Do You Suck At Taking Compliments? Here’s How To Get Better

You can feel it coming. Someone has just looked over your outfit and their mouth is opening. You’re already getting itchy at the inevitability of a compliment you have no idea how to accept. Of course, you have things on standby to say in response, and plenty more you’re leaving unsaid. All of it is your subtle or not-so-subtle way of cluing them in at your discomfort. You don’t agree with what they’re going to say. You don’t believe them. All you see when you look at yourself are the flaws. Or maybe you like the way you look, but you still feel discomfort when it’s acknowledged. You don’t want to seem conceited, right? If you have no idea how to take a compliment, there are some actual concrete things you can do to get better at it. With a little practice, you’ll be taking compliments like a pro–whatever that means.

Give compliments to get better at taking them.

Before you can start working on your own responses to compliments, you have to get good at giving them. Make it your personal mission to give out compliments whenever you can. If you spot someone with cool shoes, tell them. Like their hair? Tell them. Does your friend have a great laugh? Give them a compliment. It may seem daunting at first, but it’ll get easier as time goes on. I promise. Strangers, people you know–compliment them!

Seriously, don’t skip this step. Here are some of the benefits to going off on a compliment spree:

  1. You’re getting used to the back-and-forth of compliments, proving to yourself that it doesn’t have to be awkward.
  2. You’re seeing how other people accept compliments. Use them as examples of how you can do it yourself.
  3. You get to feel the joy of making someone’s day. When someone accepts a compliment well, you’ll feel great! And then you’ll want to make someone else feel the same when they compliment you.

Now that you’ve gotten the hang of giving compliments, it’s time to learn how to take them.

Smile and say “thank you.”

I know that sounds too simple. You’ve been struggling this whole time and all it comes down to is a simple word or two. Ignore that urge to tell them that no, you’re actually trash. Don’t tell them that actually this dress is terrible and fraying at the hem. Don’t blush and stammer, not knowing what to say. Because now you do. Heck, you can even turn it back on them after you say thanks. After all, you’re now at expert at giving compliments. Here are some scenarios:

“Wow, I love your shoes!”

“Thanks!”

“Your speech was so good.”

“Thank you! I loved yours, too. Where’d you find your idea?”

“You have really pretty hair.”

“Thanks!”

Try to be as genuine as possible when smiling and saying thank you. Avoid a grimace. And if you’re finding this tough…

Fake it until you make it.

I’m not going to pretend it’ll be easy. If you’ve been struggling with accepting compliments for years now, especially if it’s because you don’t believe what they’re complimenting, it’ll be difficult. At this point, all you can do is fake it until you make it. Pretend you aren’t incredibly uncomfortable with the attention. After a while, it’ll get easier. You’ll start to believe them. And you may even start to see what all the fuss is about. Because I’m tell you, you’re great.