Tuesday, August 12, 2014

How to Give a Compliment

I posted a little bit ago on how to take a compliment, but as many would say, it is better to give than to receive. Here's part two: How to give a compliment.

1. Don't be creepy
Guys: If you're interested in a girl, the best way to compliment her is to say something kind about her personality (i.e., "Hey girl, I think you're smart, humble, witty, brilliant, etc. etc. etc.") I would recommend that you don't just compliment some part of her appearance if you are interested in her beyond a pretty face. Sure, girls like being told their faces are pretty, but we'd rather be affirmed on parts of our personality that are unique to us. If you must compliment her on, say, her eyes, you could use that to transition to how eyes are the window to the soul and she has a beautiful soul… Or something like that.

2. Use humor to your advantage
Sometimes people feel awkward accepting compliments. Sometimes people feel awkward giving compliments. If you want to say something nice, but don't want it to be a huge, awkward deal, you could say something like this: "Hey, I'm going to nominate you for an Academy Award for 'best smile' even though 'best smile' isn't an Academy Award category and you're not an A-list celebrity." That sets you up to follow up with "Why on earth aren't you an A-list celebrity?! You should be because you are very talented and have great memorization skills."
Now, that wasn't awkward, was it??

3. Be sincere
If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all. If you can't honestly say something nice, don't make up kind words just to hear your own voice.

4. Make it a habit
A compliment costs nothing for you to give but could mean everything for someone to receive. Complimenting someone is perhaps the easiest way that you could brighten his or her day. You don't have to fly a girl to Maui, buy her a million pairs of shoes, or give her a puppy. You simply have to open your mouth, and speak life.

5. Let others shine
My roommate recently tweeted this:
When you compliment someone, make sure you are truly putting the focus on them. Don't bring up another's success to remind them of your own. And, whatever you do, be sincere.

Photos of Julie Wilson by Nick Warnock.


  1. I love the "Not be creepy" one. Too funny! I also really like the last one. I think I have definitely been guilty of this before, and I've seen a lot of people do it recently. So thanks for sharing!

  2. Not being creepy is so important! My husband tries to think of creatively creepy compliments now that we're married, to make me laugh. But, I'll never forget the time a friend of mine in college (guy) just stared at me for a bit and finally settled on "I really like your boots." It was sweet. He was trying to give me a non-creepy, sincere compliment. I'm sure he would never remember, but it made my day. And I remember like 5 years later.