Family Life




Receiving Compliments Well

Receiving Compliments Well

Receiving Compliments Well

The art of graciously receiving a compliment is just that- an art. Many people, adults and children, find themselves a little confused and intimidated by receiving a compliment. Their instincts are to downplay in an effort not to seem too egotistical or to over-share in an effort to be grateful and deserving.

It's just not a moment that we are prepared for, socially speaking. We are much more comfortable handling criticisms in public than a simple compliment. This is partly because we are taught to expect criticisms more often and partly because we are taught not to think too highly of ourselves. A compliment always comes as a surprise.

Either way, one of the best skills to teach your child is the ability to receive any gift graciously, including a compliment, with a smile and a thank you.

How to Receive a Compliment

Receiving a compliment, though it may make you feel slightly embarrassed, is actually a very simple thing to do. All you need is the ability to accept the compliment at face value and be grateful for it. Here are the steps you should follow when you are complimented:

  • Look the other person in the eye
  • Smile
  • Say thank you

This lets the person know that you have received the compliment and are truly grateful for it. A compliment is often an invitation to conversation, as well as a gift, so it is perfectly all right to expand upon this formula if you'd like. Just make sure that you neither make it all about you nor denigrate the gift you have just been offered. It is not appropriate to respond to a compliment on your dress with flippancy like “This old thing?”.

It is also not appropriate to respond to a compliment by launching into a detailed explanation of why you deserve it. Instead, keep the conversation slightly impersonal when you are accepting a compliment. Turn it back on the other person by saying something like, “That really means a lot, thank you.”.

Teaching Your Child to Receive a Compliment

When it comes time to teach your child to receive a compliment graciously, focus on the three steps outlined above. This simple formula is one even a very young child can master with the right encouragement. Make time to practice it in the home, however, so that your child is prepared to say thank you as easily, as sincerely, and as winningly as possible when the time comes.

You may need to prompt them at first, but soon your child will be mastering the art of receiving a compliment. They will learn even more quickly if you can model the behavior for them when you receive compliments as well. You will have added another important life skill to their repertoire and everyone will be happy. You may even learn something yourself along the way.

Receiving compliments graciously goes hand-in-hand with a balance between confidence and humility. It is easier said than done to find this balance, even for adults. As a parent, you can help your child by teaching them how to view both their accomplishments and their failures. If your child is comfortable with themselves, they'll find accepting compliments the right way to be a lot eaiser.

If your child fumbles with accepting a compliment, don't rush to scold them. Children, especially young ones, will make mistakes. As long as your child recognizes what they did wrong and makes an active effort to do better, everything will be just fine. Instead of scolding them, help them understand what they did wrong and how to do better next time.

With all that said, don't obsess over how your child accepts compliments. As long as they don't reject the compliment or react to it in a way that suggests arrogance, they're doing just fine. Receiving compliments well is a good skill to have, but there are also a lot of other manners and social skills that are a lot more important.

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