One 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!