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When I was at home in August, one Sunday, on my way to church, a lady stopped me on the street and told me that I looked good. I was so flattered and that day I walked with a bounce in my step, not because I was showing off but because it had been a long time since someone had paid me a compliment. When you are so used to hearing criticism or being ignored (I don’t know which is worse), a smile or a simple sign of acknowledgement even from a total stranger can put a smile on your face for a very long time. I still smile when I remember that cold, Sunday morning. 
When is the last time you paid anybody a compliment? It could be someone you live with, a colleague or a total stranger on the street. It’s very easy for us to be critical of others. Compliments on the other hand are not the easiest to give.
But just think, how many times has someone said something nice to you when you were in a really bad mood and they ended up putting a smile on your face? Maybe that lady or gentleman you see on the street has been having such a hard time and all they need is a little pick-me-up that will give them the energy to carry themselves forward. I’m not saying that you go around paying everybody compliments. Do it genuinely, when you see something that really strikes you for instance a nice hairstyle, a good pair of shoes or a tie. And when you do pay other people compliments you will start receiving some yourself. 
One of the upsides, and downside, of living abroad is that wherever you go you become the centre of attention. You are bound to be noticed and talked about and talked to. Sometimes people will stare at you, or point fingers at you as they marvel at how different you are. But other times they come forward to talk to you, they ask how you did your braids or where you come from. Some even go ahead and engage you in a whole conversation. The attention you get is incredible. Back home however you are no longer a minority but a majority. You hardly get noticed unless you do something out of the ordinary, like opening your mouth to speak and your accent is somewhat different. I’m not advocating for you to do things just so that you get noticed, but pay attention to people you meet.
At first it may be difficult but you can start with people you are more familiar with like your housemates or the grocer. You don’t lose anything when you pay someone a compliment. Who knows, perhaps you’ll end up becoming good friends. 

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