Compliments: The Art of Giving and Taking

Compliments: The Art of Giving and Taking

Compliments: The Art of Giving and Taking 6720 4480 The Conscious Professional

“Always take a compliment, Caroline. Always take it for the way it was intended. You girls are always so quick to twist what others say. Simply say thank you and move on.” – Alice Clayton, Wallbanger 

I think we can all agree the compliments, on the whole, are a good thing. They are encouraging, uplifting, promote confidence, and are a way of the recipient knowing that they are doing OK. That being said, we, in the UK, are a little bit weird about compliments. We are sometimes sheepish about giving them, lest we overstep the mark or give the wrong impression. In terms of taking them, well, why do we find it so awkward and difficult when someone gives us a thumbs up every once in a while? We are not great, in general, at either giving or taking a compliment.

So, in the hope that more genuine compliments might make their way into the world, I have put together a few thoughts about how to go about sharing complimentary words with one another.

Giving Compliments
1, Make It Genuine

The idea of a compliment should never be the reason to give one. If you think to yourself, ‘I am going to give Jill a compliment now’, the likelihood is that it will be somewhat manufactured and ingenuine. The genuine compliment comes from a readiness to be positive towards others. So, when a moment arises at which a compliment is needed or appropriate, you are ready!

2. Make It Important to The Recipient 

A compliment means more if it is about something that is genuinely important to the recipient. Not only with this actually mean something significant to them, but it will also let them know that you have been paying attention to who they are and what is important to them.

3. Compliments Are No Big Deal

Compliments are an act of generosity, but should not be heralded as some big event. They should be an everyday gesture, a little top up for the recipient’s confidence, not a great big, one time event! Also, seeing as this is an act of generosity, compliments should be given with kindness, without an expectation of reward. By complimenting expectantly you are stripping the moment of genuineness and making about the self.

4. Connect

To ensure that the recipient knows that a compliment is being paid, and that it is coming directly from you to them, ensure that you connect with them. This might be a handshake, with direct intonation in the voice, a smile… but what is most important is eye contact… creating a personal moment of real connectivity.

Taking Compliments 
1. Say ‘Thank You’

I am terrible for this. If someone were to say to me, ‘Oh, I thought that piece you wrote was really excellent.’ I’d probably say something along the lines of, ‘Thanks, but that was just a silly thing I wrote.’ Recognise this. Many of us tend to say thank you, and add a coda of negativity to oddly make sure that we don’t appear to big headed. Take the compliment and own it. It was a gift given to you, so don’t besmirch it as soon as you receive it. A simple ‘thank you’ is all it takes!

2. Do Not Rob Others of The Compliments They Have Given

Another problem with receiving the compliment half-heartedly, as exampled above, is that you rob the giver of the compliment they have given you. You have rejected their kind and genuine offer. So, in you plight to shrug off this gift of positivity towards you, you have potentially been a little rude to the kind person opposite you.

3. It’s Not A Competition

Another thing we do, in order to avert attention from compliments about our own achievements is to try and equal or trump the compliment. Not only is this not the point complimenting in the first place, but the parry compliment you offer will be ingenuine, inorganic and degrading to the original offer. Just take it, own it, and be thankful.

By Chris Thomson

Living in a positive frame of mind often breeds more positivity. The Law of Attraction may be something that you are practicing every day without even knowing it… and if you are not, then maybe it is about time! Read more here… Mindful Living: How to Practice the Law of Attraction

*The Conscious Professional is dedicated to providing corporate mindfulness and professional resilience training, executive coaching and wellbeing services at the level of professional excellence. Thank you for following our blog.