Lessons From Barbara Walters

We know the power of a kind word. We know that a heartfelt compliment can be a game changer in relationships between women after 60. And yet, sometimes we all need a reminder about how important it is to lift other women up.

I got my reminder in the shape of a face to face meeting with Barbara Walters recently.

A Chance Meeting, A Valuable Reminder

My husband, Sheldon Good and I were seated at a small banquet, at La Grenouille, a charming, French restaurant in Manhattan.  Very close to our table was a roundtable of eight. I could not help but hear the mix of several accents bantering back and forth in lively conversation: it sounded like a French woman, a gentleman from London and several Americans. One of the Americans was the icon, Barbara Walters.

During the course of our dinner my husband turned to me and said, in a nonchalant manner, “After we finish dinner, I am going over to that table to speak to Barbara Walters.”

“You’re doing what? Why?!” I replied incredulously.

“Because I know her!” Shelly replied laughing.

“How do you know her?” I questioned.

“We doubled dated fifty years ago! She dated a friend of mine for over a year, maybe two. She will remember,” Shelly replied.

“I don’t think it’s polite to interrupt their dinner so when you go to her table, I am going to walk toward the door and wait for you because I just don’t feel comfortable accompanying you to the table,” I said.

That did not stop my outgoing, affable husband who loves to talk to everyone!

When Dinner Ended

So, after dinner, we parted. He went to Barbara. I went toward the exit.

I walked about 15 feet, turned to see how Shelly was fairing and noticed Barbara Walters raise her hand signaling me to come over to the table. At first, I did not move, but she persisted in waving me towards her. I slowly walked to her side. She asked me to lean down and paid me a compliment that I will remember all the days of my life.

With a sparkle in her eye, she was very pretty, well into her eighties. She was dressed in all white, was very feminine, and had a warm smile and soft voice. She was ‘the Barbara Walters’ and she took a moment to compliment me.

Lessons From Barbara Walters

Empowered Women, Empower Women

As I laid in bed that evening with the lights out, I realized the real importance of meeting Barbara Walters. It was to pass on to my three daughters (I include my daughter-in-law) and granddaughters how significant and heartwarming it is to reach out to another girlfriend and even a stranger with a compliment.

So, the next morning I opened my laptop and quickly sent a short email on the importance of giving compliments:

Dear Girls,

I met Barbara Walters last night. I came away from our conversation with some important thoughts on why you should compliment other girls.

  • Take time to fill another’s cup. It is good for you. It is great for her.
  • Being kind to your friends is an asset; never a liability.
  • A compliment is an opportunity to make your girlfriend smile, feel special and be acknowledged.
  • Think about how you feel when a friend pays you a compliment. Wonderful.
  • Be a leader. It takes a strong girl to compliment another girl.

Tuck these thoughts into your minds. I love you all to the moon!

The Lesson At Work In Everyday Life

I’ve written often about what happens to our sense of “visibility” after 60. It can be challenging to feel vibrant and visible as time marches on. And yet, we ARE relevant! In fact, we matter more than ever as we have amassed so much wisdom and we have a village that needs our involvement in their lives.

Here are some ways that you can help empower women around you…

  1. Think a compliment, speak a compliment. In other words, never let a kind thought go unsaid.
  2. Find the good in others. If kind thoughts don’t come naturally, flex your kindness muscles and watch them grow! Challenge yourself to uncover good traits by looking at others actions from a new perspective.
  3. Put social media to GOOD use. It’s okay to enjoy the voyeuristic nature of social media, but even better if you use it as a chance to spread joy and gratitude. Compliments help do just that!+

Complimentary messages to our girlfriends should rule more so at our age because we have more time on our hands to spend with other women. There are many women who have the ability to brighten up another woman’s day. I might add that I think it is worthwhile to seek them out because they are confident and positive, like Barbara Walters.

I’d Love to Hear From You!

Are you generous with compliments? Have you ever noticed how good giving compliments feel? What a benefit that doing something kind for another woman makes us feel so good ourselves. And what about the other side of the coin… do you ever receive compliments? Have you mastered accepting compliments graciously after 60?

Share your thoughts with me via TwitterFacebookPinterest, Instagram or in the comments section below.

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First image via ABC News. (Photo by Donna Svennevik/ABC via Getty Images)