If you have a Facebook account, chances are that you or one of your friends has received an anonymous compliment during the last few months courtesy of Georgetown Compliments, a profile on Facebook that posts messages complimenting members of the Georgetown community. Though the good-natured student behind the profile, which was created in November, has yet to reveal his or her identity, I would like to thank him or her for using Facebook — a social media outlet often associated with time-wasting, procrastination and occasionally, bullying — to promote positive energy on the Hilltop and beyond.
Through a remarkably simple technique, Georgetown Compliments has encouraged all members of the Georgetown community to speak positively of others online. Anyone can submit a compliment by simply sending a message to the account. Because all messages are anonymous, one can send a truly honest message without fear of embarrassment. Friends can let each other know how much they are appreciated; clubs can publicly recognize outstanding members.
A few sentences on Facebook may seem meaningless, but in my experience, these compliments have had a deep and positive impact on recipients. I received a compliment in December, shortly before I was leaving campus to study abroad. I was having a bad week and felt — wrongly, of course — that some people did not even care that I would not be at Georgetown for over seven months.
When I opened Facebook and read the anonymous message wishing me an amazing study abroad experience and saying that I would be missed, my mood completely changed. I was profoundly grateful that someone had taken the time to write such a moving message. I realized that my initial feeling was completely unfounded and that I was truly lucky to have such a supportive group of friends.
To this day, I have no idea who wrote the message, but if he or she is reading this, I really did appreciate your kind words.
My experience is not unique. I have heard from many of my friends that these compliments have helped to boost their self-esteem, motivated them to work harder and, best of all, inspired them to send good wishes to others.
As a Muslim student, I especially admire Georgetown Compliments because it is a forum for good speech — one of the values important in my religion. Indeed, the Quran encourages all people to “speak words of peace to each other” (25:63), and the Prophet Muhammad is reported to have said, “A good word is a charitable act.” Also, even short compliments are not meaningless because “Everyone who does [even] an atom’s worth of good will [receive a reward from God],” (99:7). Compliments are a double source of goodness because they constitute good actions on the part of the giver and make the recipient feel valued as well.
As such, I have made a personal goal to send as many compliments as possible. This is especially important for me because I am currently studying abroad in Rio de Janeiro. I know from personal experience that you miss things most when they’re gone, and despite my fun adventures and new friends in Brazil, I often miss my friends at Georgetown. I am grateful for Georgetown Compliments because it has provided me with a way to express my respect and admiration for others publicly while being in a foreign country.
Once again, I would like to thank the individual — or individuals — behind Georgetown Compliments for spreading positive energy and promoting good speech on campus. Nothing beats a face-to-face compliment to someone you care about, but for the majority of us who can’t muster the courage to do that, Georgetown Compliments is the next best thing. Our time on the Hilltop is limited, and we should constantly let our friends know what they mean to us. We may not get many more chances.
Aamir Hussain is a junior in the College.