Taking compliments

One of the reasons I blog is to learn. The act of blogging about X, the process of thinking through X and then typing X down, has the effect of making X stay in the mind a bit longer. Gives the brain more time to form those connections that make things easier to remember, I think.

So, here goes an attempt to learn. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had problems taking compliments graciously and appreciatively. Here’s a recent example: Someone told me, “Y spoke very highly of you”. I went, “Oh, is that right?”. Every “Good job!”, say, would meet with a “You really think so?”-type response. And usually, something dark would flash across the complimenter’s face, and I’d see my reaction wasn’t what they expected, and certainly wasn’t what something enjoyable.

So I was really happy to find that Lifehack.org had an article on “How to Take a Compliment”. I particularly liked these two suggestions:

  • Be honest and optimistic about the future. Not pointing out your weaknesses doesn’t mean you can’t be honest about what lays ahead. But a simple “We still have to do x, y, and z but it’s good to see we’re on the right track” will suffice. Don’t make someone waste their effort paying a compliment by telling them how the thing they’re praising is probably doomed to fail in the long run.
  • Recognize your contribution. You may not be the only one who deserves to be complimented on a job well-done, and it’s fine to say so, but remember that you’re a part of your group’s success, too. Don’t say “Well, Hassan and LaShawna deserve all the credit”; instead say “Thanks, I’m sure Hassan and LaShawna will appreciate hearing that, too.”

Hope these stay in my very porous brain long enough for me to get out of the habit of questioning folks who compliment me.


Author: lichone

Ethics by Enid Blyton; physique by deep-fried things. I think we all have an instinct to tell stories and to build things and relationships,

3 thoughts on “Taking compliments”

  1. Yo, that entry spoke to me as well, cos I handle compliments by being self-deprecating. Learning or rather trying to learn to say “thank you” instead. Jia you :)

  2. Glad to hear that you could identify with that :) I think treating a compliment as part of a longer conversation – meaning one replies “thank you” and then goes on to talk about the subject of the compliment (i.e. the project that was “well done” etc.) – can help. Acknowledge the compliment to show the complimenter your appreciation, then continue the conversation to learn more about the feedback :)

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