When is a compliment not a compliment?

Compliments are not only in verbal form. You also feel complimented by association. For instance, you feel good being part of a certain group or wearing a particular brand of clothing.

Flattery comes in the same way. And as you know, compliments come from the heart but flattery is insincere, tongue-in-cheek, and almost always comes with a hidden motive.

Flattery in verbal form is easy to spot. But what about flattery by association? Have you really thought it through thoroughly about the group or network you associate yourself with? Does it pay you a compliment? Or is it flattery?

Look at those cigarette ads. Beautiful people, fast cars, expensive locations. But look at smokers in real life? An ad with smokers should actually be a group of people with yellow teeth, bad breath and foul-smelling hair.

Want to be part of a popular group at school? Look at those hanging out with a bully. They look confident and seem to laugh a lot, flattering each others actions. Then look at them when the bully is not around. Suddenly they look downtrodden and lost. Poor souls. They should have have thought twice.

Your action could be a compliment to you or an insult. When you vote, take a closer look at the results of the candidate's past actions. Do you want to be associated with that?

"Flattery corrupts both the receiver and the giver." - Edmund Burke. And as George Chapman said, "Flatterers look like friends, as wolves like dogs."

Let the people and things you associate with be a compliment to you when others look at you.