how to give a compliment? A Really Good One

How To Compliment Someone

Have you ever given a genuine compliment to someone that was received poorly? Did you ever find it hard to walk up to a person and praise their accomplishments? A genuine compliment is a two-way process. It’s a way to make yourself and others feel better. You may not know this, but there are a right way and wrong way to praise a person.

If it is essential to do it right, it is just as important to receive it well. It’s not everybody’s forte to accept flattery with grace. Giving compliments are essential to maintaining positive energy in your social life. If done correctly, they can go a long way in creating strong bonds. They are perfect conversation starters to break the ice and make it easier to warm up to a person.

However, if giving compliments is an art, so is receiving them. The covenant of compliment is complete only when the giver and receiver are on the same page. When you receive a compliment, it is your duty to spread the same positivity around you by acknowledging someone else’s achievements. This is why it is essential to know both.

Know your Compliments!

Giving compliments is like walking on eggshells. You may have good intentions at heart but come off as someone rude if you do not choose your words carefully. Having said that, people are divided into two camps – people who believe compliments should be spontaneous and those who think they should be planned. It is safe to say that both sides are right and for a good reason.

Giving compliments on the spur-of-the-moment are usually more honest. But there is also a possibility of getting on the person’s wrong foot. There is also a chance that your genuine compliment may not be received the way you expected it. At the same time, planned compliments may come off as too good to be true, with their perfect words and perfect timing.

The idea to have the best of both worlds – spontaneity but with the elements of carefully planned compliment. As you practice the skill, you will know the rights words at the right moment. While there is no magic formula to get the compliments right, here are some essential characteristics that will polish your compliments and appear more genuine.

1. Honesty is the key:

– Skill and art aside, the best compliment is the one that comes straight from the heart. Only praise someone if you respect their achievements and believe that they deserve to be commended.

2. Pay attention to detail:

– To generalize a compliment is not bad as such, but being specific does make a lot of difference. When you can pin precisely what you like in a person, it shows that you are genuinely interested in them.

3. Be specific, but also unique:

– Some people get compliments about their looks or their work ethics almost every day. But to compliment that one single thing that doesn’t usually get noticed shows how detailed your observation is. Such a genuine compliment can leave an enormous impact on the receiver.

4. Choose your words wisely:

– Some people don’t know how to play with words. If you lack that skill, that shouldn’t stop you from complimenting others. However, what you can do is use descriptive words. Complimenting words. But always remember to be honest so that the compliment seems sincere. Too much exaggeration with flashy words will only backfire. You can also try one-word compliments to start off.

5. Own your compliment:

– It doesn’t matter what you say, but say it like you mean it. Your praise will lose steam if you start second-guessing what you said.

6. Allow a moment to sink in:

– After you have delivered your honest compliment, give a small pause to allow it to sink in. While there is no rule to compliment only once a day, but starting another one immediately may appear like flattery.

7. Don’t expect anything back:

– The one thing that makes your compliment do the trick is its sincerity. However, expecting anything in return can leave you in an awkward spot. It is better to truly appreciate what you are complimenting and then move on.

What’s in It for Me?

Any compliment that doesn’t come from a genuine desire to make someone feel good isn’t the real deal. But to think that there is nothing for the giver in this equation is a false notion. Praising has a lot of benefits. Here is why you should be giving compliments to people around you.

A conversation using good body language

1. Conversation starter:

– When you compliment someone you just met, it can help the other person open up to you and start a conversation. We may know a lot of individuals in our lives, but there are very few we have an honest connection with. Compliments are a great way to build that bond as the compliment receiver will always associate you with a feeling of fondness.

2. It is necessary for relationships:

– Friends, parents, colleagues, partner or any other people in your life deserve acknowledgment. Praising them for their efforts or their achievements is an excellent way to build a relationship of trust.

3. Makes you feel good about yourself:

– To be able to give compliments is a good feeling. If you believe in the person, you are complimenting and their success, it makes you feel like you’re happier from within.

4. Makes you feel secure:

– Many people often feel challenged when they have to compliment others. But to overcome that feeling and notice the good in others is one of the most significant benefits of complimenting.

5. Motivate someone:

– Your  genuine compliment to someone can help them try harder and do better.

How to Give a Good Compliment?

Compliments are not just a bunch of flashy words strung together to make someone feel praised. For your compliment to leave a genuine impact, it has to be sincere and something that the other person truly deserves. You can commend someone’s hard work or tell your partner that she looks pretty in her new dress. You may not know this, but your simple, selfless act can make someone’s day. Next time you want to acknowledge someone and give their self-esteem a boost, use the following tips to give your compliment like you mean it.

1. One size does not fit all:

– Compliments should make the person feel better, but a general compliment will not make the cut. Your accolades must be personal and thoughtful to seem genuine.

2. Don’t wait for the perfect moment:

– There is never a right time to give a compliment. Many people falsely believe that timing their praise with an opportune moment will make it more impactful. However, it doesn’t. If you think that the admiration is real, then the best time is right now.

3. Keep it real:

– A compliment is a lot more than “I like your hair” or “nice color.” When you admire someone, do it with all your intent. Take time to think what you like about them and then say in clear, concise words what you mean

4. Pin the pride:

– When you compliment someone about something that matters to them, you will do a great job in motivating that person to do better than before. You may see your friend trying hard to lose weight. Complimenting her on her efforts and how good she looks will push her to keep working until the end.

5. Be exclusive:

– Praising a beautiful girl for her looks is something that will fall on deaf ears. She may be hearing this all day. But to compliment her fashion sense or her smartness will make her appreciate it more. Non-obvious compliments are the ones that people usually remember.

6. Pay attention to achievements:

– Best compliments are those that praise personal feats and qualities. One would always like to be praised for something that they have worked towards.

7. Don’t overdo it:

– Make your words count by only appreciating what you believe in. Giving compliments for the heck of it will soon lose its meaning. No magic number can define how much is too much, but using it sparingly and sincerely should do the trick.

Say it Like You Mean It – Tips to Express Yourself Sincerely

What good is a compliment if it isn’t sincere? It is one thing to find the right words and another to express them clearly. Here are some things you can keep in mind when you want that compliment of yours to appear genuine.

Business people smiling and offering a handshake

1. Be warm:

– Don’t lose the effect of your compliment by delivering it improperly. Even though there is no perfect way to say it right, you can say something in a way that it is not misconstrued. Many people use compliments as a way to get things done, and you don’t want to be one of those people. So, when you are complimenting, be sure that the person you are admiring knows that you mean it.

2. Say it clearly:

– When saying the power words, you don’t want them to lose impact because you weren’t loud enough. When you are complimenting someone, make sure that you have their full attention.

3. Smile:

– When you are complimenting someone, it is always a good idea to smile. However, laughing while praising may make your compliment seem dishonest. It may appear like you are joking, ruining its effect.

4. Look in their eyes:

– This is the best way to show that you mean what you are saying. Making eye contact is the single most influential act of sincerity. When you compliment someone looking deep into their eyes, it just seems so much more honest. The words are like an extension to what the eyes are expressing.

5. Maintain the right tone:

– Do you think you would sound like you mean the compliment if your tone is sarcastic? The compliments are best when they are comprehended the way you mean it. Watch your tone and make sure that you don’t sound artificial.

It Takes Two to Tango – Receiving compliments gracefully

You will only learn the art of giving compliments nicely when you know how to take them well or vice versa. Accepting genuine compliment with a grace shows your confidence and civility. However, while many people are smooth talkers and can get by when giving compliments, they find it hard to receive one and often end up being awkward, not knowing what to say in response. It is common for people to downplay the compliment to avoid looking vain.

In fact, many people take the easiest way out by deflecting the compliment or diluting it with self-insult. For instance, when someone says “you look like you have lost weight,” you may be tempted to respond with “No way, I have been overeating lately” something along the same lines. These awkward responses may seem appropriate, but they often make the compliment giver feel insulted and discourage them from praising someone else. Moreover, devaluing a compliment shows that you have a lack of self-esteem or worse, that you don’t respect the opinion of others.

If you find yourself responding negatively to a compliment, use the following tips to train yourself to show more gratitude next time, and accept a genuine compliment with humility.

1. Show gratitude:

– The first most appropriate response after you receive a compliment is a simple “thank you.” This powerful phrase is the humblest response.

2. Share the compliment:

– If you are being acknowledged for a team effort, don’t skimp on sharing the credit for your stellar performance. This will instill your team members’ faith in you and spread positive feelings.

3. Use correct body language:

– Your body language speaks louder than words. Rather than appearing uncomfortable, make eye contact and engage the speaker with facial expressions.

4. Never downplay a compliment:

– Many think that undermining praise shows humility, but it doesn’t. Always receive your praise with humble gratitude and thank the giver for their kind observation.

5. Avoid compliment one-ups:

– When someone gives you a compliment, mere acceptance and a genuine thank you is all it takes to finish the covenant of compliment-giving. However, many people try to downplay the compliment by praising the giver in return. This usually happens in a workplace scenario where the giver is your boss. Rather than engaging in a compliment battle, accept yours with grace and move on.

Know What to Avoid

Man covering his mouth to avoid saying something wrong

In a bid to give good compliments, we often forget the thin line between genuine admiration and flattery. Even if you follow all the tips down to the last letter, there are still things that you need to follow or avoid. Remember, to make your compliments seem honest; you have to eliminate everything that raises doubts and creates confusion. Here are some things that you should avoid when giving a compliment to someone.

1. Do not give backhanded compliments:

– These are the type of compliments that are meant as praise but are often comprehended as an insult. It may sound nice on the face of it until you realize after a few minutes and wonder if it meant what you thought it meant. You may be delivering backhanded compliments all your life, without even knowing about it. Things like, “Wow, you look thinner than other days,” by saying this, you might sound like you mean that the person looks fat on most of the days. Or even something like, “you are good at math, for a girl.” Just a simple extra phrase, in the end, turned a perfectly good, clean compliment into an insult.

2. Don’t compliment someone walking down the street:

– There is a way to give a compliment, which we have already discussed, and yelling is not one of them. When you shout out your compliment to someone on the street, it is very offensive as you are drawing attention to the person, which they may not like. Catcalling never was and never will be a part of complimenting. If you want to give a genuine compliment to someone, wait till you’re close enough to say something sincerely, even if that person is a stranger.

3. Do not follow compliments with humiliating statements:

– Never compliment someone on their physical body parts or things that may be considered rude as a general standard. Compliments are always meant to be polite.

4. Never compliment repeatedly:

– If you approve of someone’s work ethic or physical attributes, saying it every day will steal its charm. Instead, use the power of your words to leave a maximum impact.


Who doesn’t like to be complimented? But it is not as simple as it seems. Communication is key to this. We have already discussed the number of aspects that affect or improve the quality of your compliment. The bottom line is to say what you believe in and tell it in all earnestness. Anything that is bred out of honest admiration will likely come out the right way. However, using this guide will certainly come in handy to make your compliment sharper and noticeable.

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Rebecca Temsen

Rebecca Temsen

Rebecca is an author, entrepreneur and most of all a wife and mother of 2. What she enjoys the most is helping normal people reach their full potential. Rebecca uses her ever growing skills in writing to inspire people and not settle for a normal life. As an entrepreneur, she has no shortage of failures and that is why Rebecca is the ideal person to talk about this.

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