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How Do I Give Compliments?


Updated December 04, 2013

People who suffer with social anxiety are much less likely to give compliments than those who are naturally comfortable in social situations. However, by learning the rules of giving good compliments, and putting them into practice daily, you can become just as adept at giving praise. Giving compliments is an important social skill to learn because it is a great way to start conversations, develop social bonds, and reduce anxiety about communicating. But just how do you go about giving a compliment?

  1. Don't start giving out compliments randomly. You should honestly believe what you are saying or it will come across as insincere.
  2. Make sure your compliment is specific rather than general. Instead of "Your kitchen looks great," you might say something like, "Your kitchen looks great, I really like your new cabinetry and hardware."
  3. Just as in receiving compliments, giving compliments enables you with the opportunity to start a conversation. You might add in, "Where did you get the cabinets from" or "Who did you have install your kitchen?"
  4. Consider the setting and your relationship with the person to make sure that the compliment is appropriate. Comments of a personal nature should be reserved for close friends and intimate surroundings.
  5. Use creative and unusual words instead of everyday ones. Which would stay with you longer -- "Your new dress is really nice" or "Your new dress is eye-catching. The fabric is out of this world!"
  6. Take opportunities to compliment character rather than objects, as these types of compliments are rarely heard. For example, compliment a mother on her compassion for her children, or compliment a teacher on his ability to keep students motivated.
  7. Be willing to give constructive criticism. Compliments tend to mean more coming from someone who is willing to share bad news in addition to good.
  8. Don't be afraid to compliment people in authority. People in power tend to receive fewer compliments and you might be pleasantly surprised at the response you receive -- they will probably welcome the feedback.

Once you have mastered the art of giving compliments, you may find that you are also better at gracefully receiving compliments. Remember, whether giving or receiving, compliments should always be a positive experience.


Trunk P. Brazen Careerist: The New Rules for Success. New York: Business Plus; 2007.

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