Monday, March 31, 2003

Being polite, self-effacing Canadians, we sometimes don’t know how to take a compliment.

Even though some people give out glad and encouraging words like advertising pamphlets (“Nice to see ya!”, “Lookin’ good, Charlie!”), most of us only remark on a trait or ability of someone else when we see a change or improvement. Weight is a common thing that others notice, but a flattering sweater or the ability to do something well is also noteworthy. When someone takes the time to voice a genuine compliment, it’s a conscious action. Being able to graciously take a compliment is a wonderful social ability that not only helps pick up your self-esteem, it also tells the complimenter that you respect their opinion and trust in their honesty.

So now I switch to Miss Manners mode and give you my instructions on how to graciously accept a compliment.

When you hear the compliment (wolf whistle, gasp or whatever), you should:
  • stop what you’re doing and look the complimenter in the eye
  • pause for about half a second
  • give the complimenter a heart-felt smile
  • respond with “why, thank you” or “what a nice thing to say”
  • don’t get into a discussion about the compliment unless the complimenter starts it up. There are times to break this rule, but not often.
I've been knocked on the head a few times for not accepting kind words. Finally, a friend (to whom I am forever grateful) taught me how to do this, so I'm just passing this on. Following these steps will leave you and your complimenter with a nice, warm feeling.

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