One of the biggest problems I have seen that has an impact on people’s communication skills and the experiences that they have with others is their ability to criticize much, while keeping praises and complements to a minimum. In my experience, what has strengthened many of my relationships is my ability to give out more compliments than criticisms. I try to find genuine reasons to give a compliment. Most people will know if you are making things up. It is usually much easier to find what is wrong with a person and how they do things differently from you, than it is to see the positives and similarities.
Begin to condition yourself to start giving everyone that you need to criticize five compliments for every criticism. You may be criticizing someone because you genuinely care about the person and as the saying goes, “faithful are the wounds of a friend…”xiii You may really be trying to help, but you and the person you are communicating with will be much better served if you follow up that much needed criticism with some compliments. Also, keep in mind that you don’t have to criticize someone before you give them a compliment. In fact, you should compliment people often. Learn to compliment people as a normal part of your day. I’m not saying to be fake, but rather find real reasons to give someone a genuine compliment. This will teach you to find the good in everyone, because there is good in everyone, even if you don’t always think that there is.