In fourth grade, my school made everyone in my class participate in a math competition. At that age, we were all so eager to do our best.

I remember sitting in the cafeteria, and we were all nervously fidgeting with our pencils and erasers as the teachers were setting up. As soon at the timer started, we all started racking our brains and furiously writing as our hands tried to keep up with our heads.

I was with my good friend Maggie when they announced the winners. I didn’t have high hopes for myself and was surprised to find out that I had placed at the top of my class.

When I came back to my seat after getting recognized, Maggie said, “I knew you’d win.” I gave her a confused look and without missing a beat, she said, “You’re smart.”

I’m sure my family members and teachers had said that to me before, but I can’t tell you how much it meant to me at that age to hear it from a friend.

It’s been ten years, and I still think about it.

Today, I try to make an honest effort to compliment people are things that are more than skin deep. A few weeks ago, I told one of my friends that she had a really impressive vocabulary. I was made fun of A LOT for it, but I don’t care. Those things feel good to hear.

Complimenting someone’s intellect or kindness often means more than complimenting their looks or their outfit. Those things are just temporary.

Your words carry more weight than you think. People tend to internalize what you say about themーthe good and the bad. Take advantage of that.

Give your friends genuine compliments as often as possible. It shows that you care about them, appreciate them, and, most importantly, that the beautiful, wonderful qualities they have don’t go unnoticed.