Accepting a Compliment

This post isn’t for the narcissists among us, unless you have an interest in seeing how the rest of us feel about compliments.  We are taught to say please and thank you as children, and perhaps some parents include the niceties of accepting a compliment.  The rest of us not only turn varying shades of red when complimented, we get tongue tied.  (I still have reading Peggy Klaus’ book, Brag! The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn Without Blowing It on my to-do list.)


I don’t remember my exact age, but it would have been in the 12-14 year range when my method of dealing with compliments was abruptly altered.  Prior to this incident, I would argue with the person offering the compliment.  (Sound familiar to anyone out there?)  One day a well-meaning but sharp tongued adult told me that I was being rude by contradicting the compliment.  I was taken aback and hadn’t yet found my more vocal current style.


Luckily the adult went on to say that if I felt uncomfortable with a compliment, the best response was always to say thank you.  And leave it at that.  No explanation necessary, certainly no need to contradict the compliment.

photo credit: Wikipedia, public domain

photo credit: Wikipedia, public domain


Since that day I mostly only continue the practice of hedging a compliment in my head.  I have to qualify that because people who know me well read this blog and might feel the need to bring up a time or two when I didn’t just graciously accept a compliment.  On an off moment, or couched in a weakness – like my lack of style.


Would any of you like to share an experience of giving or receiving a compliment?  I have found as I get older that the more specific compliments are the most memorable and likely to impact the quality of someone’s day for the better.


© 2013 Practical Business | Reasonable Expectations


Filed under Personal Growth, Work Life

10 responses to “Accepting a Compliment

  1. I will plug an organization here that helped me deal with this. I used to have a very difficutl time dealing with compliments and not so great a time dealing with criticism. Over the past 30 years, I have had an off and on relationship with Toastmasters, and I do credit my first (4-year) stint with them back in the late 70’s – early 80’s for curing me of both problems. If you’re familiar with Toastmasters, people give speeches and each speech is evaluated. Over time, this process gives you experience at giving and receiving both praise and criticsim. Once I realized that it is pretty easy to recognise a sincere compliment as well as honest and constructive criticism, neither bothered me going forward.

    Your writing, your words, your research, your work has meaning and value to others. If the value is at a level that inspires them to thank you or complement you, you should not only accept that, it should make you feel good.

  2. Great Post Dan! Amazing how we all just shy away from feeling that we deserve greatness! Love it, keep it up 🙂

  3. Pingback: Compliment Your Mirror Day | Always a Reason to Party

  4. Your eloquent writing inspired me to leave a comment – to thank wholeheartedly.
    Thank you for the question.
    What regards the compliments, I am still shy at approaching my 60
    yet brave enough to invite you to enjoy art colors together -welcome to

  5. Pingback: Just Jaycee | Teenager Girl-isms: Compliments

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