Tailgating is the Sincerest Form of Flattery

One of life’s most universal truths is everybody loves hearing how much you admire their attire. Men, women, and spoiled canines alike – we find great pleasure in having our choice of that-hair-with-those-shoes validated. I suspect some 87% of my impulse buys have stemmed from a stranger in the dressing room telling me I was rocking something or other. In all facets, we adore the surge of pride that comes from the approval of strangers.

Yet sometimes it’s easy overlook the more tacit approvals – the ones that come in the form of the woman in Target picking up the shampoo we just selected, or the guy at Starbucks who tells the barista, “I’ll have what she’s having,” or even the obnoxious tailgater who matches our every move on the morning commute. These are the validations that bring us back to the days of our little sister stealing our Air Supply’s Greatest Hits CD. On the surface they irk us, but the guy copying your weight routine at the gym is really giving a silent nod of “nicely done buddy.”

There are also the universal forms of validation, where everyone receives the benefit of the doubt and the world reverts to a happy place with unlocked doors and on-your-honor Tootsie Pop jars. There is nothing more refreshing than being trusted with a thirty minute treadmill limit or checking into a hotel who doesn’t think you’re going to steal their hangers, or when the family you’re baby-sitting for tells you to “go nuts” with their stocked pantry. No lifeguard on duty? Obviously the world knows you’re a killer swimmer and survivalist.

Implicit trust and approval from someone who doesn’t know you from Adam is just about as good as it gets. So next time you’re about to flip the bird to the guy in your rearview, consider sending him a thoughtful thank you note instead.

What’s the ultimate form of flattery for you?


About WhiteElephantInTheRoom

I'm an 80s music lover, traveling junkie, mac & cheese connoisseur, amateur wine snob, party-planning priestess and Chicago transplant living in Southern California. I find adventure in the everyday and have a unending compulsion to write about it. Hope you enjoy reading my mind!
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21 Responses to Tailgating is the Sincerest Form of Flattery

  1. Good job on the post; I really enjoyed it! For me, imitation is really the sincerest form of flattery!

  2. When I make someone a meal and they eat every last crumb. That says it all!

  3. paywindow7 says:

    When young men give way and allow you to pass going into a bar. Then they address you as Sir! and you realize that your’re 30 years older than they are….bummer.

    • Cindy says:

      I have to correct people that call me Ma’am.
      “I’m not old enough to be called Ma’am, damnit! LOL!

      • paywindow7 says:

        Unfortunately I am actualy that old. Some accuse me of being around during the Big Bang and I empathically deny that, although I do vaguely rememeber the echo.
        I once caught my reflection in a storefront window at the mall. I reported it as a Sasquatch sighting…

      • Cindy says:

        I am actually that old too, but I will not admit it.
        I have 2 teenage boys, 16 and 13.
        They call me “Little Old Lady.”
        Then I try to reach high enough to smack them both upside the head!

      • Lol I’m having fun picturing it!

  4. mahervolous says:

    Having someone quote what I said as their own, aka stealing my jokes. Go ahead, take them. Have fun!

  5. notquiteold says:

    When I’m shopping, I love to tell a stranger when they look great in what they are trying on. I know how that kind of validation can give ME a boost. I so enjoy paying a sincere compliment to someone I don’t even know.

  6. Cindy says:

    My ultimate form of flattery?
    Just what you said.
    I haven’t seen my house key in about 20 years. I leave my ignition key in my ’87 Jeep Cherokee so that I always know where it is.
    We get calls from telemarketers asking if we want alarm protection or whatever.
    No, thank you, we have 2 dogs.
    They protect us quite well, thankyouverymuch.

  7. Okay, these are some forms of flattery that had never occurred to me. I’ve always liked when someone laughs at my jokes or eats all my cooking but I think I’m going to go cruise Target in the hopes that someone picks up my shampoo.

  8. Love the post. Can I reblog it? ;0)

  9. Sara T says:

    I like when somebody compliments my kid. If we’re at a restaurant or church and somebody comes up and says that he is well-behaved or good-looking, I feel good about me– even though I’m fairly certain that he’s just wired that way and it has nothing to do with my parenting skills!

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