12 Tips to Help You Accept Compliments Gracefully (2023)

By Power of PositivityPublished on May 20, 2020Last modified April 07, 2022

You’d be surprised at how many people don’t know how to accept compliments gracefully. If you thought you were the only one, don’t feel bad. You are not alone.

It seems to be hard for people to just accept a compliment. The reactions and responses that are given are often awkward, surprising, hilarious, or even rude. The wrong answer happens so often that there should be a workshop on how to accept praise from others.

There may not be a workshop available, but we have some fantastic tips to help you work on your compliment-accepting etiquette. Here are 12 tips that will make you better at accepting praise gracefully.

12 Tips to Help You Feel More Comfortable When You Accept Compliments

1. Acknowledge the Person Giving the Compliment

One of the worst things you can do when someone compliments you is ignoring them. Ignoring a person that complimented you is cold and rude. People will quickly stop liking you. No one is saying you must have an extended conversation with the person, but even a small acknowledgment of their compliment is the right thing to do.

The first step to accept compliments gracefully is acknowledgment. Without it, none of the other steps in the list matter. So, when someone gives you a tribute, don’t just walk by like you don’t hear them or see them.

2. Say “Thank You”

The absolute best way to accept compliments gracefully is simply to say, “thank you.” That’s it – nothing more. Sometimes it can feel awkward to say only those two words. You may be left wondering what to do next. Should you return the favor? Keep the kind words going? Don’t worry – just act naturally, as you would if they hadn’t complimented you.

Simply smile and be humble about receiving the compliment. The person who gave you the praise isn’t expecting anything in return from you. Thank you are two powerful words.

3. Watch Your Body Language

Your mouth can say one thing, but your body could mean something different. You don’t want to send mixed messages when you’re receiving a kind word. The person complimenting you might feel as if they’ve offended you. Even worse, you don’t want them to think you’re smug.

The best body language in this situation is the approachable body language. Have good eye contact and a slight smile (to show that you like the compliment). Also, try to keep yourself “open” to the person. Don’t cross your legs or arms, and don’t try to “hide.”

4. Be Humble

When someone pays you a compliment, you should be appreciative that they took the time from their day to notice something beautiful about you. The way you respond is everything – you don’t want to come off as some stuck-up person who thinks they’re better than everyone else. This advice might sound a bit extreme, but that’s how people will feel about you if you can’t humbly accept a compliment.

To be humble, don’t respond with comments like, “of course I look great,” or, “what do you expect? These are designer shoes.” While this may be true, you still shouldn’t say it. If you make comments like these jokingly, that might be okay, but you again must watch your tone of voice to avoid coming off as stuck-up.

5. Be Genuine

You could do the three tips above, plus the rest of them in this list, but if you’re being fake, people will spot that from a mile away. Even if you think you’re the best liar in the world, sometimes people will still see right through you. There is no need to be disingenuous when someone compliments unless you don’t like compliments. However, like every other human on the planet, of course, you like them.

When someone is kind to you, you should genuinely appreciate that. After all, they didn’t have to spend a minute or two of their time on you, but they found it essential to do something to brighten your day.

6. Don’t Let Pride Take Over

There is nothing wrong with having pride in your accomplishments, but when someone gives you a compliment about them, don’t be so prideful that your response comes off as rude or arrogant. Sometimes people do this, and it’s not even on purpose. They may not realize the type of response they’re giving because their pride is blinding them.

Take pride in your accomplishments, but when someone compliments you, push your satisfaction back just a little bit so you can be more down to earth. Remember, even if only briefly, that you’re not better than anyone else. This humbling approach will help you accept a compliment gracefully.

7. Repay the Compliment

Repaying the compliment is a great way to accept compliments gracefully. Just as their praise made you feel good, yours can make the person feel good also. As long as it’s done in good taste, everyone walks away from the situation feeling like a winner.

Keep in mind that you need to keep the compliment genuine and straightforward. Don’t overdo it, or it will seem like you’re merely trying to outdo their tribute. For example, if someone says they like your shoes, you could respond with, “thanks! I like yours too!” However, only give honest compliments! If you don’t like their shoes, choose something else.

8. Don’t Be Overly Excited

A compliment is a small gesture of kindness and acknowledgment. That means it doesn’t warrant an over-the-top reaction. Besides thinking you’re a bit bizarre, you’ll make people think you are disingenuous. While you may merely be trying to show your appreciation, your over-the-top reaction can make people feel uncomfortable.

So how do you know when your reaction is just too much? Most compliments are done so in a “conversational” manner. Therefore, if your response is out of the bounds of a normal conversation, you’ve probably done too much. This point leads to the next tip on the list.

9. Match Their Level of Enthusiasm

This bulletpoint expands upon the last tip. If you overreact, people are going to think you’re just a bit off. However, if you under-react, that can leave them feeling a bit confused. They could believe that you misunderstood their compliment or that they may have unintentionally said something wrong. Either way, under-reacting is not a way to accept compliments gracefully.

Instead, try to match their enthusiasm. This includes their tone, volume, and rate of speech. This doesn’t mean you have to fake it or analyze the compliment before responding. Just match their energy. If you allow it to flow naturally, it’s not hard to match energy levels.

10. Don’t Toast Your Toast

There is a right way and a wrong way to receive a toast. Many people aren’t aware of this, and they don’t mean any harm when they receive their toast the wrong way. However, it’s very ungraceful to toast to yourself. In other words, if the toast is to you when everyone else raises a glass and drinks from it, your glass should remain firmly on the table.

Drinking to your toast is like complimenting yourself and patting yourself on the back for the compliment. Instead, smile, nod, and accept the toast. Drink after your toast is over. Even better – return the compliment by toasting someone else.

11. Don’t Attack the Compliment

Sometimes insecurities can cause you to question a compliment, but attacking compliments is not a way to accept compliments gracefully. When people give compliments, it’s coming from their hearts. Attacking the compliment is equivalent to discrediting their judgment. Even worse, it can come off as condescending.

Say, for example, your coworker says, “you nailed that presentation!” You then respond by saying, “if you thought that was good, you must not have seen very many presentations.” While you didn’t intend to cause harm, this can make the person feel like you’re saying they’re not qualified to compliment you. Avoid this by only accepting the compliment.

12. Don’t Go Fishing

You may have heard the saying “fishing for compliments”. This habit isn’t a good thing. When someone compliments you, just take it. Don’t try to stretch it out or pull more out of the person. If they tell you that your dress looks nice, don’t ask them what they like the best about it. That just makes the conversation awkward and makes you look self-centered. Simply accept the compliment, then change the conversation or move on.

Final Thoughts on How to Accept Compliments Gracefully

Most of the time, when people respond wrong to a compliment, they don’t mean any harm. They simply don’t know how to accept the compliment. Some people may even be slightly embarrassed by a compliment. However, with practice, you can get good at taking them.

The 12 tips above are great starting points in accepting praise gracefully. You don’t have to do them all. Start with a few and keep trying them until you find the ones that work best for you. Before you know it, you probably be able to accept compliments more gracefully than you’d ever imagined!


12 Tips to Help You Accept Compliments Gracefully? ›

The simplest way to accept a compliment is to smile and say “Thank you.” If you feel a “thank you” is too short, you can expand on it slightly. “Thank you, much appreciated!” “Thanks, it's kind of you to say so.” “Thank you very much.”

What is the simplest way to accept a compliment? ›

The simplest way to accept a compliment is to smile and say “Thank you.” If you feel a “thank you” is too short, you can expand on it slightly. “Thank you, much appreciated!” “Thanks, it's kind of you to say so.” “Thank you very much.”

How can I learn to accept compliments? ›

  1. Count to three before you respond. ...
  2. Say “thank you” and then send a compliment back. ...
  3. Connect with the feeling of success. ...
  4. Give yourself more praise, more often. ...
  5. Practice gratitude on a daily basis. ...
  6. Remind yourself: It's just communication.
Oct 19, 2020

Why do I struggle to accept compliments? ›

“People have trouble accepting compliments for a number of reasons. Sometimes, it's tied to social anxiety. It can also be caused by feelings of low self-esteem, or by going through life without experiencing positive feelings of gratitude,” explains Lisa Schuman, a New York–based social worker.

What does it mean to accept compliments graciously? ›

The rule of thumb when you receive a compliment is to simply and humbly say "Thank you" or "Thank you; I appreciate your kind words." By accepting the compliment, you show gratitude for the other person's kind remarks and do not come off as vain, bashful or prideful.

How do you humbly respond to a compliment? ›

How to Accept a Compliment
  1. “Thank you, it makes my day to hear that.”
  2. “I really put a lot of thought into this, thank you for noticing.”
  3. “Thank you, I really appreciate you taking the time to express that.”
  4. “Thank you, I am happy to hear you feel that way!”
Oct 12, 2019

What are 2 techniques to handle compliments? ›

I've also learned a simple trick: When someone gives you a compliment, just say, “Thank you.” Don't resist it. Don't overthink it. Don't question. Simply acknowledge.

How do confident people respond to compliments? ›

They Take it to Heart. When presented with a sincere comment, you can probably manage to at least paste on a smile, squeak out a quick, “Thank you!”, and then move on with your day. But, confident people? They take things a step further—they actually reflect on and then believe the praise that was offered.

What is it called when you can't take a compliment? ›

Referred to as cognitive dissonance, it's the phrase psychologists use to describe the inconsistencies. Let's say a co-worker says, "You're so smart. You always say just the right things in your reports." If you don't view yourself as a smart, competent person, hearing those words might send you into a tailspin.

Why am I so insensitive to compliments? ›

Compliments and Self-Esteem

More often than not, our receptivity to compliments is a reflection of our self-esteem and deep feelings of self-worth. Specifically, compliments can make people with low self-esteem feel uncomfortable because they contradict their own self-views.

How do I stop rejecting compliments? ›

Show the Value of the Compliment

You could accept it by saying something like, “Thanks, it's so satisfying to know that my work is making a difference.” You'll be doing both of you a favor—by verbalizing what the compliment means to you, you'll feel a greater impact.

Why do I get uncomfortable when someone compliments me? ›

All this to say, many of us respond awkwardly to compliments as an unconscious act of self-protection. Unfortunately, this unconscious self-protection often robs us of human connection. It keeps us from letting in the kind words and gratitude of others.

What is deflecting a compliment? ›

When you deflect or deny that praise, you're basically contradicting them; you're saying that they don't have good judgment, discernment, or taste, or that they're insincere — that they don't know what they're talking about. You're returning their kind words with an insult.

Why do some people never give compliments? ›

A study published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin proposes that people often refrain from giving compliments because they mis-predict how their compliments make others feel. Giving compliments to others requires little effort, while having great results for both parties.

How do you accept compliments with low self-esteem? ›

If you have low self-esteem but want to take a compliment, work on letting the compliment stand, accepting it graciously, and boosting your self-esteem.
Make sure that you always receive compliments with polite non-verbal cues.
  1. Use open body language. ...
  2. Avoid distant or hostile body language. ...
  3. Watch your facial expression.

How do you respond to compliments instead of thank you? ›

11 Ways to Respond to Compliments
  • Acknowledgment. Embarrassment is a common reaction to a compliment. ...
  • Think Before You Speak. The last thing you want to do is come off rude towards someone paying you a compliment. ...
  • Stay Humble. ...
  • Share the Credit. ...
  • Don't Correct Them. ...
  • Accept & Move-On. ...
  • Repay the Compliment. ...
  • It's Not a Competition.
Aug 17, 2022

How to respond to that's so nice? ›

After saying That's so nice of you to say you could then return the compliment by saying something nice about the other person. For example, ⁠I really love your shoes too!.

How to respond to it's nice? ›

Formal and Informal:
  1. It's very nice to meet you.
  2. Nice to meet you too.
  3. Lovely to meet you.
  4. Likewise.
  5. Glad to meet.
  6. It was nice meeting you too.
  7. You too.
  8. Pleasure.
Sep 4, 2019

How do you make compliments more meaningful? ›

How to Give Sincere Compliments
  1. Link your compliment to something you genuinely feel.
  2. Then, think about why you appreciate that quality.
  3. Be authentic and specific, not hyperbolic.
  4. Done right, even seemingly superficial compliments can make someone's day.
  5. Compliment your favorite traits in your romantic partner.
Jun 28, 2019

How do you respond to an uncomfortable compliment? ›

Even if you think the person has an ulterior motive, just say, “thank you.” The more comfortable you become at accepting recognition, the more comfortable you will be with giving it. If you catch yourself diverting the compliment, it is never too late to go back and thank them.

How compliments make you feel good? ›

Compliments help us communicate that appreciation we feel toward one another. “I would define a compliment as any sort of sincere appreciation of a trait in someone or a behavior or an appearance,” Berger says. And that makes us feel good.

How do you respond to a compliment without being rude? ›

Any time you receive a compliment, reply with "Thank you." It's a simple, but powerful phrase. The person bestowing the compliment will be most receptive to a humble response. Say something like, "Thank you, that's very kind of you," or "Thank you, I appreciate the compliment."

What are backhanded compliments? ›

: a compliment that implies it is not really a compliment at all. She paid me a backhanded compliment when she said my work was "surprisingly good."

How do you deflect backhanded compliments? ›

5 Effective Ways to Respond to Backhanded Compliments
  1. Ignore it. Staying silent doesn't mean you're letting yourself get pushed around. ...
  2. Say, "Thank you." ...
  3. Acknowledge the positive portion. ...
  4. Address the insult head-on. ...
  5. Keep your sense of humor.
Jul 6, 2016

What is the psychology of giving compliments? ›

Giving compliments increases your happiness.

Research shows you can reliably increase your personal well-being by engaging in random acts of kindness toward others. Paying a compliment is one free and easy way to do this.

Why do narcissists not give compliments? ›

14. They don't give compliments. Narcissists want to be complimented. They don't have to make people feel good about themselves because it's not their job to do so.

How do compliments affect mental health? ›

Receiving a compliment can have a powerful effect to your self-esteem but giving compliments can also be a beneficial boost to your health. It's a win-win! Smiling, laughter, and praise all release endorphins and serotonin, the feel-good chemicals that can decrease stress and anxiety.

What does it mean when someone compliments you too much? ›

The too-frequent compliment.

Compliments can be subject to the laws of economics, meaning that the more often you give them out, the less they mean. By giving nonstop compliments, you seem insincere, and even if you genuinely feel this way, it would be best to keep some of those words of admiration to yourself.

What is the most backhanded compliment? ›

Backhanded Compliments
  • I always feel more intelligent after reading your work.
  • It's really difficult to underestimate you.
  • Your haircut makes your nose look smaller.
  • You look really nice in this light.
  • That's a beautiful photo of you. ...
  • You're not as dumb as you look.
Mar 21, 2022

Is you look good for your age a compliment? ›

“You look great!” is a flattering compliment to receive but tacking on “…for your age” to the tail-end may backfire. This can be taken as a form of ageism, or “the stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination against people on the basis of their age” according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

What part of the brain reacts to compliments? ›

Praise activates the striatum, one of the reward areas in the brain. Researchers believe that, by activating this area, praise improves learning that occurs during sleep, a process referred to as 'skill consolidation'. In other words: by giving others compliments, we help them to learn and to perform better.

Is it rude to decline a compliment? ›

Rejecting a compliment is just plain rude

Someone admires something about you and they want you to know. Don't make them feel bad for wanting to show you how awesome they think you are.

How do you accept a compliment without accepting a compliment? ›

Just Say Thank You

The best approach, she says, is to keep it super simple with a "thank you" or “I appreciate it." Beyond that, there's no need to share an excuse or deflect a compliment. Doing so can impact your sense of self-worth.

Are too many compliments a red flag? ›

If someone is constantly giving you compliments, flattering you, and being oh so nice and or so sweet, they probably are too good to be true. People often demonstrate this behavior to hook you in only to disappoint you or manipulate you later.

Why do compliments make me want to cry? ›

We've lost touch with the fact that a compliment was not meant to be about us and what we don't have, but about someone else and what they do. We've lost touch with it because today — more than before — we are told exactly what a “perfect” human is. We know how they look, how they speak, and what they do.

What do you call a person who compliments others? ›

flatterer. A person who lavishes praise, often insincerely; a sycophant: he is not allowing flatterers to deceive him.

How to accept compliments without being cocky? ›

How to Receive a Compliment Without Being Awkward About It
  1. Express your gratitude. ...
  2. Share the credit. ...
  3. Receive awards with your left hand. ...
  4. Use appropriate body language. ...
  5. Never undermine the compliment. ...
  6. Avoid a compliment battle. ...
  7. Follow appropriate etiquette.
Jun 23, 2014

How do you accept a compliment without flirting? ›

Acknowledge the compliment with gratitude – “Thanks for your sweet words!” or “Thank you so much for noticing” Don't dismiss their appreciation for you by dissolving the compliment with an answer like “No, no, this dress doesn't look that flattering on me”

What is a simple compliment example? ›

You're gorgeous — and that's the least interesting thing about you, too. You're so thoughtful. Your creative potential seems limitless. You're the coolest person I know.

Why do men deflect compliments? ›

Men often see compliments as "face-threatening acts," or acts intended to embarrass or patronize, the study authors found. What was meant as a nicety could be seen as a way to assert control. When it comes to compliments from their own sex, men often regard appearance-based praise as a come-on.

How do you compliment without sounding desperate? ›

10 Great and Classy Ways to Compliment a Guy Without Being Creepy
  1. Be sincere.
  2. Don't fawn over him.
  3. Give him compliments in moderation.
  4. Try complimenting his personality.
  5. Tell him he's a great listener.
  6. Compliment his eyes.
  7. Tell him he's cute.
  8. Compliment his body (but keep it PG).
May 28, 2022

How do you not reject a compliment? ›

Show the Value of the Compliment

You could accept it by saying something like, “Thanks, it's so satisfying to know that my work is making a difference.” You'll be doing both of you a favor—by verbalizing what the compliment means to you, you'll feel a greater impact.

How to be flirty but friendly? ›

How to flirt with ease:
  1. Don't get caught up in trying to adopt a certain persona you associate with "being flirty."
  2. Be willing to make the first move.
  3. Make it more casual.
  4. Pay attention to your body language.
  5. Offer a thoughtful compliment.
  6. Open a real conversation.
  7. Pay attention to how they're responding.
Mar 24, 2022

How do people with low esteem behave? ›

If you have low self-esteem you may have difficulty with relationships and problems at work or school. You may become very upset by criticism or disapproval and withdraw from activities and people. You may avoid doing anything where you may be judged or measured against other people.

Why do compliments make me feel more insecure? ›

Compliments and Self-Esteem

Specifically, compliments can make people with low self-esteem feel uncomfortable because they contradict their own self-views. People actively seek to verify their own perceptions of themselves, whether those are positive or negative.

What is 1 sentence of compliment? ›

Examples: Compliment as a noun If you like him, you should pay him a compliment. I'll take compliments over criticism any day! As a verb, compliment means to express praise, admiration, or respect.

What are three expressions of compliment? ›

Appearance: You look great. / That's a nice haircut!
  • Skills/Performance: You have a great eye finding those discrepancies. / I appreciate your ability to get things done on time.
  • Possessions: Nice phone! / You have such a nice apartment.
  • Personality: You are so generous. / I like how motivated you are!

What are friendly compliments? ›

What to Say to Someone
  • You are more fun than anyone or anything I know, including bubble wrap.
  • You are the most perfect you there is.
  • You are enough.
  • You are one of the strongest people I know.
  • You look great today.
  • You have the best smile.
  • Your outlook on life is amazing.
  • You just light up the room.
Jul 6, 2017


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