No. 71

Missed Connection


I’ve been an admirer of Sophie Blackall’s Missed Connections illustrations for years. But I never thought I’d find myself writing one of my own.

Let me set the scene a bit: I’m shy. Very shy. Especially around cute guys I don’t know. (The ones I know I’m fine with, but strangers? My voice just disappears.) And I’ve been meaning to be a little bolder and compliment people more often. So when I missed an opportunity to do just that recently, I decided that I should at least put it out there, and wrote this:

Saturday at the Coupe – w4m – (Columbia Heights/Mount Pleasant)

You: The red-haired bearded gentleman sitting at the counter at The Coupe on Saturday around 1pm. You were wearing a purple plaid shirt. You looked like you would smell clean and have good taste in art and music.

Me: The red-haired girl in the green dress and black cardigan sitting at the end of the counter. I don’t own any plaid shirts, but I do have good taste in art and music.

I should have told you that you had an awesome smile. The best I’ve seen in a really long while.

Nothing came of it really — two emails which were a bit humorous though odd. But there it is in cyberspace. My missed compliment.

Since writing that, I’ve decided that I’m going to be a little wild and crazy and give people compliments in person from now. Even if it’s awkward and strange. Because really, who ever disliked being complimented?


{illustration by Sophie Blackall}

About brandi

Brandi is a digital strategist, website developer, and founder of Alchemy+Aim, a company that helps entrepreneurs and business owners elevate their online presence and enhance their digital experience. Her academic background in theatre, philosophy and physics was the perfect foundation for launching her business, where she’s worked with Brené Brown, Laverne Cox, Judy Smith, and other notable thought leaders since 2013. She is an advocate for using technology in ways that humanize, connect and serve people as well as for asking deeper philosophical questions and teaching others to think more broadly about impact when they create, particularly in STEAM fields.

11 thoughts on “Missed Connection

  1. I have the same problem with being around attrative men I don’t know. It’s like the fact that they’re good looking automatically means I’m intimidated. It’s ridiculous. I think that’s the perfect way to break that habit (because really, that’s all it is, a habit) is to compliment them like you would anyone else. He may be good looking but he’s still just a person, and yes, I think just about everyone out there loves a genuine compliment.

    P.S. For all my talk just now I’m sure I’ll still be completely intimidated by the next attractive man I see.

  2. a compliment is always good to give. even if the reception is off. sometimes people take it well and other times they seem awkward. but i just remember that very few people know how to or expect compliments. so i keep giving them.

  3. For 2013 one of the things I wanted to challenge myself to do was to give one compliment a day – but I chickened out. :\
    Cute strangers always befuddle me – and then I spend the rest of the day thinking up witty/charming things I could have said! Glad you got to deliver your compliment via cyberspace.

  4. I think you need to be doing more of these missed connections and letting us know what the responses are – I’m intrigued now

  5. Aw, I think your missed connection message is so lovely! I bet it made that guy’s day, and was a fun interlude!

    As for the shyness piece, girrrl, I hear you! I used to be super-quiet around guys I was into or who were relatively strangers. Then after basically forcing myself to date like mad (online, setups, etc), I started to grow in confidence. By the end of my year-long dating challenge, I was meeting dudes randomly while out and about all the time (totally weird for old-me, but kind of liberating). Eventually I happened into meeting my now-boyfriend, who is so alarmingly handsome that I totally would have been intimidated by him in the not-too-distant past. If you ever need a cheerleader about this sort of dating stuff, let me know — I love discussing dating!

  6. A suggestion: Ease yourself into the habit of complimenting by starting with people you know and see often. Start with compliments about clothing then get progressively more personal – haircuts, makeup, personal characteristics. Then branch out to women you don’t know. Pretty soon you’ll be so accustomed to handing out compliments that you’ll let one slip to the cute gentleman in the coffeeshop before you can stop yourself :)

  7. I love Missed Connections! I think its a great thing, to give compliments. I have been making a point recently to compliment strangers; people in line in the grocery store, the baristas at the local coffee shop, people walking their dogs around the neighborhood. Timing is always the tricky part for me with giving compliments, I am still working on mastering making it not awkward feeling.

  8. How cute was that! You really summed up the situation! What a shame nothing came of it! I always give compliments to women I do not know, but find it trickier to give compliments to men! I should give it a go.

  9. Yes yes! I love Sophie Blackall’s illustrations too, and I LOVE that you wrote this. Why don’t we all say what we feel more, when it comes to complimenting others? I am going to take a leaf out of your bravery book.

  10. i love this!! and i love that you put it out there!!
    i am a huge compliment giver. to friends and strangers alike. have been since i was a kid. it’s like a tick…i can’t stop myself. haven’t had one negative response yet. :)

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