What is your default response when someone pays you a compliment? I'm guessing you're like me, so it's probably 'HA! HARDLY!' and/or 'are you taking the piss?' and/or 'have you MET me/you should see me first thing in the morning/if only you REALLY KNEW THE TRUTH'.
So, I have a new friend who I've been working with at the moment - she is a German lady in her mid-forties; she is a mum of two teenage girls; she looks like a south-west London Claudia Schiffer; she is MAGNIFICENT, At the moment, it feels like I've been coming home every day and telling my boyfriend tales of just how amazing she is.
She is incredibly gracious and sure of herself all at the same time; she doesn't take any crap from anyone, whilst still being absolutely charming. She's amazing and I want to be her, basically.
The thing I've noticed about her most of all is that, whenever anyone pays her a compliment, she takes it beautifully.
She genuinely looks about my age, and I was taken aback when I found out she is nearly fifteen years older. When I expressed my surprise, she calmly said: 'a lot of people seem to say that - I must have really good genes, as my mother still looks very young, lucky me'.
When I admired a gorgeous photograph of her, she said: 'yeah, it's actually really nice, isn't it? For some reason I tend to be quite photogenic'.
On the other hand, she commented the other day on how I was lucky because I am 'very slim' (I KNOW, I'm literally chewing my fist as I write this). I harrumphed, blushed, told her she was a complete fucking mentalist, and she looked astounded and then a little bit offended.
I think it's a cultural thing, maybe? I also think it's because, as far as she is concerned, these are just facts - neither compliments nor insults, just facts and observations. Ach, it's late, I'm drinking a glass of wine, I'm not analysing. But I have decided one thing: next time someone says something nice to me, I'm going to try to be way more German about it. I suggest you do the same.