Monday, July 15, 2013

Handling compliments

How do you handle someone complimenting you after a performance or a demonstration?  What if the praise is well over the top?

This past weekend was San Jose Obon, our biggest festival event.  I had the last solo of the last song on Sunday.  As we were packing up, a man motioned to me and asked if I had a second to talk.

He said my solo really stood out to him of the eight in the song, and then he asked me if I knew Gene Krupa.  I told him I did, and he said my solo reminded him of Krupa's style of playing.  Since we were both fans, we talked a bit about Krupa's style.

I was actually a bit shocked by the compliment, because Gene Krupa is a legend among drummers.  It's like comparing my karate to a world champion or my writing ability to Hemmingway's.  I've gotten a lot of compliments but that was way off the charts.  Like my solo?  Thank you!  Like it the best in the song?  I'm glad it had an impact!  Reminds you of Gene Krupa?  Uh...well now...

Personally, I don't think I'm near that level, but instead of telling him that I thought he was wrong, I told him he was too kind and thanked him several times.  I figured that instead of having an argument about what he was feeling, I should just let him say what he wanted to and take his compliment with humility.

I've seen people take compliments poorly, like they were ashamed someone else really liked what they saw.  I've also seen people react almost too neutral to compliments, like the person could have said "I like kittens" instead of "I really liked your energy/solo."

So when you get a compliment, how do you handle it?  And what if that compliment is overwhelming, how do you accept it graciously without creating an awkward moment?

(Here's a link to one of my favorite Gene Krupa videos.  At 1:34 he has a short solo but the whole thing is pretty awesome.)

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