“When I try to be affirming,” one person told me, “my words come across as flattery and that’s embarrassing.” Understand that affirmations and flattery reside on different planets. Flattery can be described as insincere and excessive praise, compliments, or adulation—given to further one's own interests or advance one’s own goals or manipulate another into agreeing to something they might not otherwise do. It involves using complimentary words to obtain what one wants, as in an attempt to initiate a romantic or sexual encounter or to obtain a financial or social advantage. Think of flattery as Most associations with flattery are negative—even in history. Dante reportedly thought flattery was so offensive that he compared flattering words to human excrement. Now that’s quite a mental picture!