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Duce's Wild: The resurgence of old-fashioned compliments

Published: Thursday, Aug. 23 2012 5:00 a.m. MDT

Move over Mr. Darcy! Today's teens are sharing compliments more than ever and creating better, more appropriate relationships in the process.

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Despite the risks of uninhibited texting and messaging, I’m surprised every time I read my teens’ texts back and forth by the large volume of … get this … compliments!

I dare call it a resurgence of Victorian manners among a bunch of New Age techno-savvy hooligan teens. Just like the rest of us who endured awkward social conversations with sweaty palms and stuttering during different decades, today’s kids have easier outlets to honestly and kindly express themselves.

I’ve seen the dark side as well when sexually charged ideas are shared inappropriately, but I’m overridden with hope by the evidence of good at the other end of the spectrum.

My daughter’s friend recently posted a Facebook picture on the day her braces were removed, and within an hour she had 52 people “like” her new smile.

In the old days, we had to wait until returning to school from summer break for a few people to bravely say, “There’s something different about you” if we had a similar transformation.

My 16-year-old daughter was invited on a date with a boy she met at a regional youth conference. It’s an hour commute for him to come and take her to dinner and so their dates end earlier in the evening. Before she went to bed the other night, he sent her a text thanking her for the date, telling her she was very pretty and that he would be honored to take her out again in the future.

Move over, Mr. Darcy.

I think I went my entire high school career with barely a “ …. (stammer, stammer, grunt, grunt) huh, you look, huh, nice. I like your dress.”

And that was for prom.

Almost all my high school and college dates were with gentlemen whose mothers taught them well, but verbal compliments were just so complicated to utter.

I wasn’t very good at giving compliments either. I could have thanked my dates so much more than I did for the nice dinners, fun hikes, amazing concerts or horseback rides. I relied too much on friends, family and blind-date arrangers to give positive feedback to the poor guy.

So kudos to all the teens out there who compliment unabashedly through texts, tweets and social networking posts. Congratulations to those who think twice before impulsively sending messages with sexual innuendos, unidentifiable sarcasm and inappropriate comments.

It’s a new day when good old-fashioned manners are resurging electronically, and I hope I’m not too old to jump aboard and live a more grateful life by sharing compliments in various forms.

Stacie Lloyd Duce is a columnist and magazine editor featured regularly in several Montana and Utah publications. Her columns appear Thursdays on desnews.com. Email: duceswild7@gmail.com

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