this week’s assignment was so…interesting! the variety of reactions- in asking people to write compliments about themselves- was so…curious! my approach to people was pretty casual (after all, the request to write a one-liner on a toy ball doesn’t demand much time, effort or explanation.)
yet not a single person took the request, without first asking a question or two or several:
what’s the point? what’s this for? why are you doing this? where do i write?
body language gave away everything, especially about people’s opinions of what i was asking of them:
a stupid look. a blank look. a shrug. a compassionate smile. eyebrows raised in confusion. a faraway gaze. a fiddling with the Sharpies, a fidgeting with the ball.
the quality or quantity of time people spent with the ball signaled certain personalities:
some people spent more time thinking about what to write than actually writing. some messed up and were frustrated by the permanence of permanent markers. some people used more than one color. some wrote in block letters, some in caps or cursive.
i tried not to read right away what any person wrote. but after several compliments, i looked at the ball and noticed that nobody was writing sentences, they were writing single words. which was fine. but it made me wonder if people:
a) don’t follow directions very clearly
b) don’t understand me very clearly
c) can’t be original and will only copy how everyone else has written on the ball already
one lady i approached with my ball was very flustered at the request to write a self compliment. i explained that each self compliment would become part of one big collection of compliments given to someone else. i went on further (in adopting the phrase) to say that the ball represents that compliments make the world go round. she didn’t ask any extra questions. she didn’t give me any telling look. i still don’t really know how to think about what she said instead:
that would be really hard. i need a minute to think about it.
this was so horrifyingly unadventurous to me that i became flustered myself. if i could rewind time, i would have asked for this lady’s address so that she could be the recipient of the compliment ball. more than anything, i learned from this assignment that there are people out there that really need it!