Wednesday, 14 September 2016

How to respond to a compliment: A Helpful Guide

Compliments. How do you respond to them? I find it really hard to respond to compliments. It usually ends up with one of the following happening.

Other person: *compliment*
Me: "Yes"

Other person: *compliment*
Me: *hides from awkwardness*

Other person: *compliment*
Me: *says thank you and wonders if just accepting the compliment is the wrong thing to do*

Other person: *compliment*
Me: *recites why they actually are wrong*

Other person: *compliment*
Me: *head swells from flattery*

Other person: *compliment*
Me: *compliments them on the same thing and comes across as a very unoriginal person*

Can you relate to any of those scenarios???? You just can't win!

I've been thinking about the right way to respond to a compliment. Surely there's a perfectly graceful and good way to respond to a compliment that doesn't end up with both parties wishing neither had said anything?!

Here are my thoughts (and the results of a Google study, let's be honest here :P).

Firstly, I think it's important to recognise the spirit behind the compliment. Let's assume the person is being sincere and is being a nice person in complimenting something they like/appreciate about you or your actions.

If this is true, and it will be, most of the time, you need to understand that they aren't fishing for compliments by complimenting you.

Most people, in complimenting, are saying what they honestly believe to be the truth.

In which case, if you deflect the compliment or tell them why in your opinion, they are wrong, you're actually being rude.

Don't be rude! Just don't.

This is something that I'm having to learn. Me trying to be modest and deflect the compliment is actually undermining the compliment or insulting the giver. When you devalue a compliment, you can send the message that you have a low self-esteem, aren’t confident in your work or don’t respect the opinion of the person who gave you the praise.

Let's take an example.

Sarah: "You're beautiful, Rose."
Rose: "No I'm not."

Sarah now feels bad because Rose doesn't believe her. Rose has also talked about herself negatively which isn't good for her self esteem. Who wins? Nobody! Don't be like Rose! She may feel she is being modest in her denial but she actually isn't.

Let's have another example of how not to do it.

Sarah: "You're beautiful, Rose."
Rose: "I know."

What's happening here? Rose isn't telling Sarah she is wrong, this time, however she is being quite conceited in how she accepts the compliment. Don't accept compliments by praising yourself more.

Also, don't ask for additional reassurance.

Sarah: "You're beautiful, Rose."
Rose: "Really?"

Rose, she said so, didn't she? Of course she thinks so!

So how do you accept a compliment graciously?

With gratitude. Do you feel grateful they said something kind to you? Express that gratitude!

Sarah: "You're beautiful, Rose."
Rose: "Thank you!"

That's a perfectly good way to receive a compliment and respond to it. Simply say thanks. Express your gratitude.

I think there is an even better way to do it, however.

Sarah: "You're beautiful, Rose."
Rose: "Thank you! It's very kind of you to say that."

In telling them they are kind to say that to you, you're not devaluing the compliment, deflecting it or receiving it conceitedly. You're simply telling them you appreciate it and also adding in a little mini compliment of your own which is tastefully done in such a way so as to not start a compliment battle.

Sarah feels happy because Rose was pleased about the compliment and Rose feels happy because Sarah thinks she is beautiful.

Everyone wins!

Some other things to think about:

- Share the credit. More than one person deserve the compliment? Mention them!

- Think of something funny to say if the occasion and situation permits. This is easier over the internet where you have some time to think of something to say. It's harder in the moment in a face to face conversation! Example:

Sarah: "You're beautiful, Rose."
Rose: "Are you looking at me or in a mirror?"

- There's nothing wrong with following up a compliment with an amplifier (especially if the compliment is really meaningful to you). Let the giver know what it means to you!
“That really means a lot.”
“I really appreciate you noticing that. No one ever has before.”
“I was feeling really down and this is just the encouragement I need to keep going.”

Well, that's all I've got on this subject. I hope it was helpful! :)

How do you respond to a compliment? 
Do you have any advice?

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  1. I love this, Bonnie! Your posts are always really fun and helpful- and creative! I'm sure I never would have thought of turnung this topic into a blog post! :D

    1. Thanks, Emily! You're very kind :) I love reading your posts.

  2. A significant example recently:
    Person: *compliments*
    Me: Thank you :D :)

    I'd definitely agree that most people aren't fishing for compliments and they're actually trying to compliment you.

    Another idea is to share the glory with God. For example:

    Me: "Bonnie, I really love the way that you share what you learn with others on your blog and help us to grow and mature from your experiences."
    You (for example): "Thanks. God is teaching me so much."

    1. Re your significant example, well done. :)

      Sharing the glory with God is such a fantastic way to go about it! I guess that is probably partly what I meant when I mentioned sharing the credit. Although God should always get the credit regardless of what situation is... so yeah. I don't know.
      I like your example. :) Thanks for commenting

  3. I have always found this really (really) awkward. Thank you for doing this. It gives me something to think about.

  4. I love your blog post!

  5. Oh, I've been thinking about this recently! Mostly because those first examples are just what I do, and the whole thing ends up rather awkward. I need to learn to say 'thank-you' and then add a subtle compliment too - just saying 'thank-you' has always felt so wrong. So thanks for this post; hopefully I'll remember to work on receiving compliments. There's also the flip side of giving compliments, which I tend to find even more awkward. :P Would you consider doing a post on that sometime?

    1. It's so hard, isn't it. It's all very well to read about it but it's another thing completely to actually do it in the moment! Lol. I'm so glad my post was perhaps a wee bit helpful. :) Thank you for the request to do a post on giving compliments! I will work on it and see what I come up with.

  6. Hey Bonnie,
    Just wondering what your favourite colour is?

    1. Did you change it back? 8D

    2. I decided on Thursday afternoon I didn't like sunshine yellow so much, but now it's definitely my favourite colour again.

  7. Right, let's test your response out then, shall we! Bonnie, you are an incredibly beautiful, talented, funny, sweet, kind, and most of all encouraging friend! You are such a blessing to me, and I'm sure to many others as well. I loved catching up with you on Tuesday :)

    Great post btw!

    1. When I saw this my first thought was well, I'd better watch what I say in reply and practice what I preach! :P Lol. Thank you! You're so kind! (Not only kind but awesome and incredibly fit as well). I was stiff the next day, hehee! It was such fun and I loved seeing all those tracks your family built.

    2. Good job :p Lol! Sorry :D We could have gone slower ;)

    3. Haha thanks :P We could have... but it was fun


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