyric “I would walk 500 miles” — this is a bad thing to say.  The bar of love is raised too high.  If the bar is continually raised, people will become unsatisfied in life. Bus drivers would spit in your face, clocks would stop ticking, threads in clothes would fall apart, and the mullet would come back into style.  Keep the bar low to make it easier on fellow lovers, and ensure the mullet stays dead.

Example:  “I’d give up watching those stupid infomercials that I stay up all night watching if it meant that we could make out for like twelve minutes straight with optional water breaks, not only to lubricate our lips but also to hydrate ourselves because although making out can occur while laying down, which is the typical position that one sleeps in, it is a physical activity that requires energy and when I use energy I tend to sweat, and when I sweat I get thirsty.  Therefore I’m thinking ahead about the optional water breaks.  That is assuming I give up watching those infomercials I hate.”

Reasons this is good: you would neither die nor be greatly discomforted by giving up the infomercials because you don’t even like them; you express your desire to make out, and honesty is key to a solid relationship; you show the person that you care for his or her welfare in regard to keeping his or her lips lubricated (because even if you initially only thought about whether your own lips would chap, the water break would include the other person’s lips too).

Honesty: Say something blatantly true that she cannot deny.  You are establishing trust.  Love is built on trust.

Example:  “I would rather sit in the shade with you and drink lemonade while [his or her favorite band] plays for us than mow this lawn because it is nearly 100 degrees and my skin is extremely sensitive to UV rays.  Also I’d rather not work.”

If there is a possibility that she may not believe you because you two just had a fight or because you are a pathological liar, step up your game.  Make the alternative so terrible that it is logical for you to choose her.  Possible options for the alternative to him or her are suffering bodily dismemberment, disease, bankruptcy, public humiliation which results in the loss of your job and your pride, losing the capacity to speak at an appropriate level, having a purple cloud float over your head for an hour after you released gas, or even being disowned by your family because you didn’t finish your Thanksgiving meal.

Long, Long, Long: Everyone is their own favorite subject, so your compliment is talking about the person until even s/he is tired.

If during your compliment s/he falls asleep, you have succeeded because s/he felt so comfortable that s/he chose you to watch over them while they went unconscious and were vulnerable.  But don’t feel obligated to watch over them.  That’s not your responsibility.

If she or he tells you to stop talking, remember that you are talking about him or her, which is his or her favorite subject, and this is a empty request.  Of course s/he doesn’t want you to stop talking but s/he feels compelled to do it, just like saying thank you while being served food.  Without the food, s/he would die.  Your compliment is what keeps him or her alive.