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For some of us, compliments make us feel awkward. Yes, we still love them… but they usually sound something like this:
Lovely Person: “You look fantastic today.”
Me: “Umm… Happy Birthday.”
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.
Reactions like this can make us come across as insecure and not confident in who we are and what we have to offer. 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.
Why Do We Hate Receiving Compliments?
Generally speaking, most people hate receiving compliments because it makes them feel uncomfortable. We like to avoid things that make us uncomfortable, and therefore we deflect or disagree with the compliment made.
Often, how receptive we are to compliments is a reflection of our own self esteem and self confidence. The more confident we are, and the higher self worth we have, the more likely we are to recieve compliments well.
While we can ‘fake’ how we receive a compliment without being awkward, the real ability to accept a compliment with conviction is to have more confidence in yourself.
How You Can Accept A Compliment Graciously:
Self confidence is something that takes time to practice and develop, so in the meantime, here are some do’s and don’ts of how you can accept a compliment without feeling awkward about the situation.
1 – DO: Say Thank You
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.
This is the easiest way to accept a compliment because you’re not making things awkward by trying to ‘justify’ the compliment and you’re not trying to detract from it. You’re acknowledging the person who said something nice to you and thanking them for it.
This is the best go-to response, especially if you’re feeling super awkward and really don’t know what to say.
2 – DO: Acknowledge the Compliment and Give Credit to Others
This is a great way for someone who feels awkward in accepting a compliment to respond, especially if you’re the kind of person who feels like they need to keep talking. Often people keep talking after a compliment and run themselves down and make the situation even more uncomfortable. Instead, try acknowledging the compliment and sharing the credit with others.
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’.
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. For example, if someone compliments your presentation at work, you could say ‘Thank you, Sally, Peter and I really worked hard on this.’
The key with this response is to avoid the urge to put yourself down in the process.
3 – DO: 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 *insert awesome thing here*. This has the ability to completely change your day.
You could simply respond with ‘Thank you, I really needed to hear that today’.
You don’t need to explain why, you don’t need to say anything else, but letting someone know how much a compliment means to you not only makes you feel good, but it also makes the person who gave you a compliment feel great too. Winning.
1 – DON’T: Undermine The Compliment
We do this without even noticing. Ever since I started to really focus on receiving compliments in a positive way, I’ve noticed other people undermining the compliments they are given and it makes me feel awkward for them!
This is where someone gives you a compliment and you dismiss it by saying something that gives their compliment less value.
They don’t need to know that your dress was on sale when you bought it, it doesn’t make it any less beautiful or you any less gorgeous in it. They don’t need to know the presentation you gave that was amazing only took you 30 minutes to put together. It was still awesome, and you are too.
Refer to the ‘dos’ above and forget undermining the compliments you’re given.
2 – DON’T: Get Into A Compliment Battle
It can be tempting to return a compliment with a compliment, and in some cases this is okay. BUT, if both of you are uncomfortable, it can quickly turn into a compliment battle.
If someone gives you a compliment, after saying thank you, you can return with a compliment to them – but that’s it. Don’t go on and on about how amazing they are.
This can do two things. It can devalue the initial compliments given, and it can make you look like you’re fishing for more compliments. It’s not comfortable for anyone involved and it can get messy and awkward really fast.
3 – DON’T: Ignore The Compliment
If might be more comfortable for you to pretend like you didn’t hear anything when someone gives you a compliment, but that person has gone taken the time to say something nice to you, ignoring them is not only rude but it’s passively putting yourself down in the process.
It may seem like ignoring the compliment is the least awkward way to get around things, but it has the potential to make the situation even more cringe-worthy.
How To Get Better At Receiving Compliments
Compliment others often. It’s that simple.
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. But when they say thank you and let you know how much the compliment means to you, then it makes you feel good too!
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.
Boosting your own self confidence can also go a long way to making it easier for you to accept a compliment without feeling awkward. You are amazing. You deserve to be complimented.
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.