March 21

The Art of Giving and Receiving Compliments


When was the last time you received a compliment? How did it make you feel? Compliments are interesting things. For some, they are positive affirmations of the beauty they see within themselves. For others, compliments are embarrassing and sometimes even painful to hear. Whatever the reaction, the ability to graciously give and receive compliments has great power to positively impact the people around you. 

Compliments have the power to significantly affect our mood and how we feel about ourselves. For both the giver and receiver, a compliment can let’s us see ourselves in a new and different light. Mastering the art of both receiving and giving compliments can be challenging for many people. Let’s talk about the power of a compliment and how to improve our ability to offer and accept them. 

Why are some people uncomfortable with compliments?

The reasons that a person might be uncomfortable receiving compliments vary. Some people learned as children that to downplay a positive comment about themselves showed modesty and humility, two traits that are favorable when interacting with others. They were taught that it would be considered vain to wholeheartedly accept a compliment without diminishing it in some way. 

For others who may have experienced trauma in their pasts, compliments can be uncomfortable and painful. They may have been programmed to be wary of compliments and mistrustful of those who give them. Still others may struggle to truly see the positive within themselves. For these people, compliments can be highly embarrassing and even confusing.

How to Give a Good Compliment

A good compliment is empowering! It is one that demonstrates to the receiver that they been clearly seen and acknowledged by another person. The compliment will communicate that there is something good and remarkable about the receiver that has made an impact on another. A deftly given compliment can instantly uplift the spirits and brighten the day of both parties involved. Positivity is infectious, and the receiver of the compliment is more likely to pass on the goodwill to another.

When we give a compliment, we are practicing our ability to genuinely recognize another person which allows us to connect to the humanity around us and the humanity within ourselves.

3 Tips for Giving a Compliment

Be genuine

If you’re going to give a compliment, make sure that it is sincere. Often giving false compliments will have the exact opposite effect on the receiver and leave them feeling insecure.  

Give details

Instead of saying, “You’re a great artist,” try expounding on that thought by giving a specific example. “You’re a great artist. That watercolor you painted for the art show really moved me.” Specific compliments allow the receiver to feel truly seen and appreciated.

Think small

Compliments don’t have to be big. In fact, giving a compliment on the small stuff can have a big impact on a person’s day. Do you like a coworker’s new coat? Tell her. Did she nail her presentation? Let her know. 

How to Receive a Compliment 

Receiving a compliment with grace is easier said than done. We mentioned some of the reasons why people struggle with accepting compliments, but it’s helpful to keep in mind that a compliment is not all about the receiver. In fact, a compliment has positive benefits for both parties. 

When you give a compliment and it is received with grace, the giver immediately feels validated for their feelings and opinions. And we all want to feel that our thoughts and feelings are valued! 

3 Tips for Receiving a Compliment

Say thank you 

If you feel uncomfortable with compliments, a simple “thank you” is all you need to accept the kind words and validate the giver. Fight the urge to minimize the compliment by saying, “thank you, but…”. 

Ask a question 

Sometimes asking a follow-up question can help you better understand the compliment and use it later down the road. For example, if a client says that your coaching has changed her life, ask her how and what specifically has helped her the most.  

Share more information 

A compliment doesn’t have to be an awkward exchange. When someone gives you a positive comment, try sharing more detail to create a conversation, without downplaying the original comment. 

Compliments have great power to increase the positivity around us. Challenge yourself to give small compliments to the people you encounter throughout your day. Remember, a well-given compliment has benefits for both the giver and the receiver. 

Want to help people make positive changes in their lives? 

Life Purpose Institute offers the most personalized life coaching certification programs available today. Contact us to see how you can take advantage of our FREE online life coach training classes. 

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compliments, Life Coaching, positivity

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