Some of us are better at accepting compliments than others, but even if you have no problem graciously accepting them, here are better ways to accept compliments. Most likely even if you are already responding And if you are one of those people who feel uncomfortable when someone compliments you, these responses will help you, as well. Now, the following situations I am referring to is when you someone gives you what appears to be a true compliment with no hidden or bad motives:
1. Go beyond a simple “thank you”. Think about when you give a gift to someone. How does it make you feel when they open it and simply say, “thank you” and nothing else? It can feel deflating and unappreciated. Think of a compliment like a verbal gift that someone is giving you. A simple “thank you”, although polite, does not show true appreciation. On the other hand, if you respond with something like, “thank you! That means a lot coming from you’, or “thank you! You made my day!” or “thank you! You made me feel like a million bucks!” Now, of course, depending on the compliment you want to customize your response appropriately, but the point is to show that you really appreciate the verbal gift the person is giving you.
2. Respond as if it is the first time you have heard this compliment. As with the above point, think about when you give a gift to someone. How would it make you feel if they said, “Thank you! I have three of these already!” You may get frequent compliments on a certain talent or skill, on a physical or social attribute. And it can be tempting to respond in such a way that you brush it off as “just another compliment”. Even when you thank the person for the compliment, it can come across as unappreciated if you have that mindset. Instead, act as if it is the first time you have ever heard it so that the person feels good about the compliment they are giving you.
3. Never dismiss or devalue the compliment. Let’s say someone compliments you on something you are wearing. And you respond, “thank you, but this is old!” If you are responding to a compliment with the word “but”, you are devaluing the compliment. someone compliments you on something you did well, and you respond, “thank you–however, I don’t feel like I did my best.” That kind of response not only dismisses the compliment, but you are responding to them by devaluing yourself! And even worse, it can appear like you are hinting for more praise or validation from the person. Instead, accept the compliment with appreciation even if you don’t agree with it.
4. If the compliment is general in nature, take the extra step to ask for clarification. I remember complimenting a leader on his keynote presentation. His response was, “that is so kind of you to say! What specifically is it about my presentation that you liked?” I did not consider his question as hinting for more compliments. Instead, I received it as genuine interest in my compliment, and a desire to learn more.
All of the above responses show that you genuinely appreciate the “verbal gift” that a person is giving you. You will benefit not only in receiving the compliment; you will also make the other person feel good about taking the time to give you this verbal gift. If you tend to be shy or are introverted and do not feel comfortable with compliments, don’t let that stop you in focusing on the other person and showing appreciation.