Over the past year, students at a pair of schools earned kudos and attention simply for doling out compliments — in person and online. It is apparently part of a quietly growing trend.
At the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), a trio of first-year students have been spending each Monday afternoon on the school’s famed Bruin Walk praising passersby. The freshmen are known as “The Compliment Guys.” They have become famous on campus for firing off spirited bursts of sincere flattery to students while wearing colorful costumes.
As The Daily Bruin’s Suzy Strutner reported , “The group most commonly compliments T-shirts or eyes and . . . falls back on high fives when praise doesn’t come to mind speedily enough or crowds are overwhelming.”
The students are not part of a fraternity or other formal campus group. They are not raising money or awareness for a larger cause. They simply enjoy giving compliments– and hope others enjoy receiving them.
As Compliment Guy Aza Steel told Strutner, “It’s an involuntary bonding experience. UCLA is very fragmented. People are isolated in their social groups, and there isn’t much mingling. When we give compliments, it’s one of the few times people are receiving something just for being a student.”
Meanwhile, at James Madison University, senior Sam Edwards has been employing social media to help facilitate peer-to-peer praise. Over the past semester, Edwards ran JMU Compliments, a Facebook account that encouraged and enabled JMU students to send each other short complimentary messages. Students created the compliments, and Edwards publicly posted them, making sure to tag the recipients.
As The Daily Breeze reported , “Since Edwards began the account, he’s posted on it more than a thousand times, in which the word ‘love’ was the most used word, appearing around 500 times, according to a Facebook application. Currently, the profile has more than 3,000 Facebook ‘friends’ and is still growing.”
Edwards also doled out general messages of seize-the-moment positivity on a related Twitter page, such as “Forget the haters, you’re beautiful and awesome and you know it!”
He maintained the account anonymously, only recently revealing his identity to the Breeze because he is graduating and wants someone to keep JMU Compliments going. He has already been contacted by 10 students seeking to take his place. As he told the Breeze, “The highlight of the experience for me was being able to be a part of other people making each other happy,”
What do you think of all this Facebook and high-five flattery? Are compliments part of your campus culture? If not, what would be the best method for their delivery? And is there a particular student or student group best suited for singing others’ praises?
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