Why: People feel depressed (Valentine’s Day)
How: Set a table with a sign and wait for them
When: March, 2011 Where: Union Square, New York
Valentine’s day can cause a lot of depression, specially because it’s not everyone who have someone to say how special they are. So I decided to do this for them.
Seul Lee and Estefanie Duque helped me in this one. We went to Union Square and set a table there. There were three signs: “Is the world letting you down?”, “Free Compliments!” and “Enhance your Self-Esteem”. I took my balloons with me too, because now they’re going to be part of all the experiments.
I guess I was very lucky, first because as soon as I set my table, three girls from Green Peace approached me, and I complimented them about the initiative of fighting for a good cause. These girls seamed very interesting, and for the first 10 minutes they kept bringing more people, and I started to compliment about something they were wearing or their style.
When there was a group, another woman came and looked very shy, but then I said that she was beautiful and she opened a big smile. Didn’t say anything but thanks, and then left.
Three older men approached me also, one was a photographer, another just received a compliment about his scarf (was actually very beautiful) and another was Italian, and we discussed about the food in Italy.
The funniest part of this experiment, is that I was there to give compliments, but I was the one who were the most complimented. People were extremely kind to me, or appreciating the initiative or myself, but in a very kind way. First, I felt confused about it, but then I realized that this is what my project is about: bringing positive experiences to people’s life and inspiring them in doing things that they wouldn’t normally do. They were being very nice.
One aspect that I added to this intervention, was the cards. For each person I talked to, I gave them a card written nothing more than a compliment, like: “You’re awesome”, “You shine”, “You don’t know how loved you are” and “You’re beautiful to me”. And on the back, there was my website. People seamed to love the cards, specially the Green Peace group, they kept comparing theirs and were very proud of what they received.
Even after the intervention was completed, I could extract a smile from people at school each time I handed them a card. So simple, but yet so effective.