Have you ever given someone a compliment, such as, “You did a great job on that project!” only to get a response like, “Yep, I know…” or, “Of course I did.” Suddenly your sincere gesture of kindness has turned into a comment you wish you could retract. Telling someone you like his or her jacket, and getting a response like, “This old thing, it looks terrible on me!” is usually a knee jerk remark from someone who finds it difficult to accept a compliment. Unfortunately, it sets both of you up to feel uncomfortable. The next time someone offers you a form of praise, take the following Receiving a Compliment etiquette tips to heart:
Let the other person speak. Instead of interrupting the compliment with an inappropriate response, let the other person finish his or her sentence. Make an effort not to shrug or roll your eyes, or say something biting that negates the kind remark. An appropriate way to accept a compliment would be, “Thank you for noticing. I worked very hard on that presentation and I appreciate your feedback.” Or, “Thank you for saying that. It means a lot to me that you enjoyed the party. I worked for days on getting that zucchini recipe right!”
Don’t underestimate your body language. Wringing your hands or avoiding eye contact is a sure sign you are uncomfortable, which in turn, makes the other person regret saying anything at all. When someone pays you a compliment, look directly into his or her eyes, smile and express your gratitude for the kind remark. Our tendency is to immediately throw a compliment back, often times just making something up to deflect the attention away from ourselves. Instead, let his or her thoughtful words rest a bit before giving your own genuine acknowledgement of praise.
Give a sincere compliment in return. If a compliment is genuine, and you truly notice something worth bringing to light, let the other person know by saying, “I enjoyed reading your article in the paper last week.” Or, “I have seen you out running in the neighborhood. I admire your commitment to exercise in this summer heat.” Stay away from compliments about weight, choice of fragrance (too personal), or pregnancy. Everyone likes to be acknowledged for a job well done. It isn’t always as easy to accept a compliment as performing the actual task.
Practice makes perfect!