Column 45 – Giving a Compliment by Marla Cilley, The FlyLady

When FlyLady started in email, we didn’t have a website. We finally put some Digital Post-It Notes on a Bulletin Board to help answer the same questions over and over. We realized that even though we had seen the question hundreds of times that for the person who wrote the question it was her first time to ask it. So we wrote our answers and posted them on a page. That way we had a place to send that brand new FlyBaby.

In 2001, we built our first website. It was much the same format; colored boxes and no real organization. It was easy to send people to the specific colored box. As a Sidetracked Home Executive, I loved our colored cards. Change is hard for us. Especially me! Even the thought of organizing our website was more than I could even process. You know that feeling too!

Getting your home organized is hard. Who knows where to start? I didn’t either! I had to start with Babysteps. I picked keeping my kitchen sink clean and shiny. I could do just one thing. I was tired of crashing and burning and then in the end being mean to me. As the framework for my new habit, I focused on being kind to myself at the same time.

As a result of being kind to me I do not allow anyone to treat me rudely. My granny taught me, If you can’t say anything nice then say nothing at all! One of the things that my team has noticed from our website comments is that our FlyBabies don’t know how to give a compliment. They giveth on one hand and taketh with the other. I have defended every one of you who have done this because that is all you know.

You have never been given a compliment without someone ripping it out from under you. How sad for you! For example. The house looks great, too bad you couldn’t have gotten your act together sooner. Do you see how that leaves a bitter taste in your mouth.

When you give a compliment; stop yourself from talking too much! Say the good thing and do not negate the compliment by adding a BUT to your sentence. You know better than anyone how it feels to receive a back-handed compliment.

If you don’t have anything good to say then for God’s Sake say NOTHING! It is pretty easy to bite your tongue and walk away. For some reason the internet has given the mean perfectionist another avenue to abuse someone because they can be anonymous.

If you signed up for our emails; that tells me that you are ready and willing to learn a new way of living. When the student is ready the teacher will come. When something rubs me the wrong way; I look for the lesson I am to learn and the lesson I am to teach.

Our team has done some amazing work. They took our old unorganized website and decided to not reorganize it but to rebuild it from our FLYing foundations. I think we can call them Website Architects!

When you think about what an architect does, I think the name suits them well. They ask questions about what the structure is going to be used for. Who will be using the building? What’s your vision for the structure and what rooms are important to you!

An architect takes these questions and puts them into a blueprint. That blueprint does not happen overnight and neither did our website. Our first website was put together in six weeks. Each week new pages were added and before we knew it, the site had become a sprawling estate with rooms that went nowhere and rooms you could not find. The team of Architects have created a tool for you to use. They have been building our new site for over a year! As with any great construction project it takes babysteps.

Our emails are the real power to helping you FLY. Our website is a tool. With any tool we have to pick it up to use it. Go to our website. Check out the site map. Look at the links and the functionality. You are going to be pleasantly surprised at the gifts that our architects have installed. One that you are going to love is that the site is on your time. So if it is tomorrow in Australia the site will have your flight plan. How cool is that!

Please don’t allow your perfectionism to make you a backhanded compliment giver. Perfectionism rears its ugly head often, when you recognize it; you can put a stop to it! Oh and ending your statement with an apology is just condescending.

If you want to tell the team what you like best about the website please feel free. Send your compliment to with NEW WEBSITE in the subject line. Focus on the good in everything! There is always something positive to say!

For more help getting rid of your CHAOS, check out her website and join her free mentoring group at or her book, Sink Reflections published by Random House and her New York Times Best Selling book, Body Clutter published by Simon and Schuster. Copyright 2011 Marla Cilley Used by permission in this publication. Helping women around the world get their home organized. Copyright 2001 - 2020 FlyLady and Company, Inc.