When complimenting a guy, take heed -- your words can easily shift from cute to creepy if you aren't careful. While a guy will generally welcome praise about his good looks, intelligence or any other positive attribute, it has to be genuine and within reason. If you don't know a guy well, stay away from compliments that are too personal or potentially embarrassing.

Too Often

Though compliments are a good thing, they have to be given in moderation, says psychology professor Susan Krauss Whitbourne on "Psychology Today" online. If you compliment a guy too often, your praise loses its punch -- and you may seem desperate for attention. Only give a compliment when you genuinely notice a stellar quality about a guy. He will appreciate less frequent compliments much more than those given excessively.

Over the Top

Along with the too-frequent compliment is the compliment that is out of proportion to the quality or trait of the guy. For example, if he is a whiz with computers, it is fine to say, "Thanks for fixing my laptop. You really know your way around computers!" Complimenting a skill is a good thing, asserts marriage and family intern Tristan Coopersmith, in the article, "9 Compliments Men Crave." However, you don't want to say something like, "You are a computer genius! Your IQ must be off the charts! I bet someday you will be CEO of IBM!" Try to be low-key with your compliments, or you risk sounding insincere.

Too Familiar

If you are in a relationship with a guy, it is fine to get personal with your compliments by saying things like, "You have gorgeous eyes" or "I love your abs," according to the online "Redbook" magazine article, "The 18 Sweet Nothings He Needs to Hear." However, if the guy is just a friend -- or worse, a stranger -- these types of compliments will come across as too familiar, and creepy. Wait until you know him better, or have at least exchanged some friendly banter, before unleashing those more personal compliments.

Ulterior Motives

Beware of the compliment that has an ulterior motive, warns Whitbourne. If you gush all over a guy about how smart he is, and then ask for his help with your chemistry homework -- he might be a little put off. Compliments should be offered without expecting anything in return -- otherwise they are just a form of manipulation. Never use a compliment to get something you want. Instead, offer praise because you are genuinely impressed.