Compliments are one of the great side effects of my job. Not only do I have the opportunity to give them often but clients often hear more of them after we’ve worked together.
So, what is the right way to take a compliment? And how do you give a compliment that the recipient hears?
Tips on how to take (and give) a compliment after the jump!
For those busy Type As among you, the short and sweet answer is say “Thank You!” Bonus points for saying it with a smile. Nice but not expected, especially if insincere, give one back. ;-)
Beyond accepting it graciously with a thank you, here are a few things to avoid when you are the lucky recipient of a compliment.
“Your hair looks great!” “Ugh, no it doesn’t.”
How many times have we heard something like this exchange? How many times have we been a part of this exchange? I literally just read a similar exchange on Facebook. Stop it!! I can say for certain the compliment was meant to shower you with good feelings, not make you bummed and argumentative.
“I paid $15 for this at TJ Maxx!” Luckily this trends seems to be dying down but remember when literally every item on a person was allegedly found for less than $20? I have no idea how the retail industry made it through that season. I get excited about finds too but we don’t need to show all of our cards or unintentionally convey that our complimenter has cheap taste. An alternative response, “Thank you! This was a great score and I’ve loved it.”
Said in your best Southern drawl, “Oh, this old thing?” Consider that in the honorable quest for humility you are inadvertently insulting your complimenter’s taste. At your expense! Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It’s their opinion. Say thank you and consider that they may be telling the truth. ;-)
What to Do
Say Thank you! If it really makes you uncomfortable, switch to a new topic. “You know I got this in [my favorite store, town, new boutique], have you been/heard of it?”
And of course, you can return the favor.
How to Give a Compliment
Make it Personal
Opt for an “I” statement rather than a “you” statement. “I love your dress.” vs “Your dress is great.” To the I statement, it’s tough for the recipient to argue your feelings on the matter while they have room to argue with you over whether the dress is great.
The more specific the better. Suzy is really great vs Suzy really makes those around her feel included. Which do you believe more? Which do you want to hear? I know the second is the one I want to hear!
Go a Step Higher
Did you know women (and guys too) hear a step below whatever adjective you use? So “That looks good” goes to “That looks ok/fine/acceptable.” Silliness but true. So if you really want your compliment registered at its intended level, go a step higher. Good to great, great to fantastic, fantastic to amazing… No need to lie about it or be fake though!
Keep it Real
Don’t say something you don’t mean. They’ll know it, you’ll know it, and then everyone just looks silly. Social graces are about you looking good and helping those around you look good so don’t compromise that for empty words.
Thank you for reading. I love the way your eyes look when you are reading this blog. ;-)