English Essay on "Flattery"

Towards the end of last year, I attended a farewell dinner for a teacher retiring after long service in one of the local schools. Three or four persons delivered the usual after dinner speeches, packed with praises. An educationist, and fellow teacher — these were some of the samples of praises and endearing terms showered on that modest and demure person, much of course, to his surprise and embarrassment.

Were those speeches genuine praises or were they affected flattery? Very few people realize the difference between genuine praise and flatten’. Genuine praise is a sincere appreciation of some real merits. Flattery, on the other hand, is either excessive or false praise.

To my mind those speeches were fine displays of the art of flattery because not even a single speaker ventured to make a rational approach to the assessment of the character of the person concerned by at least showing some of the simple, innocent weaknesses in the character of the person. Is there any man whose character has no dark sides?

The person concerned felt uncomfortable and embarrassed. He give a cautious reply, with quiet reserve, ignoring the flattery heaped on him. We could draw certain conclusions from this ordinary event.

Unrestricted flattery is more often that not administered with an admixture of insincerity. To a mature person this could be a source of embarrassment. Very often such people shrug off this form of flattery or tacitly ignore it.

Many people indulge in a form of flattery with ulterior motives. It may be to gain some material reward or to work into other people’s favour, or to create a halo of good opinion around their personality. Flattery is a business undertaking with no material investment but the rewards arc great. Flatteters come near us with their month and glorify us with their lips.

Only the thick headed, or puff-headed persons received flattery unabashedly. Vain glorious persons derive immense pleasure when subjected to flattery. The obstinate fellow swallows the bait of flattery as he abhors even rational criticism of his conduct and actions. He cannot go wrong. That is what he thinks. Criticism, therefore, irritate him. Flattery enlivens him.

Does this mean that is wrong to praise other? Should we not feel pleased with such praise? When we perform a piece of work in an efficient way, our employer is pleased and he expresses his appreciation of it in a few commendable words. This is quite natural. It is normal to feel pleased when we know that others appreciate our work. In schools, when children do hard work, it is only right for teachers to express genuine words of praise to spur them on to better performance. For children to feel pleased on hearing such words of praise is natural.

Withholding praise from persons who deserve it amounts to selfishness. When we notice something good in another person we should compliment him for it. We owe this to our fellow beings. Some people fail to perform this task as they are too jealous to acknowledge merit in others. By recognizing and appreciating the merits to good work of others, we encourage them to nourish and cultivate similar merits or perform similar tasks. This is the positive aspect of giving praise to others.

One of the basic weaknesses in us is that we get flattered on hearing praise. Sometimes we even flatter ourselves. We begin to show signs of arrogance and over confidence. We should guard against this tendency. With humility as one of the anchors of our character, we could mellow the feelings or arrogance and over confidence inspired by praise.

False flattery is, a form of deception. Genuine praise is something we owe to our fellow beings. Not to get un-balanced either by flattery or genuine praise is what we should guard against. A sound axiom in life is hot to expect or encourage flattery.

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