For some of us, compliments make us feel awkward. Yes, we still love them… but our attempt to accept a compliment usually sounds something like this:
Lovely Person: “You look fantastic today.”
Me: “Umm… Apples and Bananas.”
For a lot of people, when we receive a compliment we tend to deflect or deny. Our first response is to disagree with whatever is being said because it makes us uncomfortable or because we genuinely disagree.
And what’s worse is we often add a self-insult to further ‘prove’ that we don’t deserve the compliment. Or add a justification as to why it’s not actually us deserving the compliment.
How many times has someone complimented your outfit for you to turn around and say ‘oh this, I’ve had this for years’ as if for some reason the length of time that you’ve owned the item should determine if a compliment should be given or not?
Or if someone mentions to you what an amazing job they think you’ve done at renovating your house and your immediate response is to give your husband all the credit, even though you know you’ve spent just as many hours at the hardware store, you’ve learned new skills like now to lay tiles and you’ve somehow managed to keep your kids alive in the process.
Reactions like this can make us come across as insecure and not confident in who we are and what we have to offer. Plus, it not only then makes us feel uncomfortable when receiving the compliment, the person giving the compliment could feel uncomfortable too. Which means you’ve just turned a lovely gesture into something awkward and odd and likely to be avoided in the future.
Rather than reacting awkwardly to a compliment, try a few of these tricks to be able to accept a compliment without sounding like you speak another language or have zero self confidence.
1 – Say Thank You
Seems pretty simple hey?
This is a great starting point and if you’re really having difficulty accepting compliments then it is more than okay to stop right here. Just politely say ‘thank you’ and then move the conversation on.
Saying ‘thank you’ is such a great response for those who really struggle with receiving compliments. And to be honest, if you’ve spent a lot of time deflecting compliments, it’s going to get awkward for a while. But saying ‘thank you’ not only accepts the compliment, but it shows your gratitude for the compliment too.
2 – Acknowledge the Compliment and Give Credit to Others
This is a great way for someone who feels awkward in accepting a compliment entirely upon themselves to respond.
For example – if someone says to you ‘Your hair looks fantastic’ you could easily respond with ‘Thank you, my hairdresser is fabulous and takes great care of me’. So you’re not deflecting the compliment, you’re saying thank you and acknowledging it, then adding someone else into the compliment.
Or as above with the renovation example, you could respond with ‘thank you, my husband and I worked so hard to get it done and we love it’.
Alternatively, if your compliment is based on work done within a group, you could use the opportunity to give equal credit to the other members of the group. Saying something like ‘thank you, we all put in so much effort to make this happen’.
The key with this response is to avoid the urge to put yourself down in the process and give full credit to others.
3 – Compliment Others Often
Compliment others and take note of their reactions. How do they respond? How does their response make you feel? We can learn a lot this way.
If you compliment someone and they respond by putting themselves down, it can make you feel awkward too – you wouldn’t want to do that to others. It feels good when we compliment others, we should be making it part of our day, every day.
But pay particular attention to those who respond well to compliments. The more you compliment them and are comfortable when you hear their responses, the more likely you are to respond confidently to compliments as well.
And for those who are still awkward about receiving compliments, send them this article.
4 – Let Them Know How Much The Compliment Means To You
Sometimes compliments come at just the right time. Maybe you’re feeling low, perhaps you’ve just had a crap morning… then someone tells you you’re looking fabulous or they love the way you’ve…. This has the ability to completely change your day. You could simply respond with ‘Thank you, I really needed to hear that today’.
In a world that is filled with so much negativity, where the news and our news feeds are filled with tragic stories and violence – it’s nice to add some happiness to your day, and to someone else’s.
So I challenge you to think a little more next time someone compliments you. Don’t be so rushed to deflect and deny, say thank you and engage with that person. Then compliment others. Pass on the happiness.