Compliments are an expression of esteem, respect, affection or admiration especially in the form of an admiring remark; a formal a respectful honour (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
A well-executed compliment can provide a wonderful boost to our self-image and confidence. They can make us stand taller and see ourselves as others see us. Conversely, a misplaced or poorly timed compliment can have the opposite effect, leaving us feeling awkward and unsure.
Learning to give and receive a compliment is a powerful skill that can change the way we feel about ourselves and others.
So what makes a good compliment?
1. Compliments can either relate to a person’s superficial appearance or they can refer to a person’s character, achievements and personal qualities. Complimenting someone on a trait you recognise that is beyond skin deep will open up feelings of appreciation and warmth. Science has shown that the pathway in our brain which is activated by sincere compliments is the same pathway that we use when we receive a monetary reward.
2. Give compliments about actions or traits that you genuinely care about and personally appreciate. Linking a compliment to your own feelings makes it natural and the receiver will connect with your smile and see genuine appreciation in your eyes.
3. Tell the person why you appreciate that particular quality in them.
4. Be specific and use adjectives to make the compliment more personal. When you are giving a compliment based on something physical, an adjective or two will make it specific to the receiver.
I love your funny t-shirt. It tickles my sense of humour and makes me smile
5. Some simple compliment starters:
I like the way…..
I appreciate …….
I love it when……
6. Receive a compliment with a smile and a simple thank you. There’s no need to be embarrassed, embrace the positive things others see in you.
Giving and receiving compliments is one of many social-pragmatic langauge skills. If you find yourself confused in social settings and are unsure of what people are really meaning, or experiencing challenges ‘reading the room’, speech pathologists are here to help. At Newcastle Speech Pathology, we work with adults and children to develop their social-pragmatic skills. We help our clients develop conversational skills, interpret meaning in social settings, understand what other people really mean, read the nuances of body language and develop interpersonal skills. Contact us to find out how we can help you too.