“I can live for two months on a good compliment.” —Mark Twain
Everyone likes to receive compliments. If expressed sincerely and kept appropriate to the context, compliments can help build self-esteem and evoke positive feelings for both the giver and the receiver. No matter what the occasion, compliments can defuse tension and forge a strong bond between people.
Compliments should be given generously and received graciously, and what is generously given should be graciously received. However, some people find it challenging to respond graciously to compliments. One of the thumb rules in relationship dynamics is that you should never hold back from giving or responding to compliments. An honest compliment can help you build rapport and trust with your colleagues, superiors, and loved ones.
On the contrary, downplaying or deflecting a compliment is viewed as bad manners and puts off the person who offered it. When you reject a compliment, you not only exhibit a lack of self-confidence, but also make the person feel bad and deter them from paying future compliments.
Read on as we tell you 100 ways on how to respond to compliments.
How To Respond To Compliments
Giving or receiving compliments can sometimes cause stress or embarrassment. When compliments come your way, respond gracefully. Here are a few things to remember when you respond to compliments.
1. Say thank you
Let’s suppose your colleague comes up to you and compliments you on your coding skills or another person compliments you on your new hairstyle or the beautiful dress you’re wearing. Always smile and say the two most powerful words, “Thank you.” When someone compliments you for anything – from a sexy hairdo to professional skills – look at them, smile, and say, “Thank you very much.” Smiling doesn’t cost a penny.
In his book How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie writes, “Action speaks louder than words, and a smile says, “I like you. You make me happy. I am glad to see you.”
“I’m glad you liked it.”
“I appreciate you saying that”
“That’s very kind of you.”
2. Be sincere
When you receive a genuine compliment, say thank you sincerely. You should receive compliments from the bottom of your heart. Always remember that a sincere compliment is a verbal gift, worth more than any materialistic gift.
3. Accept them at face value
Accept compliments at face value and do not read too much into them. In other words, accept compliments as they are without reading too much into them.
4. Make eye contact
When responding to a compliment, make eye contact, smile, and use open gestures to reinforce your message. Acknowledge it, accept it, and respond wholeheartedly. The best way to express interest without breaking social rules is to maintain eye contact when responding to a compliment.
5. Respond positively
Sometimes people hear compliments and think: “What do they mean when they say my shoes look good with this outfit? I don’t know if my shoes look bad?” “I don’t like my hair this way.” “Oh, you are just saying that; I look awful.” Such negative thoughts can deter you from responding positively.
When you get a compliment, respond positively, and never harbor negative thoughts. If you have a hard time receiving compliments, it may reflect your low self-worth. When someone compliments you, and you receive it wholeheartedly, there is a positive exchange of energy.
6. Mention their name
The name makes the individual special and unique. When responding to a compliment, remember to mention the name of the giver. Realize that the name is owned by the person. When remembering names, be like Napoleon – despite his royal duties, he still remembered the names of everyone he had met.
7. Pay attention to your tone of voice
Your tone of voice should reflect happiness and gratitude. Just embrace the moment and express gratitude. When you show appreciation for receiving compliments, you establish a strong connection with people. It allows others to know that what they do is essential to you.
8. Give a hug
Give them a warm hug; or, if you know they don’t like hugs, reach out and shake hands to suit their preference and make them smile.
9. Don’t downplay
Do not belittle or dismiss someone’s warm gestures. Avoid phrases such as “Oh, it’s no big deal” or “Thank you, but it’s nothing.” For instance, when someone says, “Your dress looks great on you.” You should not say, “Oh, this is an old dress.” Instead, try to say: “I’m glad you like it. Thank you.” When you downplay compliments, you may feel humble, but the person who praised you may feel rejected.
10. Watch your body language
Body language is a powerful communication tool. When you get compliments from others, lean forward slightly and smile. If you cross your hands, especially in the workplace, it can create a hostile atmosphere.
Avoid sending out wrong non-verbal cues such as casual postures, crossed arms, awkward pauses, and lengthy silences. Also, do not turn your body away from the person who compliments you. It makes a huge difference when you show you are genuinely receptive to receiving the compliment.
You must always accept awards, citations, or trophies with both hands and keep your right hand free to shake hands with the presenter. The first step in receiving an award is to say, “I’m honored to receive this recognition/ I am humbled to receive this award/ Thank you, that’s very kind/ I’m honored you chose to bestow this award on me.”
Responses To His/Her Compliments
Whenever you receive praise from your special someone (SO) and don’t know how to respond, use the following tips to accept the compliment easily.
- Your SO: “Honey, those shoes look good on you!”
You: “Thanks, sweetheart! These are my new favorites.”
- Your SO: “You look smart in that nice shirt/ You’ve got a wonderful jacket/ Those shoes are so cute/ I love your new hairstyle/ You look handsome.”
You: “Oh, thank you. I just got it yesterday/Thanks, dear. These shoes make me put my best foot forward/The stylist is amazing. Thanks.”
- Your SO: “You look dapper in that suit. It’s brilliant!”
You: “Thank you, my sister bought it for me.”
- Your friend: “That cologne smells wonderful!”
You: “Thanks, that’s kind of you.”
When Compliments Come From Your Boss
- “Thank you for recognizing my efforts.”
- “Thank you for trusting me with added responsibility. It means a lot.”
- “Thank you for noticing my efforts. A lot of thought went into completing the project.”
- “Thank you for your encouragement and support. It means a lot.”
- “Your notes in the client presentation were helpful.”
- “Your guidance helped me in achieving this goal. I’m overwhelmed by your compliment.”
- “I am happy to receive your appreciation. Your kind words are encouraging and motivating.”
- “Your compliments have greatly elevated my spirits. Thank you for your encouraging words.”
- “I sincerely thank you for recognizing my efforts. Your compliments encourage me to do better.”
You can also ask some questions about your performance and seek advice.
If the compliments result from the cooperative team effort, rather than just accepting compliments, share the compliments with coworkers and thank them for their efforts — compliments when shared feel more special and valuable. Make sure to give credit to those who helped you in your accomplishment.
- If it’s teamwork, share the compliment with your colleagues and say: “I couldn’t have completed the task without the efforts of my coworkers.”
- “Thank you! I thank everyone who participated in it. Without your contribution, all this is impossible. All of you are valuable to me.”
When Someone Compliments Your Kids
Our children are little versions of ourselves. When someone compliments your child by saying, “Your child is incredibly gorgeous,” or “Your child is smart,” you respond with, “Thank you!”
- “Thank you for saying my son is polite. That is the best thing you can say to mom!”
- “Thank you! She has been practicing a lot lately. He will be delighted to hear you notice his hard work.”
Funny Responses To Compliments
Compliments can brighten your day. Although praise is a positive thing, it can be unnerving for some people who don’t want to appear overconfident or ungrateful. You can generously accept compliments and respond in a way that makes the communication go smoothly.
Instead of the mere “thank you,” you can express your appreciation with a witty one-liner. For example, if your friend compliments your new hairstyle, you can say, “Thank you. The only problem is that the dog next door suddenly became friendly.”
- “Thank you! Yeah, I felt really good about this today,”
- “This is the result of not taking a shower for several weeks.”
- “I don’t know if this will fool anyone.”
- “It isn’t easy to achieve such perfection.”
- “You are wise beyond your years.”
- “What took you so long to notice?”
- “Is that your best?”
- “Enough, it’s not funny anymore!”
- “Yes, isn’t that great? My favorite designer works in this little store in … What else do you like about me?”
- “I can’t believe you said that!”
- “Are you serious? Thank you, but that’s weird, and I want to say the same to you.”
- “It’s refreshing to meet someone with a similar taste in …”
- “You can’t keep your thoughts to yourself, can you?”
- “My comb and mirror are my other two big fans.”
- “It is my responsibility to spread beauty in the world. (Oh, then you must be Adonis or Aphrodite.)”
- “Well, it’s in the genes.”
- “It isn’t easy to achieve such perfection.”
- “Are you always so honest?”
- “Yeah, I get that a lot.”
- “Mind repeating that?”
- “I think we are in a complimenting mood because I believe you are pretty incredible too.”
- “Thanks, if you can see me, I’m blushing!”
- “I needed to hear that.”
- “It truly made my day, and it hasn’t even really started yet.”
- “Thanks for the compliment; strangely, my boyfriend/girlfriend said the same thing.”
- “The genie finally granted me a wish.”
- “The vote has been taken. The motion has been passed!”
- “Gosh! Tell me something I don’t know.”
- “My grandmother tells me: ‘Be more original.’”
- “My aesthetic doctor said the same.”
- “Well, a small botulinum toxin can indeed do wonders.”
- “I second that.”
- “Thank you, my hairdresser is fantastic and takes excellent care of my tresses.”
- “Tell me a secret.”
- “I have that effect on people.”
- “Oh, this? It might be my eyelash extension.” (If someone compliments you on your beautiful eyes)
- “I have been fine from the beginning of the lockdown until now.”
- “It looks like we have something in common.”
- “Thanks! I have been practicing a lot lately.”
- “If every compliment I got so far gave me a dollar, I would be Bill Gates or Warren Buffett.”
- “Thank you for observing me so carefully. Flattery will take you everywhere. “That’s why I became friends with you. Just kidding.”
- “Thanks, I am actually stupid; I study hard.” (When someone compliments your academic achievement)
- “Glib is better than smart. I never know what I’m talking about, but I’m excellent, am I not?” (When someone compliments your eloquence)
- “I have beaten anorexia.” (when someone praises your weight loss)
- “I am five feet six inches, but my ego is about six feet six inches.” (if someone compliments your height)
- “I am not strong enough to play football, and not tall enough to play basketball, so I go out to play chess.” (when someone compliments your intelligence)
- “Thank you! My hairstylist convinced me. Where do you fix your hair?”
- “Thank you, my stylish clothes overshadow my personality.”
- “I am visiting a plastic surgeon to change every feature on my face. No one will recognize me, but at least this way, I’d get a fresh start.”
- “You’re about four levels above me in terms of intelligence.”
- “Thank you, but if you want me to give you my phone number, you will need to do better.” (If a stranger compliments the color of your eyes)
- “Thank you. I can now focus on beautifying my kitchen!” (If someone compliments your taste in furniture)
- “I am grateful. I hope to do it at the big departmental meeting next month.” (If someone compliments your public speaking skills)
- “Thank you! I will apply what I have learned to new clients.” ( if someone compliments your marketing activities)
- “Thank you, and vote for me in the next election.”
Flirty Responses To Compliments
Flirting is about how you convey your message without directly saying things. Keep the game interesting and friendly, and make it clear that you are being fun. Here are some flirty one-liners that will come in handy.
- “Could you grab some chicken nuggets on your way to my house?”
- “It was on sale, so I have an extra $25. Can I buy you a drink?”
- “Thank you very much. I chose this dress for you.”
- “Thank you! I think you are handsome.”
- “You know you miss me.”
- “I bet you wish I were sharing these casseroles with you.”
- “Stop distracting me. I’m busy. How about we move this conversation to IRL?”
- “If I said ‘come over,’ what would you say?”
- “You’re at the top of my wish list.”
- “I have so much to do, but I keep getting distracted thinking about you.”
- “Just worked out. Ready to hit the showers!”
- “My dog misses you too.”
- “Stop thinking about me so much!”
- “I thought you would be glad to get rid of me.”
- “It’s been a while, hasn’t it?”
- “Why? Did you throw something at me?”
- “Would you mind emptying your pockets – I believe you’ve stolen my heart.”
- “Don’t drive me crazy; I’m close enough to walk.”
- “I am surviving on food, water, and your compliments.”
- “Your mirror is lucky. Every time you look into the mirror, it gets the pleasure of looking back at you.”
- “You are giving me the most inappropriate ideas.”
- “Take my number and queue up already.” (This is useful when people try to flirt with you by praising you unnecessarily.)
- “Do you want to meet up for a walk or join my workout sessions?” (This is a perfect response for compliments on the loss of weight.)
- “You can belly dance at any size.” (This is an ideal response for compliments targeting your sexy figure)
- “By the way, I am wearing the smile you gave me.”
- “I am not good with girls. I don’t think I have the seduction gene.”
- “I wish I could say that I am unique, but I am not. I am an ordinary person, and my tastes are generally lousy — I like girls, beer, and cars, in no particular order.”
- “It’s so weird, but I think I’m addicted to you — it seems to give me such a high.”
- “I don’t know why, but being with you always makes me feel happy.”
We often undermine the power of a kind word, a smile, a small act of caring, or a small achievement. Remember, when you respond to compliments, you establish a new attitude and a new habit to replace the old practices that you have honed throughout your life.
Starting today, when someone compliments you, choose to listen carefully. Don’t have negative thoughts, but say “thank you.” Follow Dale Carnegie’s thumb rule: “Give unto others what we would have others give unto us.”