It’s often hard to know what to say – or do – when you receive a compliment.
Over the years, many people have given me a compliment. For most of that time, I handled it pretty badly.
After all, it isn’t easy to figure out how to respond when someone walks up to you and gushes about something you’ve done!
Or is it?
Maybe. Once you’ve broken things down to understand them better, a kind of simplicity emerges.
Even with accepting compliments.
Why Do People Praise You?
A compliment can be genuine, when the person greeting you is truly impressed, awed or touched by what you’ve said, done or been.
Sometimes it is fake, when the polite words come from their lips, not from their heart, and is given from a sense of duty or convention or just as an automatic, mechanical exercise.
And rarely, a compliment is actually its converse – an insincere tool for a giver to embarrass you or draw attention to you (in an undesirable manner).
As someone receiving praise, it’s often hard to tell which type you’re getting!
How Do We Respond?
Broadly speaking, there are some patterns we tend to revert to while reacting to appreciation.
- Denial: Ignore it. Just pretend they didn’t say it. Nervously move on to other things.
- Humility: “I couldn’t have done it alone” or “All credit goes to the team”.
- Self-effacing: “It wasn’t anything special” or “Anybody could have done it.”
- Pride/Arrogance: “No surprise, I worked really hard for it.”
The common thread in all these patterns lies in how it impacts the person cheering you…
It makes them feel bad!
Do they really deserve that? No!
Then, How To Take A Compliment?
This is what I’ve learned over many, many years…
Do it with grace. Politeness. And friendly acceptance.
It’s effective with all 3 kinds of accolades.
- A genuine one is appreciated.
- A fake one is acknowledged.
- An insincere one is neutralized.
And you make the person praising you feel special, too.
You encourage them to do it again. To other people. Spreading the goodness around.
But, what to say when someone praises you?
You can get specific and explain how their feedback makes you feel.
“Thank you for your kindness. Your encouragement and support will go a long way in keeping me motivated to do even better.”
“Thanks. I appreciate you very much and will pass on your wishes to our team members who helped make this happen.”
You can express gratitude.
“Thank you for the gracious words. They mean a lot to me.”
Or you can just say: “Thank you!”
And then… SMILE!
Let’s try it. Read my book. And then compliment me about it!