Bon Mots

bon-mot-definition-photoBon mots is French, for good words, something I try to practice. I’ve learned to think before speaking spreading more cheer than dissension.

This came about because of all the ingenuous, silly remarks made to me by people who should check their mouths at the door.

I try to uplift rather than tear down…an art to be sure.

Just this morning I asked a young girl who, at 5 a.m. always looks so pretty, how she manages to pull that off at dawn. I can barely get my shorts and T-shirt on straight, let alone a little dress with strappy shoes.

Turns out she’s a yoga instructor who likes to greet her students looking nice before popping into her tights.

She glistened when I told her how breathtaking she looked.

Then I saw a woman on the train. She was sitting alone on one of the end seats looking sad and forlorn. She wasn’t particularly attractive…over weight, messy hair…but her hands were lovely. I tend to notice them because mine resemble a welder’s.

Before exiting the train I leaned in and said, “Your hands are really beautiful.” You talk about light…her face suddenly looked backlit, like in a Maxfield Parrish painting.

Words can either heal or wound. Every time someone makes a crack about my weight it’s like a stabbing. Yes I’m thin, but not skeletal by any means and what’s it to you anyway? Did I mention most of these charmers could lose a few pounds?

I never quite comprehend the chronic need to bring it to my attention, as if I don’t notice my own body. It’s mine for chrissakes…we live together.

Years ago I dated a famous actor who will remain nameless since he’s also famously married. I know, I know, but I did things like that at one point in my life.

Anyway, he took me to tons of theater, so afterwards we’d always go backstage to see the actors. He only said nice things to them, even after telling me he didn’t necessarily like the play. When I asked about this, he said, “Ducky, there’s always something nice to say…so you say it. There’s no point bringing anything up that will make anyone feel the need to stay drunk till next Tuesday.” He was older than I was, so they were bon mots to be sure that have stayed with me.

Try it out. Say something nice to somebody. Tell them they look great or you like their hair. Seek them out of you have to…

then watch the sun come out.

I’ll be waiting for a report.


About Susannah Bianchi

I'm just a girl who likes to write slightly on slant. I've had a career in fashion, dabbled in film and to be honest, I don't like talking about myself. Now my posts are another matter so I will let them speak for themselves. My eBooks, A New York Diary, Model Behavior: Friends For Life and Notes From A Working Cat can be found on Thanks.
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31 Responses to Bon Mots

  1. I try to do this every day. Working for a doctor, I have learned that just filling someone in on how summery they might look could put a person at ease. The key is to be present, aware and just human. Well, I’m off to make someone else’s day better! Enjoy yours too!


  2. micklively says:

    Here’s a bon mot for you: our reports could never match your reports, Susannah!


  3. skinnyuz2b says:

    You are right, Susannah. It takes such little effort to make someone’s day. Thanks for the reminder. Sometimes we are so focused on all we have to do that we forget to practice this kindness.


    • I didn’t mean to preach, but it’s almost like a study. I too flourish when something nice is said or written to me. Yesterday I was working a very long, tough day…my friend Amy sent me an email telling me how much she liked Mork and Bindi. I have to tell you Skinny, it was better than a quick belt of scotch.


      • skinnyuz2b says:

        Yesterday I was sitting in a waiting room. An older woman came in and I remembered reading your post that morning. She sat two seats away from me with an empty seat in between us. I leaned over and told her I liked the way her leopard sandals matched her leopard top. Susannah, first she giggled and then she blushed while saying that she hadn’t really noticed (doubt it).
        Thanks for writing a post that gave us each a lift.


      • That made me smile…see…guaranteed sweet response and I’ll just bet Skinny, she smiled because of you, all day long 🙂


  4. micklively says:

    I have a complaint: it doesn’t work!
    I just told Sally “I don’t care what all the others say, I think you look alright.” She didn’t look chuffed at all!


  5. katecrimmins says:

    I love this. I have always tried to keep my snark anonymous and non-directional. As I have gotten older I have learned how important this is. Like you said, sometimes that one positive remark can salvage someone’s day. People have carried me through many a crisis with an unexpected positive comment and I’m very grateful.


  6. Lynn says:

    So true Susannah. It takes little or no effort to compliment someone or pass along a little bon mot hug. The simplest of gestures can instantly make us feel a little lighter:-)


  7. I have done this for years. I love to see people’s expressions change. A nice comment may be the only positive thing that they have heard all day/all week/all month. It doesn’t take effort and it is something that makes a difference in a life. I have only had someone out of the blue say something positive to me and I remember vividly how it made me feel. This only caused me to be more determined to be a light to someone else’s day. Great post. By the way, what do welder’s hands look like? Just curious. ❤


  8. Elle Knowles says:

    This is a really good practice and is at the top of my list now, starting today. Sometimes I spend whole days at home alone till H returns from work. I’ll have to get out more to accomplish this or H is in for a lot of good, if not always completely honest, compliments! 😉 On the other hand, maybe it will get me something in return, like the backsplash I want in the kitchen, not the one he wants! LOL!


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