How do humble people deal with compliments

How to respond to a compliment

No more words?

People have always complimented other people. But isn't it mind-boggling that we still struggle to respond properly when someone compliments us? This feeling is more common than you think.

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Usually, people find it difficult to acknowledge compliments because they don't want to appear vain or full of themselves. But like complimenting, it is also an art to receive them graciously.

Impostor Syndrome and Why Compliments Are Difficult to Take

It is normal to hear people downgrade or downplay the awards they receive. This is what is commonly known as Cheater Syndrome or the feeling that you don't deserve to be rewarded and recognized for your accomplishments.

It is belief or paranoia that you think people will soon find out that you are nothing but a cheat in your position. That you're just a fake

Basically, there is nothing wrong with feeling that way. Most of us want to be better at everything we do and not get complacent. People always strive to improve and excel. Hence, it is only natural to fight the urge to party in order to stay focused.

It's easy to forget that compliments are a good thing. A positive thing. A festival in itself. Accepting a compliment does not affect or cancel your work. It is an appreciation of all of your hard work and you should allow yourself and other people to appreciate it.

We should be gracious and accept compliments. Don't think about it more than simple compliments. Smile. Be nice and be grateful. As simple as it sounds, for some people this could be quite a challenge.

How men should react to compliments

1. Keep it simple

Reconsidering the compliment will always mess up your answer. A simple "thank you" will always suffice in any situation. Men who suffer from cheating syndrome always follow "thank you" with a "but". Examples:

  • "Many Thanks. But I could have done better "
  • "Many Thanks. But it wasn't a big deal ”

Avoid doing this to yourself. Practice keeping it simple and just saying "thank you" and nothing else. Before adding anything else, start and keep yourself from saying anything else.

Walk away, shake hands, smile, do something other than say nothing else. Whenever you receive a compliment, do this until you have trained your brain enough to perceive this as normal. Or until you have sufficient control over your impulses.

2. Stop downplaying yourself

If you ever say something after a compliment, avoid saying anything that might downgrade the compliment. "Oh, it was nothing" is probably the best example of downplaying / downgrading a compliment.

If it were really nothing, you wouldn't get any compliments at all. This is a normal response as we believe it is the right and humble way to respond. Instead, allow yourself to celebrate and be proud of the moment.

Declining or downplaying compliments can also leave you thirsting for more compliments, or worse, insecurity. Treat yourself to these moments.

Small wins are vital to your sanity. Enjoy these moments. The key is to understand that they are just that - moments. They go by.

Distracting or refusing compliments can be a symptom of low self-esteem. You struggle to accept positive reinforcement because it goes against your negative perception of yourself.

Just allow yourself to feel good and be proud for a moment. Say "thank you" and nothing else, then go on with your day.

3. Share your victories and give due recognition

Especially in a team environment, it's best to share your victories. Accept the compliment, but accept it for everyone involved and make sure to mention them when you say your "thank you".

Acknowledge everyone's contribution. It will only make the compliment more rewarding. Say something like, "Thank you, but none of this will be possible without the hard work of everyone on the team".

Erase names if you can. It is never good to take all credit for something that is group work. Even if it's not "group work", thank the people around you. You are only as good as the people around you.

You may or may not be aware of this, but your co-workers passively affect the work you do. And besides, if compliments hit you like a ton of rocks, it's probably best to share the burden of them.

How women should respond to compliments

1. Really give compliments

As strong as the urge to downplay your compliments, you might as well have an urge to return the compliment. That's all well and good, but Compliments are only effective when they are sincere and genuine.

Don't pay compliments just to repay.

For example, resist saying:

  • Thanks, but you deserve more.
  • Thanks, but you could have done a much better job than me.

Instead of redirecting the compliments, try saying something like, "Thanks, I think you're doing a great job, too." Enjoy the moment together instead of giving it back to the person who complimented you.

2. Respond immediately to the first compliment

Don't ask to repeat the compliment. Do not ask for a full explanation of why you are being praised. As soon as you receive a compliment, say "Thank you"

If you ask someone to repeat or explain the compliment, it may seem like you are enjoying yourself too much. You can appear vain and full of yourself.

Return again with a clear sign of appreciation and that's it. The first rule always applies, keep it simple.

3. Split the credit

Women are praised more often than men. That's only part of life, but it doesn't mean women can't be in the spotlight when it's warranted. If you receive a compliment and you feel that you need other people to be recognized, don't wait for others to compliment those people. Share the credit yourself with statements like:

  • Nice to hear that! But the whole team that is responsible for this project. If you have the time, it would be your day to hear that you appreciate your hard work.
  • I'd like to take out credit, but Sarah should split the credit for it. Your feedback will be shared with her when I see her today.
  • Thank you all for appreciating the hard work our team has done over the past few weeks. Your feedback means the world to them.
  • None of this would be possible without the hard work and dedication of my team. I am grateful to be able to work with talented people like you.

It all boils down to proper etiquette

When you receive a compliment, just say "Thank you". Don't be boastful. Be courteous and kind. Enjoy and share the moment with others.

Remember, everyone is doing their best and at that moment only you have been put in the spotlight and recognized for your hard work. Be empathetic.

It's like singing happy birthday at your own party. Imagine how awkward it would be for everyone present.

If you're still having trouble what to say when you receive a compliment. Here are some examples of how you can say thank you kindly:

  • Thanks, it makes all the difference hearing that.
  • Thank you for noticing. I've really thought about it a lot and tried hard.
  • Thank you very much, I really appreciate your taking the time to let me know how you are feeling.
  • Thank you, I'm glad you think that way!
  • Thank you, it's worth it for you to say that
  • Thanks, that makes me want to do even better
  • Thank you, rest assured, I will endeavor to continue to do a good job

Being a man or woman shouldn't matter if you follow proper etiquette to respond to compliments. As long as you follow these tips, you will sail through life and be able to give and accept compliments in the most friendly way possible.

Now, to learn how to use compliments as an icebreaker on a date, party, or other event, check out this effective conversation starter guide should help make you a better conversationalist.

✍️ November 16, 2020

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