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Why It’s Important To Give Genuine Compliments

how to compliment someone

Have you received a compliment that you’ve never forgotten? When I started my job almost two years ago, I was chatting with a woman from the organization next door and she asked how old I was.

She was shocked to learn that I was only 22 because she’d assumed I was in my mid to late twenties, even though I have a young face (I still get carded for R-rated movies, people).

I’ll never forget her telling me that I had an ‘old soul’ because she thought I seemed so mature. You see, the compliments I remember the most are the ones about my demeanor and my skills.

When my co-workers tell me they are impressed with how I handle a situation or say they think I’ll be the CEO of a company someday, it feels a million times more meaningful than when a stranger compliments me on my jacket or a friend says my hair looks nice.

The compliments that don’t matter so much

I’m sure you’ve seen photos of beautiful strangers and even friends on social media with comments repeating a similar version of the same thing: ‘SO pretty!’ ‘Ugh, you’re gorgeous’ ‘You’re stunning!’ It’s easy to fall into the trap of comparing yourself to them and wonder why people don’t comment on your pictures with the same thing.

Am I not beautiful? Why don’t people say that to me?

And when you do receive a compliment on your physical appearance, whether from strangers or loved ones, it gives you a temporary feeling of elation and maybe even a boost in confidence – until you look in the mirror again and wonder if they are just saying that to be nice.

Compliments on physical appearance are not going to make you feel good forever because our own feelings about our physical appearance change on a daily basis.

How to compliment someone genuinely

The compliments that truly matter are about the actions you take and the person that you are. It’s so easy to say ‘you look pretty’, but it’s much more impactful to give a compliment to someone who impresses us with their talents and kindness.

When a friend notices a quality within you that you didn’t know you had, you feel grateful for their observation and maybe even impressed with yourself.

We are so blind to our strengths that a genuine compliment can open our eyes up to the way others truly perceive us, physical appearance aside.

So compliment people on the things you admire in them, how wise they are, and how they’ve inspired you. The world needs more meaningful compliments. And if someone compliments you, don’t brush it off  – always say thank you.

What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received?

Image credit: Karen Olsen

About the Author
Picture of Catherine Beard
Hi, I'm Catherine! As the creator of The Blissful Mind, I love exploring ways to make life more fulfilling, especially when it comes to our daily routines, habits, and well-being.

15 Responses

  1. “We are so blind to our strengths that a genuine compliment can open
    our eyes up to the way others truly perceive us, physical appearance
    aside.” Yes yes yes and YES… Taking this post to heart today!

  2. Love this post, I absolutely love your blog btw! I noticed when I was looking after a little girl and boy that I was complimenting the girl on her appearance and saying things like ‘oh, you are so pretty’ and complimenting the boy on things he was creating like ‘wow, look at what you built with the lego.’ I think we need to become more conscious about not only WHAT we are complimenting girls and women on but also WHY we continuously feel the need to keep our compliments toward women in the narrow framework of appearance or good manners. The compliments that have stuck with me have always been about my work ethic or character, not the way I look or how ‘nice’ I am. :)

    1. Hi Sam! Thanks so much for your lovely comments. It’s so true, we need to break out of that narrow framework and start being more conscious with our compliments!

    1. I know, it’s so hard to forget criticisms! They can seriously stay with you forever. I’ve started writing down any kind words someone says to me so I can remember them more easily.

  3. Wow, this was such a powerful post on a unique topic. I completely agree, when I receive a meaningful compliment about my character, it’s so empowering. And yes, sometimes I feel weird receiving compliments and try to brush them off, but we really should take them graciously.

    1. Thanks, Naomi! Sometimes I just have those a-ha moments and I need to write about it haha. I always try to just say thank you because otherwise I feel like I’m only putting myself down.

  4. Such a great topic, loved this post and that last quote!! And now that you’ve said it, yes, even though it’s really nice to get a compliment on our physical appearance, it means a lot more when I get compliments about my actions or character and those are the ones I will most likely remember later. I will definitely try to compliment other people more often! I actually just remembered this quote that say’s something like ‘how you make other people feel about themselves says a lot about you’ and I guess it totally relates to what you’re saying :) x

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