Show a sister some love: give a compliment

OMG. Why is she staring at me?

Normally I think regrets are a waste of time. Stewing over the coulda-shoulda-didn’t, when there’s nothing you can do to change the past. But I missed an opportunity recently to strengthen the sisterhood, and I think my inaction might have made it worse.  

Now I have the regrets.

I was brunching with my family at our favourite beachside café, when I noticed a woman leaving. And when I say ‘noticed’, I mean I fully stared at her for god knows how long, as it felt like time stood still. She completely captivated me.

The women was about 50, I guess (I’m crap with ages, but that’s okay, ‘cause they don’t mean shit anyway) and she looked amazing. Her outfit got me first – grey, low cut, backless bodysuit with leather shorts and cool, casual accessories. She was showing skin, but it wasn’t perfect.  

This woman had enjoyed the sun and her tanned, softened skin now sat in a more relaxed way on her body, but she still (rightly) had the confidence to show it off. Her body wasn’t sculpted from the gym, but you could tell she took care of her physical health. The top showed off her natural boobs, reflecting her vintage, but still worthy of a look. Her face didn’t show any signs of succumbing to the knife or the needle, as she let her bone structure, sparkling eyes and glowing skin take centre stage.

If she was wearing makeup, you couldn’t tell, and her facial expression showed a deeply contented and joyful woman, completely comfortable in her own skin. She walked arm in arm with a man who shared her joy and they appeared totally besotted with one another. I thought to myself, “I want to be her when I grow up”.

Like I said, I was staring at her for a long time, taking everything in with deep admiration. I wanted to tell her how fantastic I thought she looked, but I was frozen by her beauty…and my mouth was full of pancakes.

As she passed me, she saw that I was staring, and that’s when she changed. Her face turned from delighted to insecure, as she looked down at her top and adjusted it, trying to cover herself up.

I wanted to run after her to tell her that I wasn’t judging and that I was mega crushing on everything she had going on, but she was already across the road and, you know, pancakes. I fucked up an opportunity to show some ladylove, and instead, I made a beautiful sister feel shit.

My empathy kicked in as it got me thinking about times when I have been on the receiving end of the assumed judgemental stare. On multiple occasions I have begun the night fabulously, enjoying cocktail hour at home while steering myself towards confidence, courtesy of makeup, spanx and vodka.

A little “you go alright” from the husband, and off I strut like Beyonce into our local bar. All of a sudden, though, there’s people. Correction: women. Other women. Unknown women.

Confidence fades, insecurity shines bright like a fucking diamond. It’s not jealousy of them or fear that they will take my man, it’s the ridiculous assumption that if they look at me, they must be passing judgement on how I look, and that judgement can only be negative.  Then I want to throw up and leave. Good times!  

I’m a big girl though, and usually a couple of shots or Salt ‘n’ Pepa’s ‘Push It’ will snap me out of it. I would certainly not confront a random staring woman in a bar at the risk of appearing undignified…unless of course, Jagerbombs. But even then, I’d probably just take any deep, festering emotional issues out on my husband.  Ha ha ha, oh.  

Anyway, I had a revelation.

The eternal optimist in me started flying the Sisterhood-Ladylove-Surely Every Woman Thinks Every Other Woman is Great flag with gay, naïve abandon, and all of a sudden I’d solved the riddle.

Resting Fucking Bitch Face.  

I’ve had it since I was little (my Grade 2 and 3 school photos look like I want to cut someone), and I know it often gives off the wrong impression. Like with the fabulous woman at the café.  

Now I’m not going to sit around with an insane look of perpetual happiness on my face, but I’ve decided to be more aware of any potential judgey looks I might be giving other women. And if I do get sprung, I’ll try my best to flash a smile or better still, approach the lady in question to let her know she’s rocking my world with her get-up.  

I actually tried it out on Saturday night with a woman who would normally intimidate the hell out of me. She had everything out on display, and it was all amazing.

Usually I would sit there picking her apart until I felt better about myself, but I was feeling good and I’m done with the lady hating. The unwanted attention from every man in the bar was visibly irritating her, so when I got the chance in the toilet queue, I threw her a bit of lady love instead.  

“You are spectacular”, I said. She was genuinely flattered and thankful for the compliment, as I bet she was getting nothing but daggers from every other woman in the bar. In my opinion, one positive act of appreciation from a female stranger is worth more than a barrage of pervy pick-up lines from all of the men.

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Not only did my small gesture make my new bathroom friend feel great, but it lifted my spirits and confidence too. Like a weirdo, I bounced out of the ladies’ with a beaming smile, suggesting I’d either sniffed something illicit off the toilet seat or passed the most satisfying poo of all time.  

I once wrote that giving a compliment was ‘a bit like volunteering, a bit’, because acts of kindness are good for the soul and benefit both parties. It’s time to reverse the ‘women against women’ agenda that has been programmed into us, even by some feminists, and start showing our sisters some love, even if it’s initially just to make ourselves feel better.

Imagine the flow on effect of all that ladylove and positivity. Write an uplifting comment on social media (because god knows that needs some love) or let that lady in the supermarket know how much you dig her activewear. Be aware of your resting bitch face and know that you have the power to completely change another woman’s day as well as your own.

Look for the positive when you find yourself being judgemental, and compliment a random stranger.  It’s not creepy at all.

How do you show ladylove when you’re out and about? And do you suffer from resting bitchface?

Written By

Kate hosts the online community, One Cool Mother, where she encourages women to share their awesomeness and cut loose with like-minded ladies. She is also passionate about taking the bullshit out of beauty and finds nothing more satisfying than helping women choose effective products without wasting their money, through her Loveface Beauty edits and workshops. Kate also loves to write, drink whiskey and punch on…under the strict supervision of her personal trainer.


  • Fricken love this. It is so true and so easy to do. It truly makes someones day and someone did that to me the other day. I was sweating like a pig running up some stairs and this bombshell of a chick started running the same stairs. She was tall slim and was decked out top to bottom in designer lycra… actually there wasnt much to it and she looked smoken hot. To say i was slightly intimidated was an understatement. Same feeling Kate mentioned – usually I’d turn my nose up and think something negative to myself but at the bottom we were both puffing hating life but then both complemented each other on a job well done. She then went on to give me a complement about how much she wished she had my curves… this chick was 5’11 prob a size 10 and just gorgeous… i obviously complemented her too and then we had a full blown convo about exercise and running the dredded stairs and how much our legs were going to hurt for the next 5 days. Pushed us both to do more and made the battle just that little bit easier knowing we were all feeling the same. (For thr record i havent been able to walk properly since saturday and dread having to go to the toilet as my legs are so sorr hahaha)

    Challenge for the day – complement someone!!! You may just be what makes a shit day good for them.
    Great article Kate!!! Love it xx

    • Oh I love that, Tracy! (Typos and all, ha ha!) It really does break the ice, and make someone’s day. I complimented a woman at my gym a couple of years ago and totally creeped her out, which was a shame, and it made me cautious for a while. I like to think she felt good about it afterwards. Probably shouldn’t have told her she had a hot arse while she was naked in the shower. (I’m kidding. I didn’t really do that. Honest.)

      • Tracy, this is awesome! What an empowering exchange of lady love! Super impressed that you can run stairs too. My rickety old knees are screaming! Great job, girlfriend! Good luck with the toilet.

  • It does feel amazing to receive a compliment from a stranger! I must do this more. Thank you, great article, and you gave me a great laugh over the poo comment! Kathryn 🙂

  • I had a beautifully dressed woman come up to me recently in the veggie section of the supermarket and ask what perfume I was wearing. Made my day! ❤️ I conolinebt others often.. It’s easy. Great article Kate xx

  • Love this! Live it! Raise the bar ladies. A lady once told me she loved me skirt as I was paying for some petrol. I still feel good in that skirt and pass on a compliment. Why the hell not? Life is short enjoy!

    • Preach it, Linda! Being a competitive bitch takes too much energy. Spreading the lady love puts a sparkly spring in your step. Go forth and continue to be awesome!

  • I love to give sincere compliments!! Love it!
    Stranger in the street complimenting is my favourite.
    I’ve complimented hair colour, great jackets, fabulous accessories, handbags, bright eyes, lovely mini humans and small acts of kindness I’ve witnessed.
    Recently I’ve decided to add deliberately catching the eye of, and smiling and greeting older people (especially solo peeps) at the shops. It’s so rad! “Hello, lovely weather. That brooch is gorgeous.” Easy peasy. No resting bitch face here, it’s busy observing people.
    Here’s to more ladylovin’ and in this context, manlovin’ too.

    **Important Sidebar – if someone compliments you, accept it! Don’t swat away their kindness. Just don’t do that. Please!

    • Annette, you are the Queen! This is awesome. Gotta show those oldies some love. Their worlds get smaller and smaller until they eventually feel invisible. You are an amazing human. May your loveliness spread far and wide.

  • Love this! I’m a people watcher and mostly for the ‘ooo that looks good, I wonder if I could wear that’ or ‘where could I find that’ or you get the idea. But to give a compliment, to actually speak to a lady stranger, I’m going to try it!

  • A friend was just telling me that her & a friend ended up in a nightclub line recently, where they immediately felt out of their depth, too old, too overdressed blah, blah, blah. As they told themselves this was shit & were about to head for home, they had the same revelation as you, fuck it, we are going to be the best chicks here tonight, we are going to give compliments out like there’s no tomorrow. And they did. Not false compliments, they found something in everyone that was worthy of a compliment. Their shoes, their hair, their lipstick, whatever. They said they had the time of their lives. The compliments were lapped up, they made friends, had conversations with people they wouldn’t usually & danced until dawn. Girl on girl action, there quite obviously should be more of it!!!! 😉

    • Oh wow, Shan, I can’t tell you how much I bloody love that story. That’s the thing when you get into the age group where you’re often the oldest in a club or bar. You can either choose to be a bitter old mole full of jealousy or take charge and spread your womanly wisdom and positive vibes like herpes (or maybe not herpes, but you know what I mean). Love it!

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