Receiving a compliment can sometimes leave you with a warm, fuzzy feeling…
…but not always!
After all, how do you respond to something like that?
Someone is saying something nice about you so it should feel good, right?
In fact, it can often feel very awkward.
Yes, accepting a compliment can be more challenging than it sounds.
Luckily, we’ve got a great range of ways to reply, as well as some general advice on how to deal with compliments, praise, and those weird back-handed compliments.
1. Thank you.
It’s straightforward, but it gets the job done!
Simply saying “thank you” gets across everything you need to.
It’s your way of saying you’ve accepted their compliment and you can move on and continue the conversation without any awkwardness.
Sometimes there’s just no need to overthink it.
2. Thanks for noticing.
This is a great variation and is useful in situations where the compliment is quite specific.
Rather than someone tell you your hair looks good, they might mention that it looks great in the new style you’ve had done.
This shows that they’re paying attention and have noticed that you’ve done something different.
By thanking them in this way, you’re also showing that you’re grateful that they pay enough attention to you to notice.
3. Thank you for the kind words.
Acknowledging that someone is being kind to you is a nice way to respond to a compliment.
This shows that you appreciate the effort they’ve made to make you feel good.
This is also a good, general response to a compliment, so you can use it whether it’s about your personality, appearance, or even work and successes.
Some people get awkward giving compliments, so this is a form of reassurance for them too.
Letting them know that you think they are kind will give them confidence to praise others and lets them know you’re comfortable being given compliments.
This will strengthen your friendship/working relationship with them and lead to future support and encouragement!
4. That means a lot to me.
We really love this one for those special compliments.
It may be that a close friend has said something really lovely to you, or that someone has said something sweet out of the blue when you’re having a bad day.
This response feels very genuine and shows that you care about what’s being said to you.
5. I love that you care.
Another good one for those meaningful moments.
Saying that you ‘love’ that they’ve complimented you isn’t vain – it’s essentially putting the praise back on them without deflecting it yourself.
It can be awkward when you respond back with a compliment (“No, your hair looks great!”), but it can also feel a bit weird when you’re standing there unsure of how to respond without being big-headed (“You’re right, my hair does look great!”).
By including them and their personality traits into your response, you’re letting them know that they matter to you beyond simply enjoying their praise.
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6. I feel good today, too!
As mentioned above, it’s tricky to navigate personal compliments without standing in the limelight and feeling a bit narcissistic.
A good way to deal with this is to mention how you feel.
This way, you’re not talking about things that people may think make you vain (your hair, outfit, appearance, etc.), you’re talking about your emotions.
Being open about how you feel makes the other person feel valuable as you’re being honest with them. It might even cheer them up – being positive is great, as many of us are used to talking about feeling tired or bored!
Sharing that you feel good will bring up the mood and they’ll walk away feeling much better too.
7. Thanks, that’s cheered me up.
As we mentioned above, it’s great to share how you feel in response to a compliment. People like being nice for a lot of reasons, but being told that you’ve made someone feel better is always lovely.
If you let someone know that their kind words have improved your day or made things easier for you when you’re not feeling 100%, they’ll really feel like they’ve helped make a difference.
You don’t need to go into why you felt so bad before, but just knowing that they’ve played a role in cheering you up will make them feel great.
8. Thank you, that’s motivated me even more.
Some compliments can really give you a push in the right direction, and it’s nice to let the person know that.
If someone says something positive about your work, you can tell them that their support has helped you want to keep pushing through with the project.
Being told you had great form at yoga/weightlifting makes you feel inspired to keep going, so tell the person that.
Some compliments really encourage us, and letting the person know that will not only make them feel good, it’ll remind them how much their words mean and inspire them to praise and help others on their journeys.
What About Backhanded Compliments?
Backhanded compliments are sometimes tricky to spot, but the way you feel tends to be unmistakable.
Someone may say something that seems sweet enough on the surface but feels like a bit of an insult or a dig.
If someone does this to you, there are two main ways we’d suggest responding:
1. Ignore it.
Some people are just bullies and will deliberately make you feel uncomfortable in order to feel better about themselves.
Ignoring their petty attempts will not only discourage them and throw them off, it’ll help you realize just how much you need to be ignoring them.
2. Call them out on it.
We’d suggest doing this in private, even if the conversation the ‘compliment’ occurs in is public.
This is to save you the embarrassment of having any kind of public confrontation and should also make the other person feel more accountable.
It’s easy to laugh things off in a group, but a one-on-one discussion will make them feel a bit awkward and guilty – and less likely to do it again.
Whatever happens, keep your cool!
If it’s a fake compliment, brush it off. There are plenty of people who love and respect you and genuinely want to make you feel good.
Do your best to accept the real compliments without getting flustered or awkwardly throwing compliments back at them.
Most people don’t really have the time or energy to fake being nice, so try to accept that they’re telling the truth!
Don’t second-guess people’s motives, believe in the positive things people say to/about you, and don’t be afraid to start giving out more compliments yourself.