You’re doing your job and minding your own business, and then suddenly somebody comes up saying, “Oh, that’s very beautiful, you should do it more often.” Then you will feel shy and flattered.
Are you going to buy into this? This article will unmask every motive in flattery, so that everyone will be able to know how to properly deal with it.
Face 1: Positive Reinforcement
“Positive reinforcement is a delivery of a pleasant or appetive stimulus that follows a behavioral response.”(Atkinson and Hilgard’s Introduction to Psychology)
Example situation: When you’re just a little kid, have you experienced your parents praise you at something, even if you’re not really good in it?
This kind of flattery is mostly done by the parents, superiors or the bosses. There’s nothing wrong with this kind of flattery especially if the ones who utter those flowery words are the ones who are really believable. The motive of the sender, is to give a positive reinforcement so that the receiver will have the motivation to do things better.
Face 2: Hidden Jealousy or Insecurity
Example situation: Let’s say that you’re an all-rounder in school, and then your classmate comes up, praises you thickly until he or she gets into your head.
This kind of flattery is something that you must not fall into. Everybody wants to feel special and it’s a human nature. Nobody could easily say that others are better than him/her especially if he/she sees you as a competition, not unless he/she wants something from you or he/she admires you.
Just in case you encounter a situation like this, just say thank you and don’t let those words get into your head.
Face 3: Trap or Hidden Agenda
Example situation: You’re at the salon having your hair trimmed. Your hair stylist said, “You have very beautiful locks.” Then you feel flattered; and then she said, “It will look better if we put on some highlights using our very new product.”
This is the most famous kind of flattery and the most dangerous one too. Obviously, this is the one that nobody wants to fall into. The sender flatters you and thickly spreads it on you until he or she gets into your head and asks or gets something from you.
Just in case you get into this situation, all that you have to do is to BE AWARE. Focus on your own motives, goals and purpose. Nobody will use flattery to ask for anything unless he knows that you would have to sacrifice something.
All of us have become victims of this. Flattery is already indispensable as a human nature, either we give it or receive it. All we can do is to watch out and to decide if we want to get along with it.