How to Compliment a Girl on Her Appearance

by Elise Wile

Comedian Chris Rock once said, "There are only three things women need in life: food, water and compliments." Although this might not be entirely accurate, most women do enjoy compliments. You want to give a compliment in a way that is well received, though, avoiding the many pitfalls that a guy can fall into when commenting on a woman's appearance.

Smile and look her in the eye. You'll appear more sincere when you offer the compliment if you're making a connection rather than if you're staring at your shoes.

Time your compliment well, advises the human resources office at the University of Oklahoma. Telling a girl that her arms are toned is more appropriate after she's worked out at the gym than when she's sitting across the table from you at a restaurant, when it could seem weird.

Choose something you genuinely admire to compliment her on. Randomly telling her you like her shoes when they're the same ones she's worn all week will likely win you a look of bewilderment and cause her to wonder what you've got up your sleeve. Give yourself time to think about what is genuinely attractive about the woman you want to compliment. Otherwise, your compliment could backfire, advises Hara Estroff Marano in "Psychology Today."

Be specific. Instead of sounding like an average Joe, saying, "You look good today," tell her what it is you like. You might say, "You have gorgeous green eyes," or "You light up the room in that dress." Avoid remarks that can be interpreted as overly sexual, such as "I like how you fill out that blouse."

Stick to the compliment. Don't elaborate. If you say, "I love your blouse," and then proceed to ramble on about how you especially like the color yellow and that it reminds you of your mother's favorite dress, you've blown it.


  • Avoid complimenting a woman on improvements she's made to her appearance. If you think she appears more svelte, don't stick your foot in your mouth by saying, "You look really great. You've lost some weight, haven't you?" This implies that you thought she wasn't as attractive before she made the change.
  • Don't use lines like "Did it hurt when you fell from heaven?" unless you want to be perceived as a slick - and cheesy - pick-up artist.
  • Abstain from offering an appearance-related compliment in a situation where appearance isn't relevant, says Marano. Telling a female co-worker she looks cute when she's trying to discuss a strategy to increase sales can be interpreted as demeaning.

About the Author

Elise Wile has been a writer since 2003. Holding a master's degree in curriculum and Instruction, she has written training materials for three school districts. Her expertise includes mentoring, serving at-risk students and corporate training.

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