Normalizing Male Compliments

In today's day and age, our follows, likes, and comments lie beneath a shining spotlight for the whole world to see. Everything we do and say is seemingly at the fingertips of our peers for judgment, whether that be in a positive or negative light. We consistently feel these pressures in our daily lives as we search for meaning and affirmation. In essence, compliments serve an immense role in our lives that is often glossed over. Compliments provide a sense of security and encourage comfort in our environment. I am not trying to state that compliments are the end-all-be-all because many types of compliments rely on societal expectations of what is deemed "normal" and "cool." However, I do believe that compliments are essential to our self-esteem and well-being as individuals. 

 

The hyper-masculine culture ever present on our campus and society interestingly impacts the usage of male-to-male compliments, or dare I say the lack thereof. In my personal experience, the act of complimenting another male is an interesting task, to say the least. You don't want to come off as being too nice, as this can come off as being "vulnerable" or not being "tough" enough. Men try to avoid applauding their beauty/style since men frantically avoid expressing admiration towards one another (or rationalize compliments by saying "no-homo" to justify their intent). Men's consistent search for authority, self-reliance and strength leads them away from supporting the male figures surrounding them. 

 

To live a happier and healthier life, I believe that it is essential for men to realize how irrational such behavior truly is. Complimenting your male peers is necessary to show you care for them and does not make you seem less "cool." Through compliments, male-to-male friendships will grow in new dimensions as the positive reinforcement is a natural component to social comfort. In essence, I hope we can step towards normalizing male compliments in an attempt to rewrite societal norms attributed to men. Simply acknowledging someone's appearance, ability or accomplishments will not damage your image. Instead, this will help men build a network of support through authenticity and vulnerability. At the end of the day, compliments, in general, are good. 

 

Make sure you make an effort to live life the way you want today, and complement someone along the way.