You're doing a great job and you're terrific great today. Honest.
Students, faculty and staff members in Boston-area colleges and universities are getting and receiving compliments via a trend that has emerged in the past few months on social media.
Numerous colleges and universities, including Brandeis University, Emerson College, Harvard University, Boston College, Boston University, and Tufts University, have started their own “Free Compliments” pages on Facebook.
The concept is simple: send the compliment, along with the person’s name, and the Free Compliments page will repost it. Any negative comments are ignored.
“Sarah Scalia is such a strong woman and friend. She is inspiring, funny and encouraging. I don't think I would have survived last semester without her.”
“Jake Shafran is quite possibly one of the funniest human beings I have ever had the honor of knowing. He is also a great judge of character and always has everyone's best interests at heart.”
“Marie, one of the breakfast cashiers at Lower, deserves her own BC Compliment. She's always so cheerful and friendly, and she makes every early morning a little bit better. Even these terrible freezing ones.”
The idea originated from students at Queen’s University in Ontario, who thought of creating Facebook page devoted to complimenting students at their school, according to an article by Time Magazine. They launched the page in September, and the concept quickly went viral.
“We thought [Queen's U Compliments] was a really great way to help students help other students,” co-founder Amanda Smurthwaite told Time.
According to the Time article in November, the Queen’s page inspired at least 56 pages at colleges and universities in Canada and the US, a number that has steadily increased since the story published.
At Tufts University, students have taken the art of complimenting to the next level. The group, “Tufts Free Compliments,” stands outside of the university’s library, and gives compliments anyone who walks by.
“Our core goal is to make people smile, happy, less stressed, and make the campus a little better of a place,” said Brendan Conron, president of the club.
The group was founded in 2007 after Tufts students watched a YouTube video of students at Purdue University who liked to give compliments, he said. But the club was not that popular until this past fall, Conron said, which could be related to the rise of “Free Compliments” pages online.
Conron said there are anywhere from 10 to 20 active members, 50 students on the e-mail list, and their Facebook page has hundreds of “likes.”
He said giving compliments to people can be difficult, particularly when you do not know them.
“We give compliments like ‘you look really academically motivated,’... ‘you’re a great senior,’ ‘you’re really talented,’ ‘you walk with determination,” he said. “They’re less material based.”
Conron said that the group will also give out “guerilla compliments,” such as writing compliments on pieces of paper, and leaving them on lunch tables or in books.
Morgan Babbs, who is the group’s vice president, said she first learned of the group before she was a student. She was on a tour of the campus, and a student gave her a compliment. Babbs said she was so impressed that she mentioned Tufts Free Compliments in her application.
Babbs said she has noticed the increasing number of Free Compliments pages. Her high school in California even has one now, she said.
“We are doing something that should be second nature,” Babbs said.
Babbs said she first learned of the group before she was a student. She was on a tour of the campus, and a student gave her a compliment. Babbs said she was so impressed that she mentioned Tufts Free Compliments in her application.
And although the act of giving a compliment is easy, Babbs said she thinks it can make a difference in someone’s day.
“It’s fun to see people’s reactions,” she said. “You might think it wouldn’t be that special, but people feel so genuinely excited and really thankful.”
Below is a video on Tufts Free Compliments, which was filmed by Tufts University:
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