On the surface flattery and praise can sound similar, but at the core they are exact opposites. The nature of praise is authenticity. It derives from a genuine delight in something observable. Flattery, in contrast, is insincere. A flatterer either doesn’t genuinely believe what they are saying or doesn’t really care if it’s true and valuable or not. How do you know when your words — and the words of others — are flattery or praise?
I didn’t dare be vulnerable with my peers in high school. It wasn’t safe.
I kept my interactions as superficial as possible for fear of being mistreated and rejected. I kept my thoughts, dreams, and feelings to myself. As a result, I was totally disconnected from my peers. It was painful.