How to Take a Compliment

I’m trying to think back to when I started receiving compliments. Not when people started giving me compliments, but when I actually started receiving them. Accepting them. It wasn’t that long ago.

Why is it so hard to accept compliments for people? Someone says, “I like your earrings…,” then you respond with, “I got them for $5 on sale at Forever21 they aren’t a big deal.” The person didn’t ask where you got them, they just said they liked them. Why can’t we just say thank you and leave it alone?

I started thinking back to a time when I would say that sort of thing. I think it was a deflection mechanism… to remove the attention from me and put it on Forever21 instead. But why would I want to deflect when in all honesty, everyone likes feeling liked? Likes feeling loved. Likes knowing that they made the right choice today in their earrings- that someone noticed… isn’t that why we wear them in the first place?

Compliments on either front? via

I think I grew up thinking that any value or worth in appearance was shallow. That in order to have something respectful, they would need to compliment me on my brains… that was a compliment. If someone said, “I like the way you presented about molecules,” that would be a compliment. Or something that would involved some sort of skill, “I like your dress,” and I would say, “I made it.” It felt more like a real compliment, than if I was just wearing it. It felt more real if I knew I wasn’t just the shell holding up the cute dress.

I understand now, that a compliment is meant to mean, “I like that dress on you – or that dress looks cute on you.” Not everyone says it that way, but it is something people say to let you know your best you is being enhanced in some way. They appreciate it. And you should appreciate that appreciation.

I also think for a long while that compliments were not genuine, they were just for conversation. Sometimes this is the case, but most of the time, people are just trying to be friendly- and it is a conversation starter. You just need to roll with it.


I remember being uncomfortable when someone would compliment me because I didn’t believe it myself. And I think that is ultimately the root of it all- how you view yourself. If you are happy with who you are, ultimately you want to enhance and share that with those around you- whether it be through physical beauty or through wit and intellect.

And that is one of the keys to taking a compliment.

1) Know yourself, become happy and comfortable with yourself. Then compliments should just be reaffirming what you already know to be true.

2) Say “thank you.” And nothing more. Should there be any followup questions, then answer them honestly.

3) Smile and know that someone took the time to notice you and say something. No need to eye-for-an-eye on them and throw another compliment out there… now it just seems like you’re keeping the score even. Just smile and say “thanks.”

It’s really that easy. It’s just as easy to give compliments too… try handing out a couple of compliments today and see what happens.


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