#10: Praise

Love Your Neighbor Challenge

“You look nice today!”

You remember where you were standing, the exact weather conditions, and where you bought the clothes you were wearing the last time someone complimented your outfit. Kind words linger.

This Love Your Neighbor Challenge is to PRAISE your neighbor by giving an authentic compliment to brighten her day and warm her heart. Here’s how to flatter a friend (without being fake):

1. Prepare with prayer

Meditate on these Scripture and ask the Lord to give you an encouraging word for your neighbor:

  • People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7
  • Gentle words are a tree of life… Proverbs 15:4
  • Everyone enjoys a fitting reply; it is wonderful to say the right thing at the right time! Proverbs 15:23
  • The Sovereign Lord has given me a well-instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed. Isaiah 50:4
  • Everyone spoke well of him and was amazed by the gracious words that came from his lips… Luke 4:22
  • Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone. Colossians 4:6
  • So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11
  • Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. Ephesians 4:29

2. Make it last

If you praise someone’s clothing, the compliment fades as soon as they change clothes. Instead, tell them how much you admire and appreciate a lasting character quality:

  • Friendly
  • Dependable
  • Big-hearted
  • Hard worker
  • Alert
  • Creative
  • Flexible
  • Gentle
  • Content
  • Generous
  • Supportive
  • Hospitable
  • Responsible
  • Organized
  • Thoughtful
  • Conscientious
  • Forgiving
  • Loving
  • Honest
  • Brave
  • Compassionate
  • Humble
  • Unselfish
  • Loyal
  • Neat
  • Bold
  • Patient
  • Joyful
  • Patriotic
  • Capable
  • Tireless
  • Strong
  • Imaginative
  • Happy
  • Studious
  • Sincere
  • Funny
  • Helpful
  • Witty
  • Cooperative
  • Ambitious
  • Energetic
  • Cheerful
  • Wise
  • Resourceful

What not to say

Rockie Naser serves refugees from different countries and faiths including Buddhists, Muslims, and Hindus. Rockie recommends these careful compliments to start a conversation:


  • “What a lovely accent! Where is your accent from?”
  • “Your scarf/dress/head covering is beautiful/intricate/colorful! What country is it from?”
  • “You’re so brave to relocate. How long have you been in this country?”
  • “This is interesting! Will you tell me about your festival/celebration?”


  • “Where are you from?” (may be too personal in some cultures)
  • “What an unusual outfit!” (implies your neighbor looks different or unacceptable)
  • “Why did you come here?” (hard for asylum seekers or trafficking victims) 
  • “What are you doing?” (sounds accusatory or condemning)
2 women sitting on black chair

3. Say something specific

Take a general complement to the next level by saying something specific you’ve noticed about them. “Your flowers are so pretty! You’ve chosen such interesting color combinations and plants I’ve never seen before.”

4. Emphasize their impact

Explain how this aspect of their personality impacts others. “Your gardens brighten the entire neighborhood. Your hard work brings me joy every time I drive past your home.”

A compliment can lead to conversation
when it’s delivered politely and with sincere interest.
How to Love Your Neighbor Without Being Weird, page 77

5. Deliver with intent

Deliver your praise in person when possible, or send a handwritten card as a lasting keepsake. You can even give them a public shout out on social media (see #8: Post for tips).

6. Don’t expect a response

Most people don’t know how to accept a compliment; they deny it, deflect it or downplay it. Even if your neighbor doesn’t know what to say to you, you can bet they will treasure the words you took the time to say to them.

Follow the Love Your Neighbor Challenge on Facebook or Instagram! 

If these tips and tools have given you a new idea, if you’ve met a new neighbor or thought about your neighbors in a different way, would you please let me know?

Contact me or message me on Instagram or Facebook. I’d love to hear your stories!

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#1: Pray

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