How do you encourage accepting a compliment?
When I try to compliment my daughter, who is a wonderfully caring mother, wife, and daughter, she pushes it away by saying, “Oh, that’s nothing. No worries.” In trying to show my appreciation of her, I would like this extremely accomplished person to be able to accept compliments graciously. What can I tell her?
–AE, Beverly Farms, MA
A recent study found that nearly 40% of women surveyed feel awkward about accepting a compliment and 18% will attempt to shrug off the compliment. Answering, “Oh, that was no problem.”
That’s because when someone gives you a compliment your brain immediately tries to figure out if the compliment is genuine or manipulating.
- When someone you barely know gives you a gushing compliment that makes you feel queasy, you probably won’t trust the person’s intentions.
- Flattery, as you know, is often used to butter someone up because they want something and they’ll go as far as being hypocritical to get what they want.
When you’re in a clothing shop and the salesperson gives you too much attention in the hope that you’ll buy something, they often pay a compliment.
- When that flattery feels false we assume the person complimenting the tattoo is actually appalled by it.
- We do this to others and suspect others do it to us.
It is engrained in our brains to respond to a compliment with modesty by saying, “Oh, it’s a castoff I’ve had this dress at the back of my closest for years.”
Get over it. We’re pretty much hardwired to be embarrassed by praise and so belittle or reject the compliment. Simply reply with a sincere “thank you.”
How to react to a compliment without feeling clumsy:
- Slightly surprised that an older person would compliment your tattoo, immediately say “thank you.”
- Resist returning the compliment because it could come out sounding stiff.
- It is better to change the subject and then later on discreetly slip in a compliment.
In relationships compliments are key to making the other person feel good about himself.
In long-time relationships we tend to criticize more than compliment.
- Try to compliment your child, lover, partner, spouse once a day.
- Even if is sounds insignificant, it can make them feel good when you show your appreciation by saying, “Thanks for taking all that stuff out to the garbage.”
- Or tune in to the fact that you like that he brought your morning coffee to you in bed and hope he’ll do it again.
- If you see something you like, just say, “I like the way your green sweater goes with your corduroy trousers.”
The internet is a place where people go to find compliments from people they know – as well as from complete strangers – who are all, also, desperate to be Liked and praised.
- Nevertheless, it is the insults that will be embedded in the brain more than the compliments.
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Accepting A Compliment