🤔 How do you respond to compliments?
I know I’ve been guilty of this (especially when I was younger), and I see it happen so many times around me — when someone pays someone a compliment, the person responds along the lines of “oh no, that’s not true”, “oh please, stop”, “no, YOU are…”, or giving an explanation about why you don’t deserve it.
Why do we do this? —
Maybe we do this because we ourselves don’t believe in the compliment given. Maybe we do this because we don’t believe that we deserve the compliment. Maybe we also do this because we feel like we need to be humble about our traits, accomplishments or achievements. We don’t want to be a braggart.
But as a result —
Firstly, we’re diminishing ourselves. When someone tells you “Hey, you’re so good at the guitar!” and you’ve just been learning for 6 months, you can either say “Nah, it’s not true. I’m just a beginner.” or you can say “Thank you! It’s just been 6 months, but I have a long way to go.” — which response sounds better? The second response not only sounds better, but is more self-encouraging too.
Secondly, we could be diminishing the other person. When someone tells you “Hey, you’re so good at photography!” and you reply “Nah, it’s not true. There are so many better photographers.” — you’re basically telling the other person their opinion is wrong. But that’s the thing, it’s just an opinion, and everyone is entitled to one.
Thirdly, you’re putting the other person in a weird spot, in a position where they’re stuck between either convincing you of their opinion, or agreeing to your self-judgement. So not only are they giving you a compliment, they’re also not feeling the best about it afterwards.
Finally, you’re robbing yourself of the joy of enjoying a nice compliment!
What should you do instead? —
I believe the best way to respond to a compliment is to first acknowledge it, and then say “Thank you!”. I say something along the lines of “Thank you for the kind words, I really appreciate it.”.
It makes the other person feel acknowledged, happy and satisfied. It makes you feel grateful too. Everyone’s happy! And there’s nothing else you have to do. No one thinks you’re bragging for just accepting a compliment.
Getting into a habit of accepting compliments graciously also makes you feel much better about yourself, and allows you to appreciate yourself more. It opens you up to the fact that others do think well about you.
Sometimes indeed there is a place for “Thank you, and you are too!”. Or a “Thank you, but really it was the work of [so and so]”. Or if you really didn’t have anything to do with it, “Actually, it was [so and so]”.
The point is that if you did something, achieved something, or you are something and it’s true, there’s no reason not to acknowledge it. A compliment is a gift, and is meant to be accepted graciously 😊
Thanks for reading this far. Let me know what you think! How do you respond to compliments? Is there a better way? What other exceptions are there? Hit “reply” and let me know.