No one likes a suck up.

It must be an evil disease people breathe in through their nose. Next, it transforms their brains into one big honkin’ lollypop. Or maybe the ink in pens (which everyone uses) chemically reacts with the endorphins (the body’s natural feel-good drug) in the brain and somehow enables your WHOLE foot to fit in your little mouth. I’m talking about forced and fake compliments. Yeah, it’s true that everyone loves a spontaneous compliment that warms their innards, but the knee-jerk reaction is to give one right back. If not done in the most delicate way, I’m talking about more delicate than a middle school kid’s budding maturity; you’ll look like a BIG SUCK UP.

Lately, I’ve been on a mission to be an encourager. I find people, that despite whether I like them or not, I find something positive about them and I let them know it. In Butler Ladies, it’s getting down to Crunch Time 101 right before our shows starts. Tensions are high especially in a 100 percent estrogen environment, so naturally nabbing people for making mistakes is easy. Mutual emotional support is vital to making everyone feel like a star, soloist or backup. I make it my job to give out the virtual gold stars for clean choreography, powerful vocals or rocking facials. But I don’t roll on an “I scratch your back, you scratch mine” basis. On my terms, authenticity is the “it” factor behind the art of complimenting. Maybe some people like giving empty flattery, earning brownie points and adding to their puffed ego. It’s all as useless as soggy cereal. Come on people, let’s get real- and stay…real.

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