You’d be surprised at how many people don’t know how to accept compliments gracefully. If you thought you were the only one, don’t feel bad. You are not alone.
It seems to be hard for people to just accept a compliment. The reactions and responses that are given are often awkward, surprising, hilarious, or even rude. The wrong answer happens so often that there should be a workshop on how to accept praise from others.
There may not be a workshop available, but we have some fantastic tips to help you work on your compliment-accepting etiquette. Here are 12 tips that will make you better at accepting praise gracefully.
12 Tips to Help You Feel More Comfortable When You Accept Compliments
1. Acknowledge the Person Giving the Compliment
One of the worst things you can do when someone compliments you is ignoring them. Ignoring a person that complimented you is cold and rude. People will quickly stop liking you. No one is saying you must have an extended conversation with the person, but even a small acknowledgment of their compliment is the right thing to do.
The first step to accept compliments gracefully is acknowledgment. Without it, none of the other steps in the list matter. So, when someone gives you a tribute, don’t just walk by like you don’t hear them or see them.
2. Say “Thank You”
The absolute best way to accept compliments gracefully is simply to say, “thank you.” That’s it – nothing more. Sometimes it can feel awkward to say only those two words. You may be left wondering what to do next. Should you return the favor? Keep the kind words going? Don’t worry – just act naturally, as you would if they hadn’t complimented you.
Simply smile and be humble about receiving the compliment. The person who gave you the praise isn’t expecting anything in return from you. Thank you are two powerful words.
3. Watch Your Body Language
Your mouth can say one thing, but your body could mean something different. You don’t want to send mixed messages when you’re receiving a kind word. The person complimenting you might feel as if they’ve offended you. Even worse, you don’t want them to think you’re smug.
The best body language in this situation is the approachable body language. Have good eye contact and a slight smile (to show that you like the compliment). Also, try to keep yourself “open” to the person. Don’t cross your legs or arms, and don’t try to “hide.”
4. Be Humble
When someone pays you a compliment, you should be appreciative that they took the time from their day to notice something beautiful about you. The way you respond is everything – you don’t want to come off as some stuck-up person who thinks they’re better than everyone else. This advice might sound a bit extreme, but that’s how people will feel about you if you can’t humbly accept a compliment.
To be humble, don’t respond with comments like, “of course I look great,” or, “what do you expect? These are designer shoes.” While this may be true, you still shouldn’t say it. If you make comments like these jokingly, that might be okay, but you again must watch your tone of voice to avoid coming off as stuck-up.
5. Be Genuine
You could do the three tips above, plus the rest of them in this list, but if you’re being fake, people will spot that from a mile away. Even if you think you’re the best liar in the world, sometimes people will still see right through you. There is no need to be disingenuous when someone compliments unless you don’t like compliments. However, like every other human on the planet, of course, you like them.
When someone is kind to you, you should genuinely appreciate that. After all, they didn’t have to spend a minute or two of their time on you, but they found it essential to do something to brighten your day.
6. Don’t Let Pride Take Over
There is nothing wrong with having pride in your accomplishments, but when someone gives you a compliment about them, don’t be so prideful that your response comes off as rude or arrogant. Sometimes people do this, and it’s not even on purpose. They may not realize the type of response they’re giving because their pride is blinding them.
Take pride in your accomplishments, but when someone compliments you, push your satisfaction back just a little bit so you can be more down to earth. Remember, even if only briefly, that you’re not better than anyone else. This humbling approach will help you accept a compliment gracefully.
7. Repay the Compliment
Repaying the compliment is a great way to accept compliments gracefully. Just as their praise made you feel good, yours can make the person feel good also. As long as it’s done in good taste, everyone walks away from the situation feeling like a winner.
Keep in mind that you need to keep the compliment genuine and straightforward. Don’t overdo it, or it will seem like you’re merely trying to outdo their tribute. For example, if someone says they like your shoes, you could respond with, “thanks! I like yours too!” However, only give honest compliments! If you don’t like their shoes, choose something else.
8. Don’t Be Overly Excited
A compliment is a small gesture of kindness and acknowledgment. That means it doesn’t warrant an over-the-top reaction. Besides thinking you’re a bit bizarre, you’ll make people think you are disingenuous. While you may merely be trying to show your appreciation, your over-the-top reaction can make people feel uncomfortable.
So how do you know when your reaction is just too much? Most compliments are done so in a “conversational” manner. Therefore, if your response is out of the bounds of a normal conversation, you’ve probably done too much. This point leads to the next tip on the list.
9. Match Their Level of Enthusiasm
This bulletpoint expands upon the last tip. If you overreact, people are going to think you’re just a bit off. However, if you under-react, that can leave them feeling a bit confused. They could believe that you misunderstood their compliment or that they may have unintentionally said something wrong. Either way, under-reacting is not a way to accept compliments gracefully.
Instead, try to match their enthusiasm. This includes their tone, volume, and rate of speech. This doesn’t mean you have to fake it or analyze the compliment before responding. Just match their energy. If you allow it to flow naturally, it’s not hard to match energy levels.
10. Don’t Toast Your Toast
There is a right way and a wrong way to receive a toast. Many people aren’t aware of this, and they don’t mean any harm when they receive their toast the wrong way. However, it’s very ungraceful to toast to yourself. In other words, if the toast is to you when everyone else raises a glass and drinks from it, your glass should remain firmly on the table.
Drinking to your toast is like complimenting yourself and patting yourself on the back for the compliment. Instead, smile, nod, and accept the toast. Drink after your toast is over. Even better – return the compliment by toasting someone else.
11. Don’t Attack the Compliment
Sometimes insecurities can cause you to question a compliment, but attacking compliments is not a way to accept compliments gracefully. When people give compliments, it’s coming from their hearts. Attacking the compliment is equivalent to discrediting their judgment. Even worse, it can come off as condescending.
Say, for example, your coworker says, “you nailed that presentation!” You then respond by saying, “if you thought that was good, you must not have seen very many presentations.” While you didn’t intend to cause harm, this can make the person feel like you’re saying they’re not qualified to compliment you. Avoid this by only accepting the compliment.
12. Don’t Go Fishing
You may have heard the saying “fishing for compliments”. This habit isn’t a good thing. When someone compliments you, just take it. Don’t try to stretch it out or pull more out of the person. If they tell you that your dress looks nice, don’t ask them what they like the best about it. That just makes the conversation awkward and makes you look self-centered. Simply accept the compliment, then change the conversation or move on.
Most of the time, when people respond wrong to a compliment, they don’t mean any harm. They simply don’t know how to accept the compliment. Some people may even be slightly embarrassed by a compliment. However, with practice, you can get good at taking them.
The 12 tips above are great starting points in accepting praise gracefully. You don’t have to do them all. Start with a few and keep trying them until you find the ones that work best for you. Before you know it, you probably be able to accept compliments more gracefully than you’d ever imagined!