A week of compliments
I’ve always thought of myself as a person who makes a lot of compliments, I don’t really know why. Well, it turns out it’s not exactly like that, or, at least, people compliment me much more than I do!
This week I reported every compliments or appreciations someone gave me and the ones I made.
I also tracked to whom or from whom they were, what was the main reason, and if they were said in real life or through texts, emails and Twitter.
I tried to be very genuine: I didn’t want my behavior to be influenced by this week of data, so I honestly only complimented people in occasions I would have sincerely did it during other weeks.
Looking at my data, I got a lot of my appreciations over Twitter and by strangers.
But I also had nice compliments from my friends and coworkers, and from my boyfriend: most of them were acknowledgments of something I did work-wise, or for the time I spent helping some friends.
And a good part of them were about Dear Data: in fact, even if at this point the website hadn’t been launched yet, we were indeed sharing it with friends and coworkers to getting feedbacks, and I was very grateful they all seemed to like it very much!
I definitely got way more compliments than the ones I delivered, oh - but at least I praised Stefanie during our Skypecalls :) - and I swear it wasn’t to report them! :)
This week taught me a very simple thing, that one might give for granted if we don’t stop a little bit to think of it: It feels good to receive a compliment!
It brings positive sentiments: someone has noticed something about you they considered worthy of praise.
I wanted my drawing to absolutely reflect my negligence, thus I divided the space into 2 separated parts, the compliments I said and the ones I received.
The elements of the visualization are rendered as tiny and compound symbols, and they have been drawn with a bit of imprecision, I purposely didn’t use a ruler this time.
I illustrated them this way because I picture compliments in my mind as little ephemeral actions, with fuzzy boundaries but lots of meaning behind.
After this week I really figured I could be nicer, and credit people more often if they do something I appreciate, also because saying something nice I guess could also reinforce our relationships. So often we just give for granted that we love the other person, our friends, or that we enjoy spending time with them, or that today they look particularly good, without acknowledging it.
After this week I also focused on my relationships with my coworkers, especially the (super brilliant!) designers who work with us at Accurat.
I decided I would try to praise them more explicitly and more often when their do good jobs on the projects, and to tell tell them how their contribution to the project made it better every time.
I remember this was also the point when I proposed to Stefanie that one of our next weeks of data could be a performative act of ‘being nicer’ (sneak peek of one of next topics :)).
I love love love Stefanie’s card, she tracked the compliments she received and she created beautiful and articulated symbols for each types.
I love the colors she used, I am always using black as the main color, while she is definitely experimenting more on that, I want to evolve my colors scheme for sure.
This week made me think. (if it wasn’t clear already!).
It was the end of December and I was talking about it with my best friends Shana, and we formed a ‘Resolution club’ together.
I was happily surprised that I naturally started my resolution list with ‘be nicer’ kind of acts!
I want to share my complete list here below, which is this kind of thing where you tell the whole world you’re gonna quit smoking so they can yell at you if you don’t. (I don’t smoke, by the way).
Giorgia 2015 resolutions:
- Don’t be negative, irritated, grumpy, anxious, never.
- Be nicer to Gabriele (boyfriend) - always, don't snap at him, don't be fretful, hug him more.
- Strengthen my friendships: never say no or put off spending time with my friends, and make them feel important in my life.
- Learn new things, grow personally and professionally stretching myself out of my comfort zone.
- Question my personal limits, obsessions and routines. Try to overcome the ones that keep me from having interesting and new experiences, and from pursuing my points.
- Seriously thinking to introduce more fun into my and our live, try to be light and fun as much as possible!
- Live the now, not the future.
- Don’t be scared.
- Give something up.
- Wear more clothes, it makes no sense to "save” them.
This week we decided to track the number of compliments we recieved. I know, I know... this makes us sound incredibly self-centred, right? However, we did this because we wanted to both make a record of and appreciate the kind things that people said about us.
For me, compliments also included when someone said ‘I love you’, as surely that has to be the best compliment of all.
At the beginning of this week, I felt nervous and worried that I wouldn’t have any compliments in comparison to Giorgia, particularly in regards to design work. The whole thing reminded me of being in school and feeling that dull, lingering worry about not being cool enough or potentially being picked last for a team, though near the end of the week this feeling dissapated as I just savoured the kindness found in the compliments I actually did receive… thanks, everyone!
I did relatively well at tracking most of the week for compliments (though not very many, really) but then I had another data void that I’m sure many UK people can relate to: the UK Christmas party season (I had three Christmas-themed parties to attend in 48 hours)!
I’m slightly worried that I’ve had so many data voids and Giorgia hasn't, but I promise that I am relatively well-behaved. I think these ‘data voids’ are quite telling of me and my character: I like to record them, and I record them because they make me smile. I like chaotic events with crowds and music and these are generally quite difficult to combine with methodical data tracking. The ‘data voids’ function as a way for me to capture extreme, mostly-wonderful moments from my year (Except for one bad week, which you’ll soon see).
Although I did likely have less compliments because due to my data voids, I’m not sure if the UK is really a compliment culture. When I lived in the US I would happily go up to someone I didn’t know and tell them I loved their shoes, their hair, their clothing, and so on. However, here (and perhaps this is just in London) these types of compliments seem less accepted or less appropriate, and I’ve slowly stopped complimenting people in this way, because it just didn’t feel right.
Other data memories include Giorgia manipulating the data, and my husband saying his usual drunken (but sort of lovely) ‘I love yous’ at the end of an alcohol-fuelled party evening. These are specially noted in the drawing!
I tried to make my drawing quite elaborate to detract from the fact that I didn’t have many compliments… also, since compliments are seen to be quite flowery, pretty things I thought that while this this design is not necessarily functional from a data perspective, this style made sense here.
Of course! Why didn’t I think of this? Instead of being super self-centred and only focusing on compliments that were given to me, I should have also tracked the compliments that I gave to others. I love how there always this human, kind, warm aspect to Giorgia's data that often I tend to overlook when gathering my own.
I really like this drawing, I think this is one of my favourites. I like how the data, when drawn in this small, clustered way, feels as precious as you would expect a compliment would.
I also noticed all of Giorgia’s compliment’s from Twitter/email about her work, and these are quite possibly some of the most lovely compliments you could receive: there's always something nice when a stranger feels compelled to get in touch and let you know they enjoy what you’ve made. I never compliment people in this way, and this is another reminder to do this more: it doesn’t take much to let people know they are appreciated.
Thanks for all the compliments to me, Giorgia, but what I find funny is that I missed one off my card, maybe it occurred during my ‘data void’?