Nineteen years ago I came home from a business trip, gave my husband Bill a huge hug and kiss, and immediately tiptoed into each of the kids’ bedrooms for goodnight hugs and kisses.
After all the loving, I went back to my hubbie and said, “You really got a lot done. Seems like the kids did their homework, dinner is cleaned up, and everything looks great. Too bad you don’t do that when I am home.”
I got a well-deserved dirty look because I gave what I often refer to as a “boomerang compliment.” A boomerang compliment is tricky. It seems like a compliment, but it’s really not. It starts off like it’s going in the right direction, but then it comes back and hits you smack in the face.
Here are some more examples of boomerangs:
“The sales presentation went well. I only wish you had used it with the Gordon group. Maybe then we wouldn’t have lost the sale.”
“I like the new filing system. It would have been even better if you had put it in place when I first asked you to do so.”
“Thanks for taking out the trash. Maybe you won’t need to be told 5 times next week.”
While you may mean well, a boomerang compliment has the opposite effect from making someone feel good. Give your compliment and STOP. You will both be glad you did!