The Lost Art Of Being Genuine


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Ah, being genuine. Seemingly a lost or overlooked art in today’s society, particularly when it comes to dating, courtship (another lost art), and relationships in general.

Long before I started writing I remember watching Leonardo DiCaprio in “Catch Me If You Can” invite a bank teller on a date. I remember specifically he invited her “out for a steak dinner,” and recall watching the expression on her face. It was almost as if he had offered her a million dollars.


Now, let’s forget for a moment the premise of the movie as well as some of the chauvinism of the era it was based in. The idea here is the nature of the interaction between the two. The genuine invitation and the genuine reaction. The excitement of actually being invited to dinner by a man. Something that in our society today just seems to be…gone.

There are many different factors that have come into play that have changed this dynamic, some are good, and some are bad. I think a lot of it has to do with social media and the fact that compliments are so watered down these days you could ring them out with a towel. It used to be that a compliment from a man was something rare and welcomed by a woman. Now, it is almost turning into a negative because A) Men have no idea how to give compliments, and B) Women are so tired of being flooded with them on their profile photos that they disregard them like a spam email.

Oh, there’s another one. Yawn.

We lose the nuances of compliments and flirtation. We lose the body language. The facial expressions. The genuine nature. We can hide behind keyboards and say how “stunning” or “beautiful” or “(insert overused word of choice)” a woman is with no repercussions. We have no more fear of rejection – but that also means we lose the true meaning of what it is we are trying to say – whatever that may be.

And we also lose the perception of the compliment from the receiving end. In a copy/paste culture, women hear the same thing all day every day from men. And, the floods of men who cross the line and make inappropriate comments are ruining it for the rest of us.


Men: When was the last time you felt truly comfortable approaching a woman in public to give her a real compliment, even if you had no further intentions but to make her day brighter?

Women: When was the last time you felt comfortable being approached by a man in public, not thinking he was going to try to take you home or say something inappropriate?

We are losing conversation skills and the comfort of simply being around each other as human beings. It is nearly impossible to be a man and not feel vilified by our own intentions, no matter how pure or genuine they might be (now is the time the women reading this are rolling their eyes because no men have genuine intentions…right?) – exactly my point.

It is also a rarity that women are genuinely – there’s that word again – taken aback by a compliment, because what can you possibly say that she hasn’t heard a million times before?

I think the key lies in men pulling back a little bit. It lies in building a connection with someone or starting a conversation based on mutual interests or the environment you are in, before you approach with telegraphed intentions to give her a compliment or buy her a drink. It lies in actually complimenting a woman on things she is passionate about. Her interests. Her intelligence. Her ambitions in life. Not just her great legs or beautiful smile.


During conversations like this people often bring up how it seems one-sided and ask why the men are always the ones who have to change. Well, that is not always the case, but I do think the largest weight of responsibility lies on the men here. We are the ones diluting the meaning of the compliment so we are the ones who need to work to bring it back.

If someone were to give you a diamond, you would be appreciative of it – unless you found out that same person was walking around handing everyone else an exact copy of that diamond. Not so special now, is it?

Less compliments, more conversations. Less advances, more discussions. Less flattering each other, and more learning about each other. Because if we want to build a real, genuine connection – that is where it has to begin.

Anyone can notice and compliment a woman’s outer beauty, but it takes a man with class to do what it takes discover who she truly is as a person. Then, you have earned the right to compliment her on it.


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  1. Mary Brown on September 14, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    Hallelujah brother I agree 150%I wish I had these articles back in jr.high until now it would have saved a lot of pain n one sided realtionship, and false expectation and me asking n believing for something that only comes from Jesus Christ n being a happy person myself.these articles remind me of myself so much n the way I think n believe I was always ridiculed because of the way I thought n believe just like this article.I would appreciate someone like this in my life.this is teaching me.I never had an example of a true gentlemen to gage myself by so I had to be independent as a woman believe me most women feels this way because they never had a real gentlemen so we learn how to survive.I want a man to teach our girls this also.I love men n I don’t degrade them cause they r ignorant to the fact. I believe they don’t really know or been taught.I have 3 older brothers n sister they don’t really know how they never had a blue print in front of’s kind of sad when u think of it to be honest..I think this would be an excellent class to teach to young women n men,old also though out the world.when you love n respect people as human beings n love them u want the best for them period.I want to thank you for excellent article.I think the man for me is worth waiting on we both are.I liked to learn something new n grow as a person.I see were I was ignorant and beliefs were far off as a woman in my independence.I accept n stand back n recieve a gentleman in my life to treat me with these qualities u mentioned.I want this is all I ever wanted in life to be a help mate.I’m willing to learn I just haven’t been taught the right way.I apologize so long.this touched my heart deeply.I thank you so very much :-).could you please send more articles daily.I would love to hear more n how I as a woman can always get better in respecting,honor,submitting to a gentleman.I believe I’m happy n I have a lot to offer I don’t want to become stagnant and compliance in my realtionship is so beautiful n wonderful when you have 2people that’s happy n give their all.I think it’s a union that the world need to see more n pattern their lives after.Jesus created us for such loving n beautiful enjoyment,happiness,peace, n happy people change everything n everything grows n blossom n turns beautiful don’t u agree? 🙂 thanks very powerful.very powerful message.

  2. Nancy Cokinda on September 14, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    Another perfectly timed, well stated presentation, James! Genuineness has been lacking from our culture for the last two generations, and it is apparent in friendships as well as courting relationships. I love to strike up a conversation with an older gentleman from the formal generation, and enjoy the genuineness, polite civility, and yes—the art of innocent flirtation. These men have the skills. It’s a great energy exchange—for the both of us!

  3. Carolyn on September 14, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    First of all…just wanted to say that I really enjoy your blog! Keep writing! Beyond that, I liked what you said today about compliments. With social media, text-messaging, etc…compliments are watered down and often do not come across as sincere, but I will say that receiving a verbal compliment when no one is trying to get something from me…feels great! It is true that when someone just approaches me, I get a bit worried…usually thinking…”what now?” It is nice to be proven wrong in this matter. It happened recently at work that a man stopped by my desk and said something nice, we chatted for a moment, and then he walked away…definitely made my day :-).

  4. austin jeffreys on September 14, 2014 at 4:58 pm

    Actually yesterday, in the dog park, a man had trouble getting his dog, the one I was petting, to come to him. “He’s distracted,” I said. “oh, the man replied,” -no idea who he was , probably never see him again, “I could be easily distracted too” It was said as a genuine compliment, I replied with just as genuine a “well, thank you.”

  5. 2 on September 14, 2014 at 5:03 pm
  6. Phyllis Walsh on September 15, 2014 at 6:24 am

    Dear James,

    I just love your reports they are so refreshing and spot on. Yes courtship unfortunately seems to be a thing of the past. I am a young widowed lady who would be described as being very attractive. However I still have old fashioned values and love the notion of romance and being romanced. Sadly in today’s modern society this has become a thing of the past. Where is respect gone? Courting is dead in the water. I am really shocked as to how badly values have sunk and I love your healthy and romantic values on life. That is all I want to say and just a big thank you for your weekly commentaries as well.

    God Bless


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