Have you ever experienced someone flattering you. They are smooth and you just feel a tinge uncomfortable. You like the words, but there is something not quite right.
The cliche car salesman is the first thing that comes to mind. “Oh, this sports car will be perfect with someone like you behind her wheel!”, or, “A man like you could easily afford a car like this. In fact you should be looking at the next model up… let me show you”.
Those who flatter their neighbors are spreading nets for their feet.
Flattery, according to Webster, means to soothe by praise; to gratify self-love by praise or obsequiousness (servilely compliant or deferential); to please a person by applause or favorable notice, by respectful attention, or by any thing that exalts him in his own estimation, or confirms his good opinion of himself.
Flatterers do not serve you, but their own appetites. Through smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.
So often flattery is disguised under the veal of encouragement. “Oh, I’m just encouraging you”, they say. The art of encouragement is often abused by the self interest and that is what quickly turns it to flattery — the self interest.
Flattery is a trap for the listener. Interestingly it’s also a trap for the one who delivers the flattery. It builds distrust and a bad reputation. e.g. car salesman** — need I say more.
Flattery will not get you anywhere. Let your words be genuine and sincere. Be a true encourager.
** This is a generalisation. The mere mention of a profession conjures up an immediate impression e.g. Dentist, pain. Politician, liars. I know there are really good, genuine, car salesmen (Dentists & Politicians too!) out there. But their field has tarred them with a bad reputation.