Relationships

What’s the Nicest Thing Anyone’s Ever Said to You?

girl hugging dog

Last fall, I got a letter in the mail…

My mom had written to thank me for hosting her at our apartment for a long weekend, and she listed all the fun things we’d done together — watching Catastrophe reruns, window-shopping around the neighborhood, making pumpkin pie (just because).

And at the end of her note, she wrote: “I love you, honey. You’re always on my mind.”

Something about those words — you’re always on my mind — moved me so much. What is it about certain words that can make you want to cry a million tears and remember them forever?

My friend’s teacher told her she had “a golden heart,” and our wedding poem still makes me teary.

I’m curious: What’s the nicest thing anyone’s ever said to you? What’s something that made you feel really good? During this back-to-school time when anxiety is maxed out, I would love to overhear your sweet nothings. xoxo

P.S. 11 feel-good reader comments, and what has inspired you lately?

(Photo by Stas Pylypets/Stocksy.)

  1. Toni says...

    I’ve been fortunate enough in life to be surrounded by great and loving people who say nice things, but when my almost 4 year old nephew looks at me and says “Titi, you are beautiful” I melt….

  2. Jena says...

    A small post-it note on an architecture assignment in college — “A+ MAGNIFICENT!”

    I will forever keep that little note.

  3. Jennifer says...

    This is so beautiful and my mom sends me thank you notes after every single visit, gift or card we send her way – your mother sounds as thoughtful and kind as mine. As I was reading this post, I thought about a poem that is just so touching to me regardless of the number of times I read it. I then clicked on your wedding poem link and realized that’s the one! I have a feeling I may have read it in a previous post of yours several years back. So, thank you once again for sharing it! :)

  4. Yolanda DR says...

    The best poem I’ve heard in a wedding was about the spanish sailing word “Abarloados” wich means when 2 boats are sailing parallel, at the same speed, same rithm but without crashing each other, with their own space each other but together, with the same path.

    Absolutely lovely, the idea is getting married with someone who will be “abarloado” with you your entire live

  5. Stephanie says...

    I was worried about making a good impression meeting my partner’s family for the first time. She said, “Who couldn’t like you? Who couldn’t love you?? That’s like someone not liking bacon.” Somehow being compared to bacon was the best compliment.

  6. J says...

    I’ve been struggling with my career path the past year or so- when I was home last winter my dad told me he knew I was going to be ok because I could sit on the ground with a toddler or be at cocktail party with academics and talk for hours; genuinely enjoying myself in either situation. He said it’s rare people are so comfortable in any environment while also making those around them feel good too.

    I’ve always been very social and extroverted but at best I thought it meant that I was a good party guest and at worst that people found me annoying and overbearing. It made me feel so seen and special that that’s how he sees me.

    He also told me once that I’ve made him a more tolerant, accepting person which meant a lot. I was a big daddy’s girl growing up and as I’ve gotten older our differences have become more obvious which has been challenging at times. But I still think there are parts of my personality he understands better than anyone else which is comforting.

  7. June says...

    Ages ago {in Iowa) my choir teacher {Lisa Kelsey) told me something like “when I look up the word ‘tenacious’ in the dictionary, your picture is next to it”.

    I’ve never forgotten those words because it was very sudden and I wasn’t a loud, boisterous person….but she noticed me. I felt seen. Still do, in fact !

  8. HB says...

    My friend told me I was her “go to – ride or die” person. Meaning she knows if her car breaks down I will drop everything to help – and that is the biggest compliment to me. That’s how I strive to be and how I hope to raise my children.

  9. Brittan Wieser says...

    A handful of years ago my beloved kitty got really sick. The night I got the news that I would have to put him down, I had dinner plans that I felt I couldn’t cancel (side note: If you need to cancel to take care of yourself, just do it). I ended up going to dinner but essentially just sat there and cried into my ramen. That is when a woman, a stranger, walked up to me. It wasn’t so much what she said, but what she did. She said that I looked like I needed a hug, and asked if she could hug me. I said yes, and there in the middle of the restaurant, I deeply hugged a stranger and cried in her arms. She didn’t ask me what had happened, and we didn’t even exchange names, but that hug was exactly what I needed at that moment. To this day, many years later, I still think about that hug and how much it meant to me. It makes me think of how brave and vulnerable that woman was for offering up a hug to a stranger in need. I wish I knew who that woman was so I could thank her for being the kind, compassionate, gentle soul that the world needs more of.

  10. My step dad told me he would try to do anything to deserve to be my father. He said he would make it up for me since my real father was abusive.

  11. Kylee says...

    I was riding on a ferry in Washington State with my son and daughter (then 3 and 1) and as we got up to disembark a woman stopped me and said “you are a great mama.” I had been struggling with postpartum anxiety and wasn’t feeling especially adept at mothering two kids but whatever she saw gave me encouragement that maybe I was doing something right. I had no idea she had been watching me and after she said it I instantly got weepy. Kind words during a time of hardship/struggle can be really uplifting.

  12. Natalie says...

    A guy I was casually seeing broke up with me because “I was too relentlessly optimistic” – still makes me smile sometimes :)

  13. Zoe says...

    After a really tough time very early in my career a senior colleague told me I had ‘a core of steel’. I have remembered that through every tough time (personal and professional) since.

  14. Amy says...

    A spontaneous thank you card from my mom, she apologized for being cranky in her old age. She signed it …mom (your best friend) I keep it on my bulletin board in my studio so I see it everyday
    She died 10 years ago

  15. Lindsay says...

    I lost my mother in law last year, and the similarities of your story (my husband is an only child too) reminded me of some of the nice things she told me during her decline. I hadn’t thought about them in a while, thank you for sharing your story.

  16. margaret says...

    When I was in my mid-twenties a friend I deeply respected told me she admired my ability to go after what I want. I’ve worn my ambition proudly ever since.

  17. Amy says...

    I taught high school for a couple years, my favorite teacher assistant gave me the best compliment. She said I was the most real person in the school. Since I didn’t have a teaching degree (special circumstances, my engineering degree qualified me for my subject matter), was faking it till I made it and felt like I was constantly scrambling because teaching is HARD, and also because it really is the best compliment ever, it really meant a lot to me.

  18. A says...

    A friend once got me a Gryffindor post card because we’d recently taken the Pottermore quizzes and I’d thought I was going to be Ravenclaw but had turned out Gryffindor.

    And she’d written on t he back “Because you’re braver than you know”

    It’s one of the nicest things that’s stayed me for so many years now and I remind myself that I’m braver and more confident than I often feel. x

    • Sarah says...

      That is so sweet! I love that.

    • Elise says...

      Oh my god. This made me absolutely MELT.

  19. Jenni says...

    I was a vocal music major and one day when I performed a song, there was a visiting voice teacher in the room. When I was finished singing, she told me, “I never liked that song until I heard you sing it.” And another college professor, on the day of graduation described me, “Like a feather on the breath of God.” I think these were two of the most beautifully worded compliments I have ever heard!

  20. Blair says...

    I’m expecting my first baby (a little boy) any day now, and when I called my sister to surprise her with the news back in February she started crying with joy and said “This is literally the best news I’ve ever received!” I don’t think I’ll ever forget it!

    • Corinne says...

      Well, gee, Blair. That made me tear up! Congratulations and best wishes as you wait to meet your little boy.

  21. A few years ago I was taking a business course, and for one of my assignments, I had to ask people to list my strengths. A woman who used to work for me sent back the best sentence :
    “You speak truth to power, even when it’s uncomfortable.”
    I’d never thought of myself in that way, but I realized that she wasn’t wrong. Ever since then I’ve leaned into it, and my ability to create change in the world is better for it.

  22. Jessica says...

    After a difficult time in high school that felt like it would never end, I decided to go to far, far away to England for university. I excitedly met new people from all over the world, including a lovely English boy. We would chat for hours about big and little things. One day, he looked at me and said “You fascinate me” with such earnestness, my stomach did a loop. Until that moment, I had never felt seen. I didn’t value myself. I had felt perfectly ordinary and unfortunately my high school experiences had crushed my confidence in who I was or hoped I could be. But, here I was just talking about myself — my absolutely ordinary self — and I was fascinating to him. Eighteen years later, that boy is my husband and every day he reminds me that I have only to be myself to be extraordinary and fascinating. I am worthy as I am. Those three words changed my life. I wish every teenager could be reminded that they are worthy, valuable, and yes, fascinating, just as they are.

    • Amy says...

      This is really beautiful Jessica – made me feel weepy and hopeful that we can all find people in our lives who see us for the gems we each are x

    • Hayley B says...

      LOVE this! What a beautiful affirmation of the old adage, this too (high school) shall pass. There’s nothing quite like a change of scenery to change your perspective on life 💗

      The line “I am worthy as I am” is life goals!

    • CS says...

      Brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing.

    • Nigerian Girl says...

      This is so heartwarming and romantic. Gosh.

    • A says...

      LOL–in the opposite corner, I knew a sibling had narcissistic personality disorder when she stated, “I am the most fascinating person I know.”

  23. @em_c_nola says...

    My boyfriend told me I have brought a lot of joy to his life. I can’t imagine a better compliment.

    • Fayola says...

      Emily, that makes my cynical heart sing!!!

  24. M says...

    When I was around 17 or 18, myself and some friends were trying to reassure one of our group who was feeling insecure about her appearance. She told me that she couldn’t take my compliments seriously because “you see beauty in everyone”. Although I was a little sad at the time that what I said wasn’t able to help her, those words have stayed with me. I’m now in my 30s and it’s a lot easier to be cynical about other people, but I hope that I can still channel my younger self and see some of the beauty in everyone too.

  25. Karla says...

    Years ago, when I was barely 18, I worked in a convent taking care of the elderly nuns in the care center. On a particular gloomy day, one of them stomped her feet at me and yelled “you are so impatient”, to which one of the older nurses said “Do you realize who you’re talking to? This is Karla, she’s patience personified”. It brightened my day, and I carry that kind word with me always.

  26. At my husbands’ and my rehearsal dinner earlier this month, my bridesmaids handed me a packet of cards they had written for me, one from each of them (and one they had obtained from my husband). I read them the night before the wedding and cried happy tears. It wasn’t that I doubted they thought all these wonderfully complimentary and meaningful things about me; they had just never had the opportunity to put them into words. It was really special.

  27. Kristen says...

    For a brief period in my 20s I was a waitress. One afternoon, a woman in a business suit came in for lunch. She finished, left me a $5 tip then left. Several minutes later she walked back into the restaurant, found me, handed me a $20 bill and said, “I want you to know, kindness pays.”

  28. margaret says...

    Shortly before this awful pandemic hit, I was going through a rough time (or what passed for a rough time back then), and I somehow decided that I would try to make myself feel better by making an effort to sincerely compliment strangers. Like telling a busker his song made my day, or telling a woman on the subway that her scarf is gorgeous. It’s a lovely way to lift my day and their’s, while also focusing on the good things people put out there in the world (instead of all the problems). It’s more difficult now that we’re all so distant from each other, but I had a non-awkward opportunity to compliment a colleague’s presentation the other day via email. It was a nice moment in my day, and I hope it was for her too.

    • CS says...

      Beautiful. What a simple, powerful way to make a difference. Thank you

    • K says...

      This is so cool, Margaret!
      Such a nice thing to do.
      I‘m trying to give more compliments. But it has always been hard for me to tell others how much I like them. I guess it takes practice.

    • J says...

      I love this and try to do the same thing as well! Days before the shutdown I had to go buy toilet paper (because I was fully out- no hoarding here) and finally located some at a bodega that kept lollipops behind the counter for kids. A little girl around 5 or 6 got permission from her mom to go up by herself to ask for one and she was so outstandingly polite to both me and the clerk I stopped her mom on the way out to compliment her daughter’s manners and her parenting. It was such a nice moment in the midst of a lot of anxiety.

  29. Cassie says...

    A boy (who later became a dear friend) told me in 7th grade that I had the best hair of all the girls in 7th grade. I am 31 now and I still think of his comment often while getting ready or doing my hair.
    Another is the other day I was looking through a keepsake box for my babies hospital bracelets to put in a book, and I saw a bunch of post-it notes my husband had left for me all around the house when he was out of town sometime in our first year of marriage (10 now!). I guess I had kept them. Most were silly things like “you have the best butt” and “I’ll miss you” but one said “You are the best thing that ever happened to me” and for some reason, I just know he really meant it. 10 years into marriage it can be hard to remember the obsession and twitterpation you have in the beginning, but finding these notes was the best reminder.

    • Soleil Farrell says...

      My husband is the best thing that ever happened to me. We’re in year 4 and just had our first baby. This instantly brought tears to my eyes. How lucky are we both to have such wonderful partners.

  30. Jen says...

    This week I thanked my friend for being such a good friend to me, and she said, “Being your friend is one of the best parts of my life.” It made my week!

  31. Edith says...

    Sometimes I go grocery shopping with my mom and at the end of the excursion she always tells me, “You make everything fun.”

  32. Jennifer says...

    A work colleague once told my boss that I was like a breath of fresh air. What a lovely compliment.

  33. After my divorce I was a little bit lost and I managed to re-connect with some friends from high school. One of my friends messaged me after a get together and told me that I was a “light they didn’t realize had been missing” from the group. It still makes me teary thinking about it!

  34. Lori says...

    Ran into ne of my daughters best friends from high school at her grandfather’s funeral and she told me that I was more of a mother to her during those years than her own mother. Made me cry!

  35. Anne says...

    I am sure (I think) that there have been said nicer things about me, but 2 things stand out.

    1) When I was confirmated in church, my bible verse (chosen by our minister) was “while I am in the world, I am the light of the world”.

    2) One time when having coffee by myself at a local café, a guy came over and gave me his card and one the back it said “you have really beautiful hands”

  36. Ray says...

    In cronological order, as a kid (around 7) One of my family Friends said I was like sunshine. Then when I was 13 my sister told me I was beautiful (revolutionary), at 20 my Reacher described me as someone “creating Harmony around her” , and last month my daughter stroked me saying “you are beautiful, you are Strong, you are important.” (I used to tell her when she was a baby, no idea how she retained that)

  37. Rebecca Janssen says...

    My somewhat precocious and completely adorable three year old granddaughter who I feel is my soulmate was cuddling with me watching an “Elmo”. She was absentmindedly rubbing my arm and then whispered “my happiness”. The best thing anyone has said to me-ever!

    • Verity says...

      Oh that is so beautiful it makes me cry! What a wonderful gift your granddaughter must be.

  38. I keep a list to read when I am down. But here’s a recent one and one of my favorites from my most favorite person, my daughter (age 18). We were sitting outside of a matcha tea house, drinking tea and people watching. She turned to me and said: “I like my life with you.” As a mother who gives and gives and don’t always know if I’m appreciated, these words are gold.

  39. Kelli says...

    My mom, who has never been touchy-feely or much of a cheerleader, texted me the other night, “I love you because you are you.” I could focus on how very late this feels in coming, but instead I am just happy to hear it now at 43 years old.

  40. Sera says...

    Last year I had my first baby and after feeling particularly anxious one night, I called my mom. After a heartfelt conversation I felt better, and thanked her. With ease, she responded, ‘Of course! You’re my little girl.’ I was 33 at the time and immediately felt myself fall into the comfort of being her child. I always feel her love for me, but I think I will feel those words eternally.

    • Meredith says...

      When I was struggling with infertility, I shared my sadness about it with my mom, particularly my feelings of insignificance after one of my family members shared her pregnancy at a very early stage and seemed to be receiving a lot of …praise? My mom said, we love you and your husband for who you are, not because of potential grandchildren you might have. It was the perfect thing to hear. Since having a baby, my mom has said similar things to me. It’s always appreciated.

    • Sera says...

      Moms really have a way of nailing it. (Congrats on your baby, too!)

  41. Cathy Zhang says...

    My grad school advisor (who is now a coauthor and friend of mine) said to me this summer as I was trying to host a wedding where most of my family including my parents wouldn’t be able to attend in person: “Getting married is easy. Finding love is the hard part — and you already found that!” Those words really cheered me up after a very stressful and eventful summer.

  42. Ingrid says...

    My husband is a very quiet introvert. He rarely says I love you or anything romantic. But one night, after we’d been married 40 years or so, and I was in my sixties and not in great shape, I crawled into bed, and he said, “I’m so glad you’re getting into my bed tonight instead of anyone else’s.” It made me feel so wanted and appreciated.

  43. anon says...

    My mother-in-law was truly special and lovely, a wonderful, kind mother. We lost her ten years ago to ovarian cancer. At her funeral, multiple of her friends came over to me and told me how much she loved me, how happy she was that I was in her life, that I was the daughter she had never had. The last one said that my mother-in-law told her that she felt OK about going to heaven knowing she was leaving my husband behind with me.

    My husband is an only child, and truly her greatest treasure. I have never measured up in my own mother’s eyes, but remembering Nancy’s love and total acceptance as conveyed through her friends has me in tears, ten years later.

  44. Amanda says...

    Two things popped into my head that I’m typing out as self care for myself this evening…
    In middle school, I was a highly mediocre band kid who put in just enough effort to have fun. Going into eighth grade, I had low expectations for my role, but was still excited to hang out with my friends and go on fun parade field trips. Cut to the first rehearsal of the year, our director announcing the new drum major: me! He said that our school and community just needed a bright light from a person who consistently showed up, did the work that was asked of them, and made people smile. I think back to this moment often when I’m not feeling great to remind myself that consistency and kindness can carry so much weight.
    The second is an email from my dad from 2015 that I still keep in my inbox and reread on harder days. I had called him in an emotional spiral the night before after a terrible critique of a college project. Among other things, he wrote to me, “while I’m worried about you because I’m your Dad, and I tend to worry, I’m also not terribly concerned. Because I have faith in your ability, intelligence and personal integrity.”
    Feeling very grateful for these moments and all the ones that people are sharing in the comments after another tough week <3

  45. Beverly Jones says...

    After my daughter’s memorial service, a couple of her friends posted the following comments: …Your Mom just makes me feel like home and I want to go back to your house and be there with her …
    and… I agree there is something about her mom that is just comforting 😊

    • Sharon Griffin says...

      Hugs to you

  46. Stephanie says...

    I just left a large company where I had worked for 8+ years. People say the nicest things when you leave! A friend/colleague sent me the sweetest poem on my last day which made me feel immensely more confident in my decision to leave the comforts of a big company and venture into a small business. And it simultaneously broke my heart in a million pieces to leave such amazing friends!

    Nothing Gold Can Stay by Robert Frost:

    Nature’s first green is gold,
    Her hardest hue to hold.
    Her early leaf’s a flower,
    But only so an hour.
    Then leaf subsides to leaf,
    So Eden sank to grief.
    So dawn goes down to day,
    Nothing gold can stay.

  47. Kay says...

    Growing up I was a very chubby and insecure girl who crushed on every one of my brothers’ friends, unrequited of course. When I was in my twenties, my brother’s best friend kissed me and said “I’ve been wanting to do that for a long time.” Watching Felicity as a teen and knowing Ben said that to felicity and now someone said it to me was mind blowing. Plus thinking of someone wanting to kiss ME was almost unimaginable and like a dream.

    • Hayley B says...

      Now I need to know what happened next!! Is this a romcom?!

  48. When I was living in NYC and my mum was in Melbourne, we’d write emails (because of the time difference). Normally it was just catch-up stuff: family news, work, cute clothes we’d bought. Nothing too deep – it’s email. One day she signed off with “You are the woman I admire most.” It gets me through the toughest times, remembering it.

  49. Caitlin L. says...

    When I was a pre-teen, maybe around 12, I was classically gawky and uncomfortable in my own skin. I was shy and had thick hair I couldn’t put in a cute ponytail or do much with.

    I forget what the service was, but I had to read something in front of my church. I was wearing two braids and felt particularly self conscious, especially speaking in front of a crowd of people.

    When my family was leaving a young girl came up to me who was 8 or 9 and told me she thought I was beautiful. I am a 33 year old woman now, and still remember this interaction.

  50. Deidre says...

    it’s been long week, with a sick little one and daily meltdowns (both of us). this morning, as i was battling to get her dressed, i said: “it tires me [when you don’t listen] and then i can’t be the best mommy in the world. and i want to always be a great mommy to you.” To which my wonderfully kind 4year-old replied: “but you are always a great mommy.” then she gave me a hug.

  51. Sierra says...

    Ten years ago, someone told me that I was “happiness personified” and I’ve never forgotten it.

  52. Cecilia G says...

    I have been lucky to have a great mentor at work for the last 15 years, someone who is my parents’ age and whom I respect very deeply. At an event a few years ago, he introduced me as, “This is my colleague and my friend” – it was such an unexpected but lovely way to hear that I had grown up from mentee to a friend and equal and something I hug to myself when I need to some confidence at work.

  53. Trish says...

    When my son was in middle school I had to drop off his lunch. I had to go right in his classroom. As I snuck up the aisle and gave it to him and was sneaking back out I heard a classmate say to my son ‘that’s your MOM?’ I worried and stewed ALL day. Why did they say that?? Was my hair wacky? Did I not match or look dumb? It was awful. When my son got home from school, I casually asked him why they said that. ‘Oh she said, that’s your mom? She’s pretty’. Melted my heart right on the floor.

    • Rebecca says...

      Back in college at my slummy summer suburban job as a waitress at Cucina!Cucina! on a busy night I had a large table celebrating a teenage birthday alongside another grumpy 2-top that I messed up an order (bringing salad at the same time as the meal if i remember correctly, which may or probably was not my fault). The 2-top verbally abused me in front of the entire restaurant and left a note on the tab “$0 – incompetent!’. Weeks later I received a 2 page letter from the birthday party parents applauding me for how calm I was under pressure and how I turned a sour situation into a still wonderful celebration for their family. Kind words, especially in print, mean so much. I still revisit the letter 20 years later to remind myself that we are capable of tearing people down or building them up, but one choice is so much better for the world.

  54. Georgie Carter says...

    It’s interesting that so many of these are from people we don’t know very well – somehow I think those comments take us more by surprise and stick in our minds. I was a v shy teenager and scared of everyone! At sixth form (in UK!), I had a history teacher who I and absolutely everyone respected – fiercely (terrifyingly) intelligent and funny. When it came to signing yearbooks on leaving day, I almost didn’t ask him. In most people’s yearbooks he’d written a famous quote or aphorism. After he handed mine back and I’d scurried out of his office, I saw he’d written the following: ‘Some people are clever, some people work hard, some people are charming. Few combine all three. You do.’ I literally stopped in the corridor, I couldn’t believe it. Whenever I went through real lows or huge life changes in my twenties, I would repeat his words in my mind. Although I happen to feel that lots of people are clever, charming and work hard, his faith in me gave me the courage to be bolder. A couple of years ago, he died unexpectedly and I regret that I never told him how much that one comment meant. Thank you Mr Morgan!

  55. On my wedding day my mother-in-law told me that if she could have hand-picked someone for her son, it would have been me. It’s been almost 25 years, and it is still one of the most beautiful things anyone has said.

    • Ray says...

      In cronological order, as a kid (around 7) One of my family Friends said I was like sunshine. Then when I was 13 my sister told me I was beautiful (revolutionary), and last month my daughter stroked me saying “you are beautiful, you are Strong, you are important.” (I used to tell her when she was a baby, no idea how she retained that)

  56. Lindsey says...

    I’m not close with my parents, and many of my friends know the details of things that have been said and how I was raised. One day, I was with a friend who is a bit older than me, and I must have made an offhand comment about my parents, and how I’m so different from them, when she turned around suddenly and said, “It breaks my heart that your parents can’t see the beautiful, amazing, caring child they were given.” I still choke up when I think of that, because someone older than me saw me as someone good, not someone disappointing or in need of change. I remind myself that yes, that’s their loss, and I don’t need to do anything more than be who I am for people to see that I am good.

  57. Elizabeth says...

    After a long heart-to-heart with my aunt about some hard things I’ve been facing lately, she send this touching text: “My heart feels like you’re mine – not just my niece. Keep your beautiful heart open! You deserve some joy!”

  58. M Nicole says...

    when I was a young teen my high school JV/Varsity volleyball team had a beach day together. The older girls started talking about the “perfect woman” and what they would take from each of us (Ashley’s eyes, and Megan’s hair and Kelly’s abs). One of the seniors I really admired said to me, “oh, and definitely your personality!” At the time, I remember being embarrassed because I thought that it meant there weren’t any physical characters that were worth noting, but as I got older I realized what a lovely compliment it was. I always want to be someone with a great personality <3

  59. Alexis says...

    We just hired a new team member, and the process was a little bumpy due to his receiving a counteroffer from his current employer. I sent him a note privately to let him know that I understood the choices/decisions he had to make and that whether he stayed or came to work with us, he would do a great job and his work would have meaning. He ended up joining us and told me how much he appreciated the note and complimented my ’emotional intelligence.’ I’ve never been complimented for that before, because I’ve never worked at a people-first organization before this one. I was always at odds with wanting to advocate for the employees vs being obstinate in policies and compliance. It was really great to hear, and even better to realize that my natural tendencies are at home where I am now.

  60. kat says...

    I love all of these. This is really something for me to think about because despite all of the love and blessings I have had in my life, I cannot for the life of me think of “the nicest thing someone has ever said.” I think this says more about me and the way I discount compliments than anything else.

  61. Mika says...

    All of these comments are making me tear up! Thank you to everyone for bringing light to this world.

    I used to be a Project Manager, now an Ecommerce Manager and have been told a few times that I have a calming voice. I like that I can help people feel at ease. I’ve also been told I’m “too chill” which maybe they meant as a backhanded compliment, but I’ll take that :)

  62. EV says...

    What a great topic and predictably moving comments!

    One from my life that sticks out: I gave a work presentation to a room full of VIPs and board members. Public speaking makes me very nervous, but I had worked hard on it and thought it went well. Afterwards I got an email from an older and more senior colleague who I rarely worked with directly, and who could come across as intimidating, saying: “I meant to tell you after the meeting what a clear and articulate presentation you gave. Congrats.” A short and sweet note, but it meant so much that she took the time to send it.

  63. Little Miss says...

    i grew up not feeling heard or seen in my school and academic environment.
    i got used to it and it actually didnt matter because i knew myself.
    then at the age of 35 i decided to pursue my MBA as one does, and for some reason whenever there was a competition during in-class excersises, i always won.
    i noticed but again i was certain that nobody knew.
    then during the veeery last class of my MBA, a fellow student came and just blurted that i had nothing to complain since i was the only one that always won and everyone in the class knew about it!
    talk about feeling heard or seen :)

  64. Ary says...

    I work in a preschool and one of my coworkers told me that I am so calming to her and the babies. I worked so hard to be professional, caring, empathetic, and constantly have to remind myself to take deep breaths at work.

  65. All that’s really sweet! Sometimes a kind comment like that makes my heart feel warm too. It’s the little things that people say that I find nice and comforting. Thanks for sharing :)

  66. Susan says...

    I met my best friend when we started the same school at the age of 11. My best friend’s daughter just started secondary school this month and my friend sent me a note to say that her biggest hope is that her daughter meets a friend like me. I am so thankful for our 30 plus years friendship and her comment makes me tear up every time I think about it because our friendship is an absolute bedrock of my life.

  67. When I was 33, I ended an extremely abusive and toxic relationship. While I was proud of myself, I was devastated at the reality of starting over and worried IF I would ever get married and have kids. One of my best friends from college was in town (thank god) a few weeks later, and at dinner he shared with me, “Ashley, I never worry about you. I know you’re going to be okay.” He’s an older brother figure and it was so nice to hear his confidence in me. While I’m now 36 and in a committed relationship, I’m *still* not married and do not have kids (all of things which I excruciatingly want). I remind myself of Dave’s words more than I’d like to admit, “I never worry about you.” It’s beautifully comforting.

  68. Christy says...

    Reading all of these comments made me tear up during a particularly grueling workday. Thank you so much for sharing and starting this conversation!

    For me – the comment comes from my dad. I’ve always wished he and I were closer. When I was 19 and home for the summer during college, I couldn’t find a job for such a short period of time and felt like he was riding me really hard. I broke down once about the pressure from him and he looked at me and said “I don’t say it often, but I’m probably proudest of you of all my daughters. You’ve never needed help, I always know that you can figure it out, that’s why I push you, because you can do it.” I think about those words all the time. He’s more the “tough love” type – but knowing that he believes in me has given me a lot of strength to push forward in my life.

    I’m in the midst of a heartbreaking divorce, and I remember those words often when I feel overwhelmed or like I can’t do it. I know my dad thinks I can, and it helps.

  69. Bec says...

    A love interest I used to have in my 20s said I was “unforgettable” – I don’t know why that one word carried a lot for me. We couldn’t be together, but liked each other a lot. He later set me up with my now husband though!

    • Anamaria says...

      Oh man! Story there!!

  70. Olivia says...

    A friend recently decided to step back in terms her level of involvement in caring for her mother who suffers from mental illness. I said something affirming and supportive about prioritizing her wellbeing. She replied, “you were actually a lot of the reason I felt like I could do that.”

    I cut off connection with my own mother a few years ago. My mother also suffers from mental illness and addiction. A lifetime of trying to support her turned into overwhelming trauma for me. There was nothing left I could do to keep her afloat, and I was sinking under. I still feel deeply guilty and conflicted about the decision. That my decision helped a friend prioritize her own wellbeing is one of the most beautiful things in my eyes. I may not be able to help my own mother, but in acknowledging that I can’t, I am capable of helping others who need help too.

  71. Karen says...

    It is clearly so important to say the kind things we think about one another! I have a few moments that shine:
    A manager once called me “unfailingly positive”. I was humbled that she appreciated my cheery attitude (it was a high stress sales and marketing team).
    When talking about a dear neighbor and friend of my parents, my mom lovingly commented: “She adds” Two words can carry so much meaning!
    I have also adopted the term “showcase friend” someone you can confidently bring to a new situation (work outing, family party…) knowing they will be a complimentary addition to the gathering. They can hold a conversation, be polite and friendly…they reflect well of the other person.

  72. Sarah says...

    One of my best friends asked me to be the godmother to her baby. After the baptism she gave me a card with a note telling me that she chose me because hopes her son will learn how to be kind, generous, caring person like me. It was such an honor to be picked for that role and her words really touched me and still brings tears to my eyes.

  73. AT says...

    This week I was on the playground with my son. He scored a swing next to a girl who looked to be about 8 or 9; she was a little on the heavy side, thick eyebrows, a prominent mole on her face and was one of the few black kids on the playground. As we were about to leave she said to me, “I love your hair color.” I said, “Oh, it’s getting so many grays, but thank you, nice of you to say that.” (I immediately hated that I couldn’t take this compliment without putting myself down, and hated that she complimented my blonde hair because we revere whiteness in this society.) We started to walk away, but then I turned back, looked her in the eye, and said to her, “I love your strong eyebrows and your beauty mark. So beautiful.”

    • Kristen says...

      As a brown girl with strong eyebrows myself I can promise you your compliment meant more to her than you will ever know.

  74. Meghan says...

    The nicest thing someone ever said about me was during remote learning, one of my students Who was having a really hard time adjusting, told her mom that I was one of the most positive people she knew. This made me feel so good, especially during such a troubling time. I realize I have such a platform and can still model and radiate positivity for young, impressionable students. I have continued this into the new school year, even though I am struggling, my son is in tears each day, and my students are frustrated at times. Feelings are like the weather and I want positive weather to be a part of my day!!

  75. ci says...

    My grandmother recently told me, randomly, “I’m so proud of you”. I don’t know if it had just been a long time since someone had told me that, or if it was extra special coming from her, but I got misty and have smiled often just thinking about that simple sentence.

  76. Kimberly says...

    What a wonderful thread to read :)

    When I was 10 or so, I came home to a letter sitting on my bed. In it, my mom listed 10 things she loved about me. Some of them were small things that I still do today, (“I love that you rearrange your room, it shows you care about your space and want to make it cozy and comfortable”) others were snapshots of who I was at that time, but more than anything it showed me (even then) that my mother saw me and loved me for who I was. I find myself going back to this letter when I feel unsure of myself and it always makes me feel better.

  77. anna says...

    My boyfriend took me to his friend/former colleague’s cookout who I hadn’t met. He’s not very social but has great taste in people and I really wanted to get along with the friend and not embarrass him. The friend was so cool and smart, I can see why he respects her. I made a pithy comment and she asked earnestly “do you publish?”. I don’t but she started saying I should, it was very nice. We stayed late and had a wonderful time. I felt admired, like I’d successfully overcome some social anxiety, and was just nailing it.

  78. retro-roost says...

    This isn’t so much what someone said, but what someone did. The someone was my late father. I took a summer job working in his office when I was 15. It was administrative work supporting people in his office. I’d wake at 5AM and ride 30 minutes with him to the office, and return home with him after the work day. We did this all summer, at the end of the summer, the office manager presented me with a small gift and plaque thanking me for my work. I received a pay check each week for my work, and I didn’t realize until many years later that the check was actually from my father. He, not the office, paid my salary that summer. This small summer job gave me work experience and empowered me as a young girl earning money. It’s one of the nicest things anyone has done for me.

  79. Kyla says...

    The nicest thing anyone has ever said to me actually came from a perfect stranger, (who turned out to be your mom, Joanna!) Several years ago, my husband and I were on a flight from SF to Minneapolis with our two small children. At the end of the flight, a woman approached us to say what a beautiful family we had and how sweet we had been with the kids on the flight. She looked so familiar that I asked whether she was from Napa, (my home town), and she said she didn’t think we knew each other. Later that night I realized that I recognized her from your blog! She was so lovely, and complimentary – I’ve never forgotten her kind words. It’s especially meaningful since my husband passed away suddenly two years ago and this memory often brings me comfort and joy. xo

    • Welp, now I’m crying. I’m so sorry to hear of the passing of your husband. What a beautiful connection to share with Joanna, her mother, and all of us readers!

    • Ellen says...

      Wow, what a small world, and what a lovely thing to say. I’m so sorry about your husband, and glad you have this memory to hold close to your heart.

  80. Tyler says...

    After my mom died when I was 27, her best friend told me that since I’d been born she had never heard my mom say one negative thing about me. I miss her so much.

    • Stella says...

      So sorry for your loss. What a lovely way to carry her memory with you

  81. Danielle says...

    Out of the blue last year, my dad sent me an email with the subject line: “It’s been too long.”

    “But I wanted to tell you how proud I am of your reporting, made more meaningful because it is filled with empathy and has an incredible impact,” he wrote, before detailing some of the impact. “You have much reason to be delighted, and I hope you are.”

    I keep it in my inbox and open it whenever I need a boost. Dads!! The best.

  82. Rebecca says...

    beautiful

  83. Helena says...

    Talking about donations and social justice, a friend said to me: if everyone were like you, the world would be better. I don’t think I deserve these words but wow, that´s a friend.

  84. Nicki says...

    In college, my boyfriend at the time wrote a lovely line in an anniversary card. “Thank you for giving me so many reasons to love you.” I have since burned the card ;) but the sentiment is beautiful.

    • Jessica says...

      Ha! I love everything about this comment.

  85. Jen says...

    When I was announcing to all my friends and family that I was pregnant with our now two-year-old, everyone was so excited but I was feeling so unsure and scared. I have kidney disease and was in for a hard, complicated pregnancy. Even though it was planned, it was scarier once it was my reality. My one best friend asked me “how are YOU doing? Really are you feeling okay about all this?” It made me feel seen.

  86. Rosa says...

    I used to work with my father and brother Jude in the snow crab fishing industry and one day when we were reminiscing he told me “you used to be FEARLESS” and it just stuck with me, it reminded me that yes, I WAS fearless. So when those moments of self doubt inevitably come along I remember that comment and it makes me think of myself in a different light.

  87. I think the nicest thing can sometimes just be silence or withholding criticism of trivial things. Simply withholding an insult, or judgment (or not even thinking an insult) to me, means I want to be around the person, and it’s a simple way to know if someone genuinely likes you.

    • Going along with that, when someone tries to communicate their feelings and needs in order to become friends or have a relationship, don’t blow up at them. Practicing communicating or being polite in general is a great way to make new friends.

  88. Eve says...

    When we were 12, my best friend (still friends to this day at 35) wrote a poem about me.

    *Her heart was made of leather so it wouldn’t break,
    her skin was made of porcelain to hide the leather.
    But in rainy weather
    the hidden cries
    through those blueberry eyes.*

    I felt like that poem understood me at a soul level. It’s kind of somber, but I still think about it often.

    • Eve says...

      @marisa — that music video cracked me up… thanks for sharing!

  89. Kara says...

    I had written an Instagram caption about grief and what to do with it, and a close friend told me she had shown it to someone, and they said “This is so poetic,” and my friend said, “Yeah, that’s just how she talks!”

    And one time at a happy hour with my husband’s colleagues, of of them said, incredulously, “you are effortlessly funny!”

    I play both of those on repeat when I need them.

  90. Sascha says...

    It’s taken me and hour to read through these and it has been the best lift! It made me think of a journal entry I had written in 2018 and I thought I’d share:

    “Ian and I had a really nice long talk in bed the other night and he said this thing that has made me feel all fuzzy. He talked about how I am the leader of our home. And how much joy and comfort and excitement I inspire for he and the kids. Something about how I make everything better and how my actions make it very clear how much love I have for each of them. It was simple in a way- but meant so much to me. It’s so easy to feel buried as a mom at home. A continuous stream of unending tasks and emotional upheaval. And for a minute, he reminded me WHY I do what I do. Why I decided it was important to stay home while my kids are young. To create a safe, comfortable, inspiring place to call home– to provide a strong upbringing of goodness and love for my people to be able to thrive. It doesn’t always feel like I’m accomplishing that. But.. maybe I am.”

    • Brielle says...

      Wow, this is beautifully written and really hits home for me. As another mom in the center of chaos while raising small children—this is a great reminder about why it is all worth it.

  91. Thank you Joanna for this community and post. Reading these comments is making my heart swell! I wish I could read all of them, but at nearly 800 right now, I don’t think it will happen. These comments need to be made into a book! I was reminded of something that happened to me five years ago. I was participating in a To Kill A Mockingbird Read-A-Thon at a bookstore. When it was my turn to go up and read in front of everyone, I was nervous, but excited about the event. My mom was there to give me moral support. If she hadn’t been there, I would have never known what happened. I’m Black and I think maybe the only Black participant in the event. My mom said that she saw a little Black girl in the bookstore with her family. She said the girl wasn’t really paying attention to the reading until I walked up. My mom says the girl was absolutely transfixed when she saw me up there. Just staring at me. I don’t have children and sometimes wonder what will be my influence on the coming generations. I like to think that seeing me up there, that girl realized something about herself and became more confident. I never saw this girl, so I’m reminded that we never know who is watching and being inspired by our actions.

    • Laura says...

      I have never commented on a CupofJo post before, let alone another person’s comment, but this was so beautiful that I felt compelled to reply! Thank you for sharing–both you and your mom sound amazing.

  92. Mich says...

    the day before I gave birth, at 39 weeks, I was waddling home with my last office needs and a woman passed me in nyc and said “you’re the most gorgeous pregnant lady I’ve ever seen”. I teared up.

    • Nancy says...

      Wow! Feel good to the core

  93. alexis says...

    These have had me in tears at my desk, thank you so much for this topic and to everyone for sharing.

    Two of mine: a former client wrote me a letter after his case was resolved and in it he said: “You are a good lawyer and I was glad it was you who represented me. I sensed from the beginning I had a chance to be heard when I first met you at arraignment. A good lawyer from a lay person’s point of view is someone who will listen to their client, someone who will communicate with their client, someone who shows up in court for their client and someone who opens their mouth in court for their client. This is what you did for me and I appreciate that!”

    I always tried to remember that and be that lawyer for my other clients. Public defenders don’t get a lot of appreciation, it means so much when we do.

    And the second one: we were at a party last new year’s and my daughter was playing with a couple other little girls. I poked my head in to check on them and as I walked away, one of the girls came running out after me and told me my daughter said I have magic powers and asked if it was true. I said yes and walked away beaming with my heart all aflutter.

  94. Carolyn says...

    My grandfather always used to tell me, “I’m so proud of you.” It’s still my favourite memory.

  95. Alyssa says...

    I have a few that stick out.
    -Years ago after struggling with my thesis advisor and nearly not being able to graduate, I successfully managed to defend my thesis. My advisor said “I never thought you pull off what you just did, but if anyone could do it, it would be you.”
    -A few weeks ago I helped put on the single most important and huge event my work has ever done. One of the project leads sent me a message and said that I made the world go round during the week and that she was really proud of me.
    -Within said above crazy week, one of our contractors and I were talking and just getting to know one another better and he said “you could be a comedian. you’re really funny.”

  96. A friend of mine said, in the middle of a Zoom get together with several others, that my inviting her along to the allotment plot and just sitting with her had really saved her sanity during lockdown. It really made my day to know I’d helped her get through that isolating time.

  97. Mina says...

    Walking home from the train station one summer night a lady walking behind me said “you have the best legs!” as she past me and kept on her way. I have the best legs!

  98. Nora says...

    A friend I’d only known for a year once told me that our friendship was the light of her life. I don’t cry a lot but that made me tear up :)

  99. M says...

    When my husbands father was in his final weeks of battling cancer I found myself sitting next to his bed, alone in his hospital room one evening.

    At this time my husband and I had been together for several years but were not yet engaged or married.

    We talked for a while and I honestly don’t remember much, it felt like such an important moment that I think I went a bit blank but I will never ever forget that he said to me ” I don’t know your plans and I don’t need to know but it would make me so happy if you were the mother of my future grandchildren”.

    He has been gone for several years now and no kids yet but I am so grateful for his faith in me for such a role, when we do decide we are ready.

  100. Juliette says...

    This made me well up! So lovely. What a casual, cosy, wonderful response.

  101. Maia says...

    I filed for divorce early this year. I got married 5 years ago. It was late, by my society’s standards – I was 33. When I shared this news on social media, a classmate from college wrote me this – ‘According to many of us in college, you were the most beautiful and the nicest person in class. And needless to add, one of the brightest!
    Seeing your happy updates makes me feel so happy for you.
    The kind of person you are, anyone who knows you can only wish you the best. And do tell the groom that he has struck gold.’
    My sense of failure over my marriage has been huge and all- consuming. I am currently in (extremely painful) physical therapy for a frozen shoulder which the doctor diagnosed as being brought on, by the divorce trauma. My final divorce hearing is scheduled for next week. In the middle of all this, I accidentally came across the above mail last evening and it brought me some much needed reassurance. Maybe I will survive this storm.

    • Eli says...

      So much love and good vibes and positivity coming your way, Maia! My divorce was finalized earlier this year after only 5 years of marriage. I also had physical manifestations from the trauma of my marriage and the divorce process – mine were intestinal and the doctor was convinced I had cancer but he just couldn’t find it (I lost 40 pounds in 1.5 months – I didn’t have 5 pounds to give). Nope, just anxiety and trauma.
      I think we, as women (or female identifiers), are ingrained to feel like a failure, or as if all the problems are our fault. IT IS NOT! YOU are NOT a failure. No matter what you feel, no matter how hard you tried, no matter what anyone says… YOU ARE NOT A FAILURE. And the demise of a marriage, a relationship does NOT define you. It is a small chapter in your grand life story. So many better things are waiting in the future. You are beautiful, and kind, and smart (and I know this not just from your college classmate but because you are a part of this CoJ community). I felt all of these same things and it took some really powerful women in my life to remind me that I am not defined by a man on my arm, my marital status, my divorce status, or anything else. You are defined by the person you are.
      I will be praying for you, for you to find peace and closure as your hearing comes and passes, for you to find peace within yourself, to allow yourself some grace and love. This too shall pass. So much love and hugs!!

    • Maia says...

      Eli, thank you so, so much for these words. You have no idea how much reading this, means to me, today. Sending you and all the wonderful women here, so much love. Thank you.

    • Maia says...

      And I am really sorry about your divorce. I identify with all that you said. Here’s wishing you all the love and luck for your the rest of your grand life story to come.

  102. Hilde says...

    “I could sit and look at you forever” and “You are just getting more and more beautiful”. I still cannot believe someone has said those things to me :)

  103. Ali says...

    I had a miscarriage at the end of June and have been really struggling with it recently. I went to my GP the other day and he said he wasn’t surprised by how I was feeling because I’m so “vivant”, which I think in this context translates to “full of life”. I don’t know that it even really makes sense but it’s nice knowing that someone sees me like that rather than the mess I feel like.

  104. Kirstin says...

    These are all so lovely!

    The one that stays with me is a parent I didn’t know very well at church coming up to me as a late teen and saying “you have a beautiful smile”. I felt so lost at that time in my life and felt so much pressure to achieve and fit in. To be complimented on something I didn’t even know I had by a near stranger made me feel so seen!

  105. Anna says...

    At some point in college one of my guy friends told me I belonged in a Botticelli painting. I have always had big hips and wild curly hair. I was never particularly self conscious of either but that comment truly made me feel beautiful and helped me embrace what I looked like from head to toe.

  106. Maria says...

    Something my grandfather said to my mother (his daughter) one day before he died. She asked him if he wanted anything with his tea and he answered that the only thing he wanted was to tell her that he loves her so much and that he is so proud of her…

  107. Penny says...

    I had just met my cousin’s girlfriend, who is great at small talk, at keeping up a conversation, and at making people feel comfortable. I spoke admiringly of her to my grandma, and she said “well, that’s you too! you’re nice and you always have something to say!”

    It sounds silly but I almost started crying. I can be a real chatterbox and I feel very self-conscious about it because of various family members and friends commenting on it. The fact that my grandma saw it as a good thing meant the world to me. I felt like she really saw me.

  108. kd says...

    Out of sheer luck, I get to work with my grad school bff’s mom. A slight cynic by nature, she has never been anything but a cheerleader for my success and growth in the gov organization we work for. Recently, I was voluntold to represent our division on a city-wide webinar… After it ended, she sent a kind text in which she called me “effervescent.” Something about this resonated so strongly with who I am and who I want to be. I looked up the definition just to revel in all of the synonyms. A moment of feeling truly seen. This will always be one of my favorite compliments. Xx

    • KD – Thank you for being a good teacher here! Never heard the word voluntold before, but it makes total sense!

  109. My uncle died several years ago, and we visited my grandfather, who was also very old and ill, while we were home for the funeral. He was very upset about my uncle, and we sat with him and comforted him and talked with him all afternoon. It was time for us to get on the road for a long drive home (we’re in Atlanta and he in Virginia), and after I hugged him goodbye, bleary-eyed, he clasped my hands and said, “you are the love of my life.” Which sounds kind of funny, but what I think he meant was “I’ve loved you all your life.” He was actually my dad’s step-father, who married my grandmother after my dad’s dad died when my dad was 14. I never knew another paternal grandfather, but he WAS my grandfather. We had a wonderful relationship and he loved me like I was his blood. I knew right then, and I think he knew too, that that was the last time we would see each other. And it was. We made the drive from Atlanta to Virginia again two weeks later for his own funeral.

  110. Charlotte says...

    Growing up, there was a thirty-something couple who lived two doors down the street. They were childless by choice, but always were so kind to me, and I’d talk to them often.

    One day, the wife told my mom, “I would have kids if I could guarantee they’d turn out like Charlotte.”

    As someone who was rarely praised by my parents, this touched my soul deeply as a child. This couple could see good in me for who I was, warts and all. It made me realize that maybe I wasn’t so bad after all.

  111. Christi says...

    Gosh, I have loved reading through these.

    My favorite of late was in response to a group text with girlfriends who are all semi-obsessed with the enneagram. They were asking everyone’s number/spouses’ numbers, and I had to find a quick test to determine my number. After telling them I was a 2 (the Helper), one friend replied, somewhat callously, that I shouldn’t trust a free test and should double-check. Another friend sent me a separate text then to say this: “I so see you as a 2. In fact, the other day I was talking to [partner] and I said if I could redesign myself as a person I would have your thoughtfulness.“ Especially right now, when I feel so wrung our from young motherhood that it seems I can’t find the time to love on other people well, that was a balm to my heart.

  112. Madi says...

    When I was in college, I applied and was offered a leadership position in student life. I was debating out loud about whether to accept and a friend told me: “You should take it. You’re kind and care about people, but you aren’t a doormat. You’re strong. There aren’t many people who are both of those things.” I took the position because of her encouragement and still think sometimes about her words.

  113. Rose says...

    When I was in high school, my mom shared a story with me where the moral was “never suppress a generous thought.” It can be so easy to rationalize your way out of not paying someone a sincere compliment, but the 700+ comments on this post are a testament to how impactful those generous thoughts are when shared. Never suppress a generous thought!

  114. Charlene says...

    My grandfather had just died at the age of 96 and I flew home to be with family whom I don’t see often. It was just two days after he had died and my family surprised me with a birthday cake, which was shocking because I had pretty much forgotten it was my birthday. My 95 year old grandma has dementia and often does not recognize us. She seemed so excited by the birthday cake and candles, like a child. After blowing out the candles I asked her what was her secret to a long life. And she squeezed my hand and said “don’t ever change, you’re perfect exactly as you are.” Her response made everyone cry except for her, she was just so excited about the cake. It brings me tears just to think of the memory.

  115. Fiona says...

    My wonderful mom died when I was pregnant. She was a concert pianist and piano teacher who loved to enthusiastically declare that a young child had “piano hands.” When I was on maternity leave, a sweet older gentleman was swooning over my infant son in the bookstore and exclaimed “look at those fingers! he is going to do something great with those hands!” My heart both ached and swelled at the simple but (unbeknownst-to-him) significant kindness from a stranger—something my mom also demonstrated frequently in life. I also love that his comment reminded me of the infinite and unique potential of our children.

    • Robin says...

      This is beyond beautiful and such a clear telling that she is with you still!

  116. Ashley says...

    A regular customer at a store I worked at was holding his daughter, he pointed at me and said “you see Ashley? She’s strong, smart and funny… I’d be proud for you to grow up to be just like her” Mind. Blown.

  117. This post, and the comments, are just everything wonderful. Thank you, Joanna for the community.

    Now, what if we all banded together and agreed to go out and say one very nice thing to someone tomorrow (or whenever you can leave your house)? What if we made a little love army, and reported back here with our stories?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes that’s such a great idea, Jodi!!!

  118. Brittani says...

    My son and I had been having a really hard day last week (him, a 1st grader that’s been stuck learning electronically, and me, a mom who has been pulling out her hair teaching electronically) and both of us had cried our fair share of tears throughout the day. When I apologized to him at bedtime, he cradled my cheeks and told me “it’s ok mom, I love all your sides and you’re the best mom the way you are.” Oof, straight to my heart.

  119. Casey says...

    I was on a girls weekend with some of my bests earlier this year and one friend, who has two daughters, was telling us that one of her biggest fears for a while had been dying and leaving her kids. She then turned to me and said “I recently remembered that you lost your mother when you were young and because of how amazing you are, my fear completely evaporated” still tearing up just writing this out.

    • Kristi says...

      WOW. How incredibly meaningful! I’m sitting at my desk crying. Thank you for sharing.

  120. Lauren says...

    When I was 12 a neighborhood mom noticed that while I was on the swim team, I was nowhere near the best but I still went about my participation enthusiastically. At the end of the summer, she gave me a little plaque that I still have with the quote “Blessed are they who can laugh at themselves for they shall never cease to be amused”. She saw something in me that I hadn’t even known about myself. I keep that plaque in my closet as a reminder to keep things in perspective!

  121. Y says...

    So many beautiful compliments. My compliment from my Mother wasn’t actually said to me. We have never been close, but she told my daughter that I am a better Mother than she was. She is very proud of my daughter and usually acts like she was just born that way, ( which she practically was), but it was nice to hear that she recognizes I am a good Mother.

  122. Bethany Susan says...

    A friend once told me that I am a modern-day version of Anne (of Green Gables). “You go against the flow without fear and prove that no matter the setbacks you will not be held back.”

    Years later, when things get hard or I need to feel good, I still look at the screenshot pinned in my inbox. :)

  123. Ryan says...

    This isn’t so much what someone said but what someone did. I was in a tough job several years ago. High stress, low pay, overworked, undervalued. And often I would just be at the end of my rope only to wake up and do it all over again. This one day, I was at the end of my rope. I was sent to go run an errand and was standing in line, fuming, hating everything and everyone when I noticed a tiny toddler watching me. As soon as we made eye contact, this little one smiled, walked over and hugged my legs. I almost lost it but was able to not totally break down into tears. Their mother was instantly there and apologetic and I wasn’t able to convey to her how meaningful that moment was. It meant everything to me. How I needed some comfort, some love and that little person understood and was there. What an incredible soul they were and I just wonder what kind of amazing person they are growing up to be. I wish I could thank them.

  124. Anonymous says...

    When I was 16, I participated in a local Christmas panto production of Aladdin, and several teachers and students from many schools also participated as cast and crew. My school’s principal recently widowed father was cast in a small role where we shared a scene at the end, where we turned the villain into a good guy who gav sweets to the children in the audience. I had a lot of fun in that show, and really enjoyed working with him. When he died many years later, I went to the wake and told the principal a few very simple and true words “I am so sorry for your loss”, adding how much I had enjoyed performing along him in the pantomime, and that he was a great guy. Shortly after, my sister told me that when she had taken her daughter (my niece) for her interview to be admitted to the school, the principal told her the story of the wake, and what I had told her. And that of course she would be happy to have her girl in the school, since she knew she came from a family with good values. I should be proud, yet I am humbled since all I meant to offer was some sincere empathy, and yet I was struck by just how much some hearfelt kind words can do (Please do not include my name)

  125. Clare says...

    These are beautiful. I truely think people believe they are what they hear about themselves, especially little kids eg you’re naughty or kind. This post shows you should never underestimate the power of a compliment. My colleague called me a calm and intuitive lawyer and I honestly try and live my life and parent as if that were true!

  126. Mila says...

    So for a large part of my life, I haven’t been especially confident with the outside world that what I have to say matters and that I have ideas worth sharing. My family knows me to be the opposite but I would always shy away from sharing my opinion in class or with large groups for fear of being put down. In high school, I had this great English teacher who wrote thank you notes for every student at the end of the year and in mine he essentially told me to speak up more because I have some really great ideas. It felt really good to have someone believe in me like that and I still think about it 9 years later now that I’m in law school where discussion and collaboration are so important. And the more I believe in myself in other areas of my life, the easier speaking up has gotten!

  127. MN Hazel says...

    This isn’t a compliment, but it is something someone said to met that was SO NICE. My freshman year of college I was very depressed for the first time in my life. I have always been a person who smiles a lot and is naturally very happy. I have a big smile and actually smile ALL the time. So, long story short, I found the transition to college extremely difficult and fell into a really hard depression. During that time I worked as a lifeguard at the school pool (which was depressingly in a dingy basement with no windows and always freezing). I always made a point to say make eye contact, smile, say hello to anyone who I regularly saw or really anyone I passed. There was a janitor at the gym who was very quiet and almost everybody walked right by him, but we would always exchange a greeting. It made me feel a little more normal here at this ritzy, big school where people seemed cold. At Christmastime, I think I was finally starting to get my feet under me. I went to work and saw this man, and he gave me a package – it was a present for me. He said he saw it and thought I might like it, and that he was really glad to see my smile again. He said he noticed that I hadn’t been smiling much anymore, and he was thinking of me. I may have been starting to get my feet under me, but that was really the icing on top. It wasn’t all easy from there out, but I knew there were decent people there who cared.

    • One time my husband was describing me in the third person. He said, “She is mighty.”
      It caught me off guard. I probably started crying. I’ve held on that phrase ever since. He doesn’t even remember saying it.

  128. Darby says...

    I am an elementary school principal. One year in particular was very challenging- our budget was cut, we lost staff members, and had many other challenges. One of my parents wrote me a thank you card, right in the middle of the most chaotic time. I don’t remember the specific words she said but the gesture, and the fact the she said she appreciated my work and my efforts in the face of adversity brought me to tears. I was just so amazed that someone would show appreciation towards me at a time that I was feeling most like a failure.

  129. Jeanne says...

    This was a great question because at first I couldn’t think of anything. But your prompt and some of the answers made me remember that a dear friend once surprised me by saying … “You are very particular with who you let become your friends but once inside that circle, you are extremely loyal and devoted. Your group may be an inch long but your friendships are a mile deep. If there was anyone I would choose to be in a foxhole with, it would be you.”

  130. Sarah Jane says...

    My mom sometimes says, “Thanks for being,” which is short for, “Thanks for being you.” It just feels so sweet and comforting to know that someone is glad that I am me, just exactly how I am.

  131. T. says...

    A good friend, who I truly respect, once told me that I am the most creative person he knows. I’ve held these words close to me for years, because when it comes down to it, creativity is my most valued trait and THING in life (as hard as that is to explain). When my friend said these words to me it clarified that in my own mind! And of course, I felt flattered, and seen.

  132. Kerry says...

    I’m a teacher, and between remote learning and starting at a new school with a new grade level, I have been feeling allllll the self doubt. I reread what I believe is the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me — an email from a classroom assistant that worked in my room last year. As part of the email, she wrote that I was “quite literally, the perfect teacher.” She said if she had one wish for her son, it was that all of his teachers were like me. I’m crying again just writing this! Makes me want to go send someone a nice email. To all the teachers out there — you’re doing great!

  133. LRN says...

    About six months before I got pregnant with my first child, I had a dream in which I met my son. He told me what his first name was and how beautiful and wonderful I am. I woke up bawling. I got to meet that baby boy a year and a half later in real life. We gave him the name he told me in. And when he was about two years old, he looked exactly like the boy in my dream.

    • Sascha says...

      This is so lovely! I was told all my kids names before they came in various, hard to explain ways (I have three) And even though I want to be done I cannot shake a little girl that has told me and also my husband that she’s there on separate occasions. Sometimes I think I’m crazy but your story has me tearing up. Thank you.

  134. Lark says...

    After reconnecting online after not seeing each other for many years, a cousin of mine said the thing she remembered most about me from when I was a little girl was that I was determined. No one had ever said anything like that to me before, but I realized that determination is what has gotten me through some hard times throughout life. Our family is of Finnish heritage and sisu (or determination when facing hard things) is a big part of the Finnish identity.

  135. Lucia Cerchie says...

    My therapist told me once that I “bridge two worlds authentically” and I’ve never felt more seen.

    • kd says...

      I love this for you. What a sincere compliment. Thank you for sharing.

    • Julie says...

      Love this!

  136. Heidi says...

    Someone once told me, when I was just a little girl,that so was “pure of heart’. Their proof was that dogs and babies liked me (dogs and babies can just TELL). It stuck with me. And as an adult during rough times, when I’m angry, or don’t know why the world is like it is- I remind myself that I’m pure of heart and it makes it easier to have faith and soldier on.
    When I see someone else who I think is “pure of heart” I like to ask them first if babies and dogs like them. They usually (with a quizzical look on their faces) respond yes. And then I tell them why. They are pure of heart. And I see their inner glow shine a little brighter and I know the world will be right someday.

  137. Phillipa says...

    When my dear Grandmother was dying, one of the last things she said to me was “you are just so lovely”. My grandmother was not a woman of many effusive words, but she was honest and she made me feel surrounded by love my whole life. Her saying those words meant so much to me, as I often don’t feel “lovely” and I don’t think that is how many people would describe me. I hold on to it very closely.

    • Carol Barclay says...

      if your dear, wise, loving grandmother said it, I believe it is true! Try to accept that “you really are just so lovely!”