Welcome to The Epic! I am launching this blog as a manifesto for and a guide to living well. The title and motto of the blog are taken from the Epicureans, at least some of whom believed in the notion that not one minute of the future was guaranteed to them and that as a result they had the duty to live life to its fullest every moment.

I believe in discovering fun and pleasurable things wherever I find myself each day and I am told I have a knack for unearthing them. My hope is that by sharing in my pleasures and some of my ways of finding them you will begin to collect all the riches that lie in the moments of your life. They are there. Take them! All our lives should be.....Epic.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Power of a Compliment

One of my interpersonal initiatives of late has been of paying a compliment when it is due. How many of us get a compliment during the daily shuffle?

My concomitant effort is to sincerely inquire about a person's day. An Irish barman I know showed me the value of this simple gift last year. In mid-winter. A howling Manhattan wind made even my Wisconsin blood frost. My face a rigid mask, I (shockingly) found myself pushing open the door of a pub. Whereupon the barman looked at me with genuine concern and said "How're you keepin'?" The friendly concern, and the Powers whiskey, warmed me right up. I can't effect the accent to ask of someone's wellbeing in the Irish way, but I think it is well worth while to make the inquiry. One day last week, for example. A waitress at lunch asked me how I was doing. I replied and then sincerely asked her how her day was coming along. She grinned and said "Fine, now that you mention it. And thank you so much for asking".

I have found this sort of response to be very common when you simply show interest in another person's day. People are so happy that you give a damn. Try it. Spread the love. It costs nothing. But it brings a small moment of joy to others. And it is a funny thing. The moments of joy you give to others tend to bounce right back to you.

How ARE you keepin', anyhow?


Belle (from Life of a...) said...

I try to do the same thing...and you are correct (and I know you KNEW you were) that the look on a person's face when you ask them how they are give just a small compliment is priceless.

M.Lane said...

Belle, I agree completely.


The Daily Connoisseur said...

So true... I think in our culture we have overused the phrases "how are you?" and "have a nice day?" and somehow they have been stripped of all of their meaning. But when met with someone who genuinely wants to know- you can tell every time.

I am keeping well, thank you very much!

heavy tweed jacket said...

Been busy of late, but good. Thanks. This is a wonderful post and a reminder that sincere greetings can open the way to renewing and deepening relationships.

Me said...

it's so true. when you do sincerely ask how someone's day is, there's a certain look of almost shock on their face that you really care and that you really want to know. another true-to-life post. always a pleasure to read.

and i'm keepin' well, thank you. how about yourself? :-)

M.Lane said...

Thanks everyone! I'm keepin darn well right now.


Anonymous said...

On a similar note - be sure to shake hands with people as much as you can. It quite often will make a dramatic difference in the recipient's day, possibly because it's unexpected.

Easy and Elegant Life said...

Well said. And good for you.

I make it a point of always looking a cashier, waiter or whomever has asked after my disposition, directly in the eye, smiling and saying "Very well, thank you. And how are you today?"

Given the reactions, I take it that this does not happen everyday. Even here in the "genteel" South.