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Giving | Receiving Compliments

Redwood Assertiveness Course

 Giving compliments
Giving compliments to others such as peers, work colleagues and family is a good way to enhance your relationships with them as well as experience your own positive feelings. People often shy away from giving compliments as people can often feel suspicious ('what are you after?') or embarrassed. However, there are a few simple tips on giving compliments which can make it a more useful and pleasant experience:

1. Be spontaneous. It is best to give a compliment spontaneously rather than retrospectively. If it looks too planned the other person is more likely to feel you are buttering them up as you want something.
2. Be specific. Rather than saying 'that was a wonderful speech' it is much better to point out what you liked about the speech and compliment the person on that. Eg 'I really liked the way you used humour to make a serious point.' Specific compliments of this kind are useful for people as it gives them information on what they are currently doing well. Being specific also means that the compliment is likely to sound sincere.
3. Keep in short. It is common for people to feel slightly embarrassed by over-the-top compliments Eg 'you are such a wonderful or brilliant person' It is much easier to accept and welcome a compliment if it is measured and specific.

Receiving Compliments
Giving compliments is a good way to boost relationships and experience positive emotions. However people are often embarrassed by compliments and don't accept them graciously. Here are some tips that might be useful.

1. Say Thanks.  Even if you don't agree with the person don't contradict them as it is then a put down for the person. Eg if I say 'what a nice garden you have' and the other person says 'it is a dump and full of weeds' they are effectively putting me down as in the process for having a poor taste in gardens.
2. Agree with the compliment. Often we say something contradictory or deflect the compliment because we are embarrassed and don't know what to say. In that case agree with the compliment by saying 'thanks' and 'I really was pleased with how it turned out' or whatever.
3. Don't feel obliged to compliment back. If you feel you want to return a compliment it is best to wait and do it on another occasion as it will then seem more sincere.

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