How to Respond to a Compliment With Grace - a ilttle dose of happy - aldohappy.com
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How to Respond to a Compliment With Grace – 8 Tips

Receiving compliments can feel awkward. How do you respond? Do you smile shyly and say nothing? Do you respond graciously and act like it’s natural for you to receive praise?

Most of us have been in this situation before, feeling unprepared and unable to respond in the most appropriate way. It’s awkward and uncomfortable, and sometimes it can be embarrassing too. But it doesn’t have to be this way!

With these tips on responding gracefully when given a compliment, you will feel more relaxed and confident in social situations – no matter what type of comment is directed at you!

This article will present eight helpful tips for how to respond to a compliment with grace like an old pro.

Giving Compliments

Compliments are a powerful tool for spreading positivity and making others feel good. Receiving a compliment triggers the same part of the brain that gets activated when we receive a monetary reward. So, giving a compliment doesn’t just make someone’s day; it also has a physiological effect on their well-being.

Giving compliments also has benefits for the giver. Giving compliments is one of the easiest ways to be kind and naturally makes us feel happier.

By focusing on the good things in others and recognizing them, we train our minds to see the world more optimistically. Additionally, giving compliments can strengthen relationships when we show others that we notice their efforts and care about their feelings and achievements.

man giving a woman a compliment

With all these benefits, why don’t more people give compliments? A series of studies in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin found that people tend to underestimate the positive effects of giving compliments and overestimate the negative effects (such as making the receiver feel bothered, uncomfortable, or annoyed), leading to fewer compliments being given. 

The key takeaway here is to remember that most people appreciate genuine compliments and feel good when they receive them. So, if you’re in a complimenting mood, go ahead and compliment someone. Be the reason someone smiles today

Receiving Compliments

What if you receive compliments? People don’t give compliments as much as they could and should, so you might get caught off guard when you get one. While you might not feel bothered, uncomfortable, or annoyed by it, you might be unsure how to respond.

Here are eight tips to help you accept compliments with ease:

1. Acknowledge and Accept the Compliment

When someone offers you a compliment, acknowledge their kind words, smile, and thank them. A simple “thank you” can go a long way in showing your appreciation for their thoughtful gesture.

Assume that the compliment giver genuinely meant what they said and has no hidden motives besides wanting to spread kindness. Humbly accept praise and let it sink in. Remember that you deserve to be recognized for your positive attributes.

2. Express Gratitude for the Kind Words

You can also show appreciation for the thoughtfulness of the compliment. Say something like, “I really appreciate your kind words,” or “Thank you, that means a lot to me.” 

When expressing gratitude, follow these tips:

Show Appreciation Through Body Language:

Your body language can speak volumes when showing gratitude for a compliment – maintain eye contact, smile genuinely, and stand tall with good posture. This conveys confidence and lets the person know their words have positively impacted you.

two women standing next to a fence having a good conversation

Reflect Surprise and Happiness:

When a person compliments you, it’s natural to feel a sense of surprise and happiness. Embrace these happy emotions and reflect happiness in your response. Let them know that their words have been a pleasant surprise.

  • “Wow, thank you so much.”
  • “Thanks! I’m flattered by your kind words.”
  • “That means a lot – thank you.”

Share How the Compliment Makes You Feel:

Share how receiving such a compliment has made an emotional impact on you.

For example: 

  • “Your comment really brightened my day.” 
  • “I’ve been feeling a bit down lately, so your kind words really mean a lot to me.”
  • “Thanks for noticing! That makes me feel more confident in my abilities.”

Acknowledge Specific Aspects of the Compliment:

If possible, mention what specifically about their praise meant something special or significant to you. For example, if they praised your presentation skills at work, let them know how much effort went into preparing for it. “Thank you! I put a lot of work into that presentation, so I’m glad it paid off.”

Tell Them How Much Their Opinion Matters:

If they’re someone whose judgment you highly respect, let them know. They’ll be glad they could make a positive impact on you and that their opinion matters to you.

3. Don’t Dismiss or Downplay the Compliment

A common mistake people make when receiving a compliment is deflecting, downplaying, or discrediting it. Saying, “Oh, it was nothing,” or “I just got lucky,” doesn’t acknowledge or accept the compliment. Instead, it diminishes your achievements and makes it seem like you don’t value yourself or have low self-esteem.

Remember that the person giving the compliment sees something in you that they admire. Instead of demeaning yourself, embrace their praise wholeheartedly and respond in a confident manner. Your job is to accept their words, not refute them.

If you have difficulty accepting compliments, try reminding yourself of your successes and positive qualities. It takes practice, but building self-confidence and accepting compliments can go a long way in improving your self-esteem.

4. Share the Credit

If you have a team or worked with others on a project that is being praised, share the credit with them. This shows that you appreciate and value the contributions of others and understand that teamwork is essential for success.

You can say, “Thank you, but I couldn’t have done it without my team. They worked hard alongside me to make this project a success.”

Sharing the credit demonstrates humility and graciousness, highly valued traits in social interactions. It helps you cultivate relationships by building trust and respect with those around you. You show that you’re a team player and aren’t just focused on your own accomplishments.

5. Offer a Compliment in Return

If appropriate, return the favor by offering a sincere compliment of your own. Doing so can help to strengthen your relationship with the person complimenting you and spread positivity. Take a moment to think about something you genuinely appreciate or admire about them, and express that sentiment to show that you are observant and thoughtful.

two men sitting at a cafe having a cheerful conversation

Be careful, however, not to return the compliment if it sounds insincere or forced. Make sure when you’re returning a compliment to:

Be Genuine:

Only offer compliments that are true and come from the heart. People can usually tell when praise is insincere.

Avoid Excessive Flattery:

While it’s nice to be praised, too much flattery can seem disingenuous and may even make the other person uncomfortable.

Tailor Your Response:

Try to personalize your compliment based on your knowledge about the person who praised you. For example, if they have an excellent sense of style or are always punctual at work events, mention those specific traits as part of your returned compliment.

6. Show Interest in the Other Person’s Perspectives and Experiences

If you’re interested in building a relationship with the person who complimented you, you can use the compliment as a starting point to engage in conversation.

After taking a moment to accept the compliment, ask the person about their own experiences or viewpoints. This shows that you are genuinely interested in getting to know them and can lead to a deeper conversation. It also helps to shift the focus from yourself to the other person, making the conversation more engaging and enjoyable for both of you.

For example, if they complimented you on a piece of art you created, you could ask them what they liked about it specifically or if they have any favorite artists themselves.

7. Get Creative With Your Response

If you want to be remembered as a gracious recipient of compliments, mix it up with a bit of creativity. Don’t repeat the same old “thank you” response every time. Instead, try to tailor your response to the compliment. Consider using humor or sharing a personal anecdote highlighting the positive attribute being praised.

For example, if someone compliments your cooking skills, you could say, “Thanks! I learned everything I know from my grandma’s secret recipe book,” or “Thanks! I’m always happy to cook for people who appreciate good food.”

Getting creative with your response shows that you’re fun, spontaneous, and confident, which can make the compliment giver feel even more positive about the interaction. It also helps to make the conversation more memorable and enjoyable for both parties.

8. Use the Compliment as Motivation

Lastly, use the compliment as motivation to continue doing what you’re doing. Whether you’re working on a personal project, aiming towards a goal, or just trying to be a better person, let the compliment inspire you to keep pushing forward. Remember that someone noticed and appreciated your efforts; use that as fuel to keep striving for success. 

If you journal, write down the compliment and revisit it when you need a boost of motivation. When facing challenges or obstacles, reading the compliment can be a happy thought that reminds you of your strengths and positive qualities.

two women smiling while looking at a tablet

Other Tips:

How to Move On After Receiving a Compliment:

After accepting praise, move on gracefully. You can change the subject when continuing a conversation or simply continue with what you were doing before the compliment was given.

How to Respond to a Stranger’s Compliments: 

If a stranger compliments you, responding with a simple “thank you” and a smile is enough. You don’t have to engage in a lengthy conversation if you don’t feel comfortable.

How to Respond to a Flirty Compliment:

In response to flirty compliments, gauge your comfort level before responding playfully or lightheartedly. If you’re interested in reciprocating flirtation, use humor or give them an equally flattering remark. However, if you’re uncomfortable flirting with this person, politely express appreciation, but set boundaries as needed.

Final Thoughts

Receiving a genuine compliment is a gift, and it’s important to acknowledge and appreciate it when you receive one.

Accepting compliments is not about being boastful or arrogant but acknowledging your worth and recognizing that others see your value. So, the next time you receive a compliment, embrace it wholeheartedly and show gratitude for the kindness shown to you.

Make it a habit to give compliments generously and accept them graciously. Doing so can help make the world a more compassionate and kind place, one compliment at a time!


Are you ready to embrace a happier, more positive life? Then head over to the a little dose of happy blog, where we offer high-quality content with facts and research-backed insights to help you cultivate a more meaningful and fulfilling life.

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