Do you enjoy receiving a compliment? Do you like hearing “You look great today” or “You’re so efficient?”
I know I do, and I hold a few compliments in my memory banks for the times when I need to remind myself that I do good things.
And, I dislike the wolf whistle or the “Oh ya!” compliments that I have had (albeit not for a long time LOL) because they feel slimy.
One of my favorite compliments came from a friend in a birthday card. Marie wrote, “You are the most positive person I know, and when I need to move away from negative thinking, I think of you, and you make me smile again.”
That was years ago, and I still treasure it because it followed all the checkboxes of giving a good compliment.
When you give a compliment, does it make the receiver feel good or bad?
[ctt template=”3″ link=”nGNtm” via=”yes” ]When you give a compliment, does it make the other person feel good or do they fall flat and make you look bad?[/ctt]
Check out this list to see if your compliments are making the other person feel good or if they fall flat, making you look bad.
• Sincerity & Authenticity are the number one rule to ensure your compliment feels good on the receiving end. It must be genuine and sincere with the goal to make the receiver feel special. It should not be about receiving a compliment back (which is not authentic).
When Marie complimented my positive disposition, she wasn’t looking just to throw a backhanded compliment my way nor looking for me to say she was positive too. She thought about it and wrote it down! It was authentic partially because it wasn’t expected within my birthday card.
When we receive an insincere compliment, it often feels forced. For instance, Sam says to Syl, “You look great today,” and Syl responds with, “You do too!” That doesn’t feel authentic (even though it may be) because it felt forced.
• Avoid backhanded compliments. The danger of a backhanded compliment is that it could feel like an insult. For instance, I have a friend who is a beautiful woman who happens to be large. She is often told, “You are so beautiful for someone so large.” Or when I was much younger, “You are so smart for someone so young,” or have you heard “You know a lot of information for just the admin.” “You are very strong for a woman.” “I don’t know many men in this job, but you’re pretty good for a guy.”
Do any of those feel complimentary, or do they feel like an insult? Just say the compliment and stop it at the “for.”
• Be specific. When you can specifically identify what you are complimenting, you are avoiding coming across as superficial. Instead of, “You look nice today,” say, “Your eyes match that shirt perfectly.” Instead of “You are so happy all the time,” say, “I love that your eyes and voice smile when you talk to our customers.” By being specific, you are making it about the person you are complimenting. You’ve thought about it, so it is authentic and planned, and you’re making it specific to the recipient.
• Make it about them. Be sure that the purpose of your compliment is not to make the conversation about you. If a friend says to you, “You look super well-rested. You have no bags under your eyes as I do! I’m exhausted from not sleeping. How do you do it?” This is not a compliment. This is about making the conversation about themselves!
[ctt template=”3″ link=”JQoYp” via=”yes” ]Be sure the purpose of your compliment is not to make the conversation about you.[/ctt]
I appreciate that the intent is often to compliment and not make it about you, but clearly, it is. Be careful about compliments like “You are so organized. I wish I were more like you” or, “You always seem to know what to say in meetings. I always sound like a dork.” Both of those are about you and will often end up making the other person give you an insincere compliment back such as, “You are more organized than I am!” in response.
Compliments matter. We all like to feel good and have others notice what we have done as it feels good. If you are going to give a compliment, I assume you want it to be effective. Following these guidelines will make you feel good that you know the compliment was received as intended, and it will make the other person feel good about whatever you are complimenting them on!