When you get a compliment say “Thank you”.


My friend Rick, fly fishing on Lake Ola in Tangerine, Florida

Everybody needs to meet my friend Rick…I hope everyone in the world has a friend like Rick. That would be hard to imagine though because there are simply not that many people around like him. He is a cross between Mother Teresa, Ted Nugent, Albert Einstein and Romeo….well at least the first three.

I met Rick as a freshman in college. We ended up being roommates the last three years and shared many incredible experiences together. It did not take long to realize that this kid from Fairfield, Connecticut was cut from a different cloth. He was athletic (played baseball) and polite. He was smart and humble. He was strong but kind and peaceful. He was the guy that everyone wanted to be around. He was everybody’s friend.

One of the things that stands out about him to this day is the way he handles a compliment. I was raised my whole life deflecting compliments. “Nice pass Gary…Nice run”……to which I might add…”just glad it wasn’t intercepted or I didn’t fumble”. If somebody said I looked nice I might say something like…“not bad for an ugly guy”. A compliment meant that I had to deflect it…self deprecation just became a part of my vernacular and exists to this day.

After teaching a lesson at church recently a young married man complimented me on the lesson. Instead of saying thank you, I semi-stuttered and finally said “well I am just a knucklehead and I tend to relate well to other knuckleheads”. We both sort of laughed and he said “so you are saying that I am a knucklehead?” We just sort of kept moving and sort of semi-laughing. What a thing for me to say! I apologized the next day and he was fine.

What I learned from Rick was simple. It is ok to say “thank you.” I remember giving him a compliment as a freshman and instead of him deflecting it he would say “thank you”. I remember thinking something to the effect of, who does this guy thing he is…You don’t look that good or that wasn’t that good of a play etc. Because he said “thank you” I thought wow, he must really think I meant it.

What a dummy I was. Of course I meant it and his response was simple and oh so right. “Thank you”. What a beautiful and simple way to acknowledge somebody else’s expression of kindness. It does not require any more explanation, dressing up or rebuttal. “Thank you” says it all in sufficient and powerful words. It stands alone perfectly.

When we turned 40, four of us college buddies decided to do an annual fishing trip. We have barely missed one since then and the several days together each year have been a blessing to each of us.                                

It has been a lot of fun for all of us for sure but where in the world can you find a friend like Rick that brings his own bread that he made to the fish camp. How could we be so lucky to…

have a friend that can’t wait to get out of the boat to cook for us? He never complains and always makes everyone else feel good.


He even brings food to the neighbor, my mother in law.

Do you guys have a friend like Rick? I hope everyone in the world has a friend like him. A whole book could be written about what makes a man do what he does. He is a hero to those of us who have been fortunate to know him.

All I can say is all that he would ever say:

Thank you!

 Rick at the annual Florida fishing trip.

HighFive Your Life Principle: Just say the right thing when given a compliment…say “Thank you”.

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