8 Ways to receive a compliment, without feeling awkward

A compliment from someone you respect can often leave you feeling good… but not always. After all, how are you supposed to respond to something like that?


Someone is saying something nice about you so it should make you feel good. Not always… In fact, it can often feel very awkward and sometimes un-deserving.


Yes, accepting a compliment can be more challenging than it sounds.


Here are 8 suggestions on how you might reply so that you can become better at receiving compliments.


1. “Thank you.”

It’s straightforward, and to the point. A simple ‘thank you’ acknowledges the compliment and allows the conversation to get back on track without any awkwardness.


Sometimes it’s just as simple as that.


2. “Thanks for noticing.”

This is a great variation on ‘thank you’ and it’s useful in situations where the compliment is referring to something specific. Rather than commenting on your chairing of a meeting, they might mention how well you were able to allow for discussion and keep the agenda on track.


This shows that someone noticed what you did and highlighted an aspect of it for particular mention. It could be highlighting a new skill they haven’t seen you demonstrate before or recognising a different approach.


By thanking them and acknowledging what they noticed, you are also expressing your gratitude for noticing.


For those who compliment, to be acknowledged for it encourages them to continue providing compliments.   


3. “Thank you for the kind words.”

Acknowledging that someone is being kind to you is a nice way to respond to a compliment and the bid for connection.


This shows that you appreciate the effort they’ve made to acknowledge your efforts, and it makes you feel good. This response can be used for a number of compliments whether it be about your personality, appearance, or even work and successes.

While it might be awkward for you to hear and accept a compliment, some people do take a risk to give out a compliment. This type of response reassures them that you perceive it as kindness and is reassuring for them too. After all, who doesn’t want to be seen giving out kindness?


By providing a descriptor to their compliment you are also letting them know that you are comfortable receiving compliments, enabling it to occur again. People who receive compliments in a way that makes the complement-er awkward decrease the likelihood they will receive more compliments from the same person again.

Acknowledging compliments with descriptors will strengthen your relationship and may lead to future support and encouragement!


4. “That means a lot to me.”

This is reserved for special compliments that truly mean a lot.

It could be from someone you admire or have a very close relationship with. Or it could be as a result of a particularly trying time.

In my experience when someone uses this response, it is because they have taken the time to consider the compliment and had an opportunity to have it ‘land’ with them in a felt way rather than just hearing it. As a result, this response feels very genuine and shows that you care about what’s being said to you. 


5. “I love that you care.”

Another good one for those meaningful moments. This response let’s the compliment-er know how much their feedback matters to you.

It also shows that you take great strength from their opinion and that at times it provides you with momentum when you potentially might not have it.

This response also provides a compliment for the compliment-er in a gentle way. By saying you ‘love’ that they care, also puts the praise back on them without taking away from the initial compliment.


6. “I feel good today, too!”

When you agree with what is being said like “you look well today”, a good way to respond it to mention how you feel e.g. “Thank you, I feel really well today”

In this way you are not taking away from the compliment, nor are you standing in the perceived limelight.

When you share how you feel, it makes the other person feel valued and acknowledged. Underlining a positive compliment in this way may have an uplifting ripple effect back onto the complement-er and those around you as we often don’t talk about the positive things as much as the negative.


7. “Thanks, that’s cheered me up.”

Often people who compliment don’t know how their compliment will be received particularly when the receiver is hard on themselves. So, when they give a compliment that helps to positively impact a mood or perspective, it is a nice surprise for them.

If you let someone know that their kind words have improved your perspective, day or made things easier for you when you’re not feeling your best self, they’ll really feel like they’ve helped make a positive difference. Depending on who the compliment is, you may or may not want to elaborate on your response. The choice is yours.


8. "Thank you, that’s motivated me even more."

Some compliments can have the impact of making you want to do more next time, and it’s nice to let the person know that.

Some compliments really encourage us, and letting the person know will remind them how much their words mean to you and possibly inspire them to praise and help others on their journeys.


It is important to note that people give out compliments because they want to acknowledge effort, and when they are received in the way in which they are intended, they bring the compliment-er as much joy as it does for the receiver hearing it. Not acknowledging their compliment also denies them from experiencing the joy of you receiving a compliment.

Do you want to live a life of grace and ease? Do you want your life to compliment who you are? Do you smile politely when others don’t show any interest in YOUR point of view? Are you all about curating a life that is rich and connected so that you don’t feel like you need to take a holiday from it?

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