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How to Thank Someone for Paying You a Compliment

by Anne Kinsey

Compliments are a gift of kind words, meant as an encouraging boost to the recipient's self-esteem, yet some people find them more difficult to accept than material gifts. Learn to overcome insecurity and accept well-intentioned compliments with ease and grace. Feel good instead of awkward the next time someone compliments your appearance, intelligence, efforts or achievements. Respond in a way that makes the other person feel good about the gift of kind words she has thoughtfully given you.

Pay attention to the person who is complimenting you and listen carefully to his words. Show him that you care by maintaining eye contact and a pleasant, confident demeanor. Maintain a relaxed position and avoid fidgeting. Allow him to finish talking without interruption. Nod your head, smile and do anything else you can to communicate that you care about what he is saying.

Thank the person for the compliment she has given you. If you feel nervous, are not sure how to respond or are unclear about whether you agree with the compliment, keep your response simple. Say, "thank you" in a confident voice and smile, while maintaining eye contact. Even if you disagree with the particulars of the compliment, you can still receive the gift of caring and accept the intention behind the words.

Credit those who assist you in your achievements. If someone compliments you on a job well done that is assisted by one ore more other people, say so. After you thank the person for her compliment, mention that you are grateful for the support of your friends, colleagues or fellow students. This conveys an attitude of gratitude, both for the compliment and for those around you.

Extend the conversation past the compliment, after you have graciously accepted it. If your friend compliments you on your outfit, use it as a stepping stone for a conversation about favorite places to shop and the fashions you both enjoy. Compliments on academic achievement are convenient launch pads for discussions about influential scholars, academic conferences and educational opportunities.

Process the compliment emotionally or intellectually on your own time, when you have some time to think without interruption. It is normal to be surprised or unsure about a compliment from time to time. Go ahead and graciously accept the compliment, even though you are not sure about it. Unless you communicate uncertainty to the other person with your words or body language, she will not know that you feel uneasy. When you are alone, think about the compliment, the ways in which the other person values you and practice confidence-boosting self-affirmation.

Give compliments to those around you on a regular basis. Make it a practice to vocalize the positive things you appreciate about friends and family members. When you regularly give compliments, you are more likely to identify with someone who compliments you and graciously accept their kind words without hesitation or awkwardness.

About the Author

Anne Kinsey has been a writer for 10 years, with her writing published in print newsletters, as well as websites including eHow and LIVESTRONG. She is also a minister and violinist holding a B.A. in religion and African American studies, and a M.Div. in pastoral counseling.

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