When someone offers a compliment, it is often difficult to know how to respond. Accepting a compliment involves figuring out what the other person means, demonstrating that you have received that meaning and value it and then offering thanks for the gesture, says Todd Hunt, former Rutgers University professor, in his ebook, "Reputation Management." Oftentimes, acknowledging the praise with a funny or witty retort can send the message to your admirer that you appreciate his encouragement.
Your ability to receive compliments (or not) is a reflection of your self esteem and deep feelings of self-worth, according to licensed psychologist and author Guy Winch, in the Psychology Today article, "Why Some People Hate Receiving Compliments." If accepting a compliment is difficult for you, start by offering the simple, age-old phrase, "Thank you." If you feel comfortable doing so, add humor. For example, if your friend compliments your new perm, you could respond by saying, "Thank you. I'm happy with it. The only issue I have is that the poodle next door has suddenly become disturbingly friendly."
When accepting a compliment, your non-verbal cues speak volumes to your encourager. Steady eye contact, a slight forward lean and an interested facial expression communicate receptivity, says LisaMarie Luccioni, founder of Image Establishment and professor of communication at the University of Cincinnati, in the Business Insider article, "9 Ways to Take Compliments without Looking Conceited." When your associate praises your business proposal, be sure to grab a couple of breath mints. Again, as long as you know your admirer is comfortable with humor, lean in, hold eye contact and say, "I prepared for everything. I even read somewhere that I am supposed to lean in and maintain visual contact with you while I am accepting your compliment, so you know I mean it. That's what I'm doing right now. Thank you."
When someone offers you a word of praise, be careful not to discredit their gift by disagreeing. For many, the automatic response when confronted with a compliment is to say, "It was not a big deal." Luccioni says to fight the urge to downplay the compliment, as this may be interpreted as a personal rejection. Instead, agree with your supporter by responding with a humorous comment, such as "Thank you for saying I have a beautiful singing voice. My hairbrush and mirror are my other two big fans."
You may feel awkward when someone pays you a compliment and, therefore, sense the need to offer a compliment in return. Resist it. Instead, take a moment to recognize yourself as worthy of your friend's praise. If you want to relieve the uncomfortable tension you feel, try using humor by cracking a joke with you as the subject. You might say, "Thanks for noticing all the hard work I put into the bake sale. Just between you and me, I wouldn't eat anything I just gave you. It was my first attempt with the oven."
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