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A Well Deserved Compliment!

When someone gives a compliment, many of us just feel like crawling under a rock. Here are some positive thinking tips on how to accept them graciously.

Accepting Compliments

“What a great idea!” a coworker says about a suggestion you made. What’s your response? A) You say, “Thanks, I gave it a lot of thought.” B) You say, “It really wasn’t such a big deal.” C) You worry, Were my other ideas only so-so? D) You wonder whether he really meant it. If you chose B, C, or D, you’re not alone. When someone gives a compliment, many of us, oddly enough, just feel like crawling under a rock.

Why such a negative reaction to what should be a happy exchange? There are many reasons it can be tough to take a compliment. Maybe you aren’t used to it because you had critical parents or teachers growing up. Or you’re afraid that you’ll come off as conceited. Or your lack of confidence makes you doubt the praise and the achievement that has prompted it.

Whatever the reason, don’t let your compliment-averse behavior continue. Why? Simple courtesy, for starters. If someone says “Nice sweater,” you might be tempted to respond with, “This old thing? It’s just a hand-me-down.” But as etiquette expert Lizzie Post (great-great-granddaughter of Emily) points out, “It’s actually rude to discredit their compliment.” She admits that she only recently learned to accept compliments on her luxuriant hair. “I finally stopped finding excuses for it not to be great,” she says.

The deeper reason to take a compliment: It feels good to acknowledge your positives. Practice by making a list of what you like about yourself. Then get a list from a close friend or family member. Go over the lists to get yourself used to hearing praise.

The next time you get a compliment, don’t analyze it, just accept it. No excuses, no deflection. Trust that the giver is sincere, and say, “Thank you.” That’s it. (No, you’re not being vain.) If you’re still a little flustered, follow up with: “That’s very nice of you to say.”

Finally, let yourself feel good. You deserve it!

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