Flattery isn’t good for anyone. I’m not saying that praise isn’t good for anyone – it is important to know the difference. Flattery is defined by thefreedictionary.com as
Excessive or insincere praise
That really can’t be a good thing.
We all like praise, and when it is deserved it makes us feel valued, but I have to admit that when someone flatters me, I can’t help wondering what they want. If we need praise too much, then it makes us susceptible to flattery. I found an anonymous comment on the forum, debate.org, which I thought put it very well.
Flattery builds self-entitlement and puts people on a pedestal. They become motivated to live a life that revolves around their own desires and ambitions.
Flattery never benefits the person being flattered because it is based on lies. I think my suspicions of people who flatter is founded because flattery is generally used to benefit self. I flatter you because I want something from you, or want you to like me. It is actually a form of manipulation. There is a really interesting article on Flattery and Manipulation by Mike Myatt (The CEO), on the blog of the website n2growth. It is about flattery in business. The whole article is worth reading. Mike says,
… a leader’s desire to have their ego stroked makes them vulnerable to a very seductive form of manipulation – flattery.
It is important to recognise the difference between genuine praise and flattery. The two can look similar. Mike Myatt continues,
Discerning people understand flattery to be disingenuous, false praise motivated by an agenda.
Allowing flattery to continue is not good for the person who flatters or the one who is being flattered. Socrates once said,
Flattery is like friendship in show, but not in fruit.