Many people struggle with compliments much more than criticism. We're used to others quietly accepting or expecting the positive things we do and trying to correct what they think we do wrong. Our mistakes are often front and center, while the good things we do often get hidden. And many of us assume that the only time we will ever hear about something, whether it's an action or something we say, is when it's bad or unacceptable.
Compliments often lead to embarrassment or even an argument from the recipient. The person might stutter and blush before commenting on why the compliment is not deserved. That's not really a good thing. Learn to accept compliments in a gracious manner but without letting them go to your head.
Tips on accepting a compliment:
- Consider it a gift. When someone compliments you on anything—your looks, what you're wearing, something you've done, or something you've made—say something polite, like thank you, and move on.
- Don't argue. Avoid the urge to counter whatever the person said. Arguing creates a scene that is much more awkward than the compliment.
- Reciprocate. When someone tells you something he likes about you, compliment him back in a way that relates to what he says. For example, if he says, "You look very nice today," you can reply, "I appreciate such a nice compliment from someone who is always so stylish and put together."
- Use it to open discussion. Start a conversation about the compliment. When a person says, "Those cookies you baked are delicious," you might say, "They came from my mother's recipe book. Do you have any favorite family recipes?"
- Tell how the compliment made your day. There may be a time when you're not feeling so great, like when you overslept, your kids didn't behave, and you barely got to work on time, or your boss just said something that wasn't so nice. When you receive a compliment on one of those days, say something like, "You just brightened my day." And then smile to show you really mean it.
- Share the compliment if warranted. If someone compliments you on a job well done, you should call attention to others who participated in the task. For example, if you worked on a project with a team at work, you might say something like, "I'll let George and Sharon know that you like what we did." It's important to give credit to anyone who was involved in whatever elicited the compliment.
- Thank the person for the compliment. Show your appreciation immediately. You may also follow up with a thank you letter, particularly if the compliment had some extra significance, such as being said in front of your boss or someone else you need to impress.
Remember that accepting a compliment does not mean you are conceited in any way. It's more of a positive interaction between you and someone who admires something about you. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, and it lets you know what you are doing right.
Go ahead and smile. It's okay to admit that you like being noticed for something good. A nice compliment can make a dreary day turn bright and add some motivation to make you want to continue doing a good job.
Now look for others doing something that is worthy of a compliment and make their day.