In light of TMF’s recent shocking Freshly Pressed debut (and prompt crash back into obscurity), today seems like a good time to talk about flattery.

We all flatter to get stuff we want, and we all love to be flattered. It makes us feel good about ourselves. We crave that validation. We’re ravenous for it!

But flattery can be a dangerous thing…

According to Proverbs, “Whoever flatters his neighbor is spreading a net for his feet.” I take this to mean that if someone is flattering you, they’re probably trying to kill you (which we can all agree is probably true most of the time). This is a bit depressing, but useful life wisdom nonetheless.

I think the takeaway from this wisdom – other than keeping an eye on that shifty neighbor with all those weird nets in his shed – is to be wary of the perils of seeking approval, and of those who offer it. This is a difficult thing to do, as we are so pathetic and needy. We gobble up praise like Ms. Pac-man.

Mmmm… praise pellets.

Our hunger for praise compels us to go looking for it where we ought not tread and leads us to say things we probably ought not say. It also may lead us to sign gym contracts we ought not sign, or buy hats we ought not wear, etc.

Funny hats via funhousetheatrical.com.

How we use our words and wiles to flatter others and how we react to flattery says a lot about us. Unlike other, more tangible pitfalls (smoking, starting fights, pounding too many Doritos Locos Tacos/Miller Hi-Lifes, etc.), flattery is one of those sneakily potentially dangerous things we tend to wink at. Yet it can be damaging all the same.

It should be noted that being encouraging/supportive and being flattering are different things all together. While flattery is generally motivated by manipulation of some sort, being encouraging is always a good thing. No-strings-attached, selfless support edifies all people involved and makes the world much less awful.

So a few challenges for the day: 1. Keeping the flattery for selfish gain to a minimum; and instead, using our powers for good. 2. Surrounding ourselves with people who are supportive and uplifting (or at the very least, honest), as opposed to negative Nellies or shifty flatterers. 3. Being very skeptical of those who heap praise.

You’ve got to be careful out there! No doubt there are a lot of smooth talkin’ folks with nets, or spear guns, freeze rays, candlesticks (Col. Mustard reference) and every other kind of blunt object just waiting for their chance to take you down.

Pay those flatterin’ fools no mind. And be mighty careful where you go looking for approval!



Filed under F Abstract Concepts, F Commentary

15 responses to “Flattery

  1. Can I add an number 4? Beware of those who live to be flattered. I’ll tell ya why… I used to blog (and this takes a lot for me to say) on MySpace. During the years when it ruled the planet. In the community there, a community that once extended to the millions, there was one individuality who was quite possible the worst writer you have ever read – preachy, repetitive, self-righteous, hostile when it came to her “social commentary” and who threw in a good measure of nauseatingly bad “erotica” to leaven the vomit-bread that was her blog. What kept her in the game was, however, the fact that she would pop up on the blogs of other people and flatter them. Usually her victims were male and usually the flattery had some kind of sexual edge to it. As the community got thinner after the great die off of 2010 she became more and more aggressive, to the point where about half the writers there would not only block her from their blogs so they were seen as participating in this ridiculous ritual, but they were actively boycotting blogs which did. Which help hasten the demise of the community, as you can imagine. So flattery is not just a grit in the wheels of a good community, it is poison in its breast.

    • Wow, didn’t think I’d hear the term “vomit-bread” today. But you certainly have a point – living for flattery is a one-way ticket to an incredibly disappointing life and a dysfunctional community at large. 🙂

  2. RBElite

    I HATE those curly tail lizards. They immigrated here about 5 years ago looking for a better life and have taken over.

    • Always a treat to have an RBElite sighting. I do have a begrudging respect for the curly-tails; I mean at the end of the day I guess they’re just outworking our original lizards. Hopefully this shakes them from their complacency and we can strike a good balance. There are enough ants for everyone.

  3. bingo! and social media platforms are the mecca of flattery! millions of subscribers visit their social pages only to seek validation from others…recently heard someone say that most people have stopped clicking snaps for memories and click them for fb instead 🙂

    • Lol that’s pretty sad but man that says a lot about us doesn’t it? It’ll be interesting to see the long-term effects of social media on us as a civilization. Hopefully we will still be able to have conversations in 20 years.

  4. This post is RIGHT ON!! Please don’t take this as flattery. It really struck a chord with me.

  5. Impybat

    Negative Nellies…I’ve been trying to weed those out, but they come back like dandelions, or crabgrass, or cutworms…you get the picture. Gardening similes for all!

    • Ewww cutworms sound pretty gross! Our negative Nellie gardening analogy would probably be curly-tail lizards, those things are everywhere.

      • Impybat

        Cutworms are very gross. When I was a kid, I thought they got their name because when you dig the trowel into the soil, sometimes you accidentally cut them in half. Not so, apparently! Curly-tail lizards sound so cute!

      • I hate to bad mouth any species, but curly tails are the pits. Per capita, I’m not sure any animal poops more than they do. They’re an invasive species and I think they’ve already surpassed our smaller, better-looking local lizards.

      • Impybat

        Aww, that is a shame to hear about their copious pooping and the fact they’re an invasive species! We have a few on those here too– English sparrows (freaking everywhere, steal other birds’ nesting boxes, can’t even be cute for their trouble) and starlings…which I find adorable and clownish 🙂

  6. haha! This post is too funy! This passage is my favorite:

    I think the takeaway from this wisdom – other than keeping an eye on that shifty neighbor with all those weird nets in his shed – is to be wary of the perils of seeking approval, and of those who offer it.

    And I like the tags as well.

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