Flattery is the Cinnabon of Human Interaction

Rob Long is a brilliant television writer who offers a weekly five minute commentary on KCRW. He outdid himself this week.

The very best thing about flattery is how incredibly flattering it is. If you’re on the receiving end of a nice blast of “you’re so wonderful” it barely matters – what am I saying, it doesn’t matter in the least! – if it’s true. If you really are wonderful. If the personal telling you how wonderful you are even thinks you are wonderful.

What’s important is that the person delivering the flattering cascade thinks you’re worth the butter. It’s like a kubuki moment: I’m probably lying, you know I’m probably lying, but you’re the kind of person it’s worth lying to.

And if you’re on the other side, if you’re delivering the flattery, it’s amazing how instantly it works, how immediately the recipient begins to glow and swan around. It’s like a sugar rush. It’s cheap, it rots your teeth and makes you fat, but for a few moments, you feel invincible. Flattery, done correctly, is the Cinnabon of human interaction.

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