How to Give a Compliment Without Sounding Creepy or Fake

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How to GIve a ComplimentOne of the nicest things you can do for someone to brighten their day is give them a genuine compliment. It not only makes them feel better, but it teaches us to find the good in people rather than focusing on the bad. It may even help counteract bullying among both children and adults. After all, everyone wants someone to take notice of their accomplishments and say something nice about them. Sometimes, though, it can be difficult to know the right way to give a compliment. As a relatively shy person, I often wonder that my compliment will sound lame, so I over-correct by not saying anything at all. These tips will hopefully help even the shyest person make another person’s day a little brighter with a few kind words.

Tips for Giving a Genuine Compliment

  • Skip the generics and go for something a little deeper. Saying something like “that’s a nice shirt” is a compliment to the shirt, not the person. Instead, try ” I really like that shirt, you have such a great sense of style.” That way, you are complimenting your friend’s ability to put together a great outfit rather than the unknown designer who made the shirt.
  • Don’t say it if you don’t mean it. If you actually can’t stand your friend’s sense of style and think she belongs in the Fashion Don’t section of a magazine, don’t tell her you love her clothing ensembles. It’s not a compliment if it’s a lie.
  • Compliment, but don’t gush. A compliment should be relatively short and sweet. Gushing on and on, reiterating the point, and so on just starts to sound creepy or fake after a while. You don’t want to come off sounding like a stalker!
  • Be prepared to back up your compliment. Okay, if you followed the first piece of advice, this may not come up. Sometimes, though, when you give a compliment, the recipient may want to know why you feel that way. For example, if you just read your friend’s brilliant new novel and you tell her you loved it, she’s going to want examples of what you loved about it.
  • Don’t mix compliments with insults. A genuine compliment should stand on its own and shouldn’t be used as a way to soften a blow. For example, in “I love that shirt, but those pants look awful,” the insult to the pants pretty much negates the compliment to the shirt.
  • Give compliments freely without expectations. If you give a compliment, then ask a favor, you’re pretty much saying to the person ” I only recognize your positive attributes when I need something from you.” If you are using compliments to butter someone up, do it well in advance of your favor request. Compliment today, ask your favor tomorrow. But really, you shouldn’t just be giving a compliment to get something in return.

Hopefully these tips will help make it a little easier to give complements. Now go make someone’s day a little brighter with a few kind words. Seeing their smile will give you a boost too!

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About Nicole Etolen

12 Responses to “How to Give a Compliment Without Sounding Creepy or Fake”

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  1. Pam says:

    Great tips! I am of the belief that you can always find something about someone that you can give an honest compliment and it sure does make that person’s day.

    I totally agree with the last one. Compliments are kind of like a gift that you give freely and want nothing in return.

  2. Melissa says:

    Great advice! I often have a hard time taking complements and I have learned to just say thank you!
    Melissa recently posted..Sam’s Club members grab 10 free samples!

  3. Ashley B. says:

    These are great tips! I love giving people compliments randomly, I feel doing so is such a great way to lift someones spirits.
    Ashley B. recently posted..Ask Ashley- An Online Advice Column

  4. thanks for this article! very useful, indeed!
    lelaniedenso recently posted..All things shiny and ruffly…

  5. Nickida says:

    Great tips for giving compliments. If only we could receive them freely and not worry. I know I have that habit.
    Nickida recently posted..Interactive Songbook – Old MacDonald Review

  6. I agree.
    Great tips.

    Now if I could only teach my friend how to accept a compliment without thinking she has to throw one back.

    Maybe that’s your next topic :)
    Colette S @JamericanSpice recently posted..Lather Up! – Aloha TQT Sillies

  7. Staci says:

    Oh gosh, I am awful at both giving and receiving compliments. Thanks for sharing your tips!
    Staci recently posted..How to Make a Photography Lightbox

  8. JanetGoingCrazy says:

    I just love these tips! I am terrible at taking compliments, but I try to pass them out as often as I can. ;)
    JanetGoingCrazy recently posted..If I blog it, they will come…won’t they?

  9. Andrea says:

    Great post! I like giving compliments – which I suspect I got from my mother. However, we’re both bad at receiving them :-)
    Andrea recently posted..Book Review: School Isn’t Fair

  10. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on coffee bean. Regards
    Coffee Extract recently posted..Coffee Extract

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