Understanding The Right Kind Of Compliments

Understanding The Right Kind Of Compliments

If you have struggled to give, receive, and even understand compliments in their entirety, then you have reached the right article.

Complimenting is a serious business, but you should know that not all of them are created equally. That's why it's important to understand the right kind of compliment. "Right," in this case, could also be thought of as "genuine." Are they trying to get something? Do they mean to compliment you in a lewd manner? Or are they genuinely offering you words of praise and admiration?

Different Reactions To Compliments

understanding the right kind of compliments

Part of learning this skill is knowing why people do not give or cannot take compliments. This is because part of understanding compliments has to do with realizing how someone feels about compliments in the first place.

Some people will never compliment your looks no matter how stunning you appear. They won't even commend you on a job well done. Let's also not forget the other side of those allergic to compliments. No matter how much you lavish a person with compliments, they just can't help but refuse it. Understanding these people's point of view will help us better understand the right compliments.

Anti-Compliment Givers

Anti-compliment givers find it hard -- really hard -- to give simple compliments. Here are some reasons why.

1. Shyness: No matter how silly you think this sounds, being shy is a genuine reason why some people prefer to keep those complimentary words to themselves. It all boils down to the fact that they become tongue-tied and are not even sure how to get the compliment out.

2. Egotism: These are the people who exhibit narcissistic behavior. They feel they are better than others; the feeling of superiority continuously flows in their bloodstream. Simply put, it's pride at its peak. If they acknowledge your efforts, intelligence, or even looks, please allow yourself to be surprised, but don't expect it again.

3. Insecurity: The feeling of insecurity haunts some people so much that complimenting people points at their inadequacies. They end up feeling like they will never be liked or achieve that for which they compliment others.

Compliment Phobics

understanding the right kind of compliments

Compliment phobics, unlike the non-compliment givers, have a hard time accepting compliments. Let's look at why.

1. Suspicion: It's no surprise that someone with ulterior motives will sometimes compliment people. So what do you expect from a person who has been a victim to this more than once? You wouldn't blame them when they err on the side of caution the moment someone starts praising them.

2. Excessive Flattery: If you understand the power of compliments, you will equally understand the power of excessive flattery. Some people blow their compliments way out of proportion. They serve no purpose other than to swell your ego. This is one reason certain people wave it off or deny it outright.

3. Phrasing: Sometimes a compliment just doesn't sound right. It's embarrassingly corny, or the word choice is poor.

4. Low Self Esteem: Imagine someone walking up to you, painting a perfect picture with you in it when you know you're nothing like the person in that picture. Well, that's how people with low self-esteem feel! They feel that the compliment is a lie or intended to make fun of them.

What is The Right Kind of Compliment?

Now that we have seen both sides of the coin, we can now begin to break down better the concept of understanding the "right" kind of compliment. First and foremost, to determine the type of praise you are receiving and respond accordingly, it is essential to consider the following things.

1. Look Out For Intent

Don't be in a hurry to accept the compliment. Before responding to any praise or commendation, pause and think about the intent behind the compliment. What was the tone and context of the compliment? Did it make you feel violated or insulted? Don't always assume that because it is laced with sweet words, it isn't inappropriate.

2. Understand Who Is Giving The Compliment

understanding the right kind of compliments

On the same note, consider who is paying you a compliment. If you know them and they aren't very good with words or are shy, it could be that the compliment came out the wrong way. Do not overreact. The "right" compliment is one where you trust the intent. Just put your analytical hat on first.

3. Keep Your Insecurities At Bay

Don't let your insecurities or low self-esteem deprive you of hearing about the good side of you. This is important for those with internal conflicts. Learn not to assume that you are being lied to, as realizing that the simplest accolades would help in making a better you.

4. Practice Giving The "Right" Compliments At The Right Time

Knowing how and when to give the right kind of compliment helps you achieve the intended goal. The right compliment is one that is not ambiguous or sarcastic. The next time you want to give a compliment and you want the recipient to feel good, let the compliment be sincere, with no benefit to you.

Also, particularly in workplaces, avoid personal compliments, which might have non-professional insinuations. Right compliments help people perform better and more confidently. Knowing the different ways people react to compliments, try to compliment people according to who they are.


Compliments -- no matter how simple the compliment may be -- play a significant role in the lives of individuals. We will be complimented at one point or another. How we take and interpret it is up to us.