How to Give and Receive Compliments

4 tips and tricks for praising others perfectly and accepting esteem

Whether you give them or receive them, compliments can make you feel good. Giving a compliment is one way that you can boost another person’s ego while improving your own karma. And when you get a compliment, it just might make your day. However, getting and receiving compliments can also be a major source of stress as you navigate your different social environments. By following a few steps, you can make giving and receiving compliments joyful again.

Step 1: Plan ahead

A well-framed compliment is one that is sincere without being gushing. If you need to build up the confidence to compliment others, think of your compliment beforehand, planning exactly what you will say so you appear confident without floundering.

Step 2: Be real

Giving and receiving compliments is a social interaction. People may know when your compliments are not sincere, so you always want to make sure you’re speaking truthfully. When you are receiving a compliment, it's important in American culture to look the other person in the eye and give a sincere, “thank you.” Whether you’re giving or receiving compliments, you show respect by being real to the other person.

Step 3: Think about the situation

According to Psychology Today, a compliment can have a great degree of power. However, it’s important to give the right kind of compliment at the right time. For instance, Psychology Today remarks that complimenting a person on her dress in a formal meeting can be seen as less than helpful. In addition, if you’re receiving a compliment, offer a heartfelt response appropriate for the situation.

Step 4: Look for the extraordinary

In order to give a good compliment, you need to keep your eye out for something that a person does well. Focusing on complimenting things over which the person has control, like their kindness to others, rather than things over which they have no control, like their looks, can be the most powerful. Pick something that really stands out, and don’t give a generic compliment. As a compliment recipient, Psychology Today suggests that gracefully receiving a sincere compliment is important. This means brushing it off out of a sense of modesty is actually a bad idea.

Tips and warnings

When choosing a compliment, go with something that you know the person you are complimenting will really enjoy hearing. This can help you develop a friendship. A compliment that goes over the top does more harm than good. Be careful not to discuss too many things in an insincere way.

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