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.