Compliments are Complicated

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As a general rule, I am not very good at accepting compliments. I never have been. I tend to wave them off and disregard them as uninformed comments coming from people who have lovely intentions but ridiculously low standards.

My daughter has been after me for years trying to teach me how to be more gracious in accepting a compliment. “Thank you, I appreciate that” is the response she recommends. I have tried it out a few times — and while it is definitely the more polite approach, inside it feels very inauthentic and uncomfortable.

As a result, I am very scrupulous about the compliments I hand out. I am careful not to dole out throw-away compliments for the purpose of trying to make someone feel good. It’s not who I am — I am very conscious about making sure that the compliments I give are heartfelt, accurate, and useful. When I do give out a compliment, the recipient knows that I really mean it and that it comes with absolute authenticity.

An Incredible Compliment

After the event was over, I received an email from Nancy. Here’s what it said…

Still hearing from people how great your presentation was.

They are all saying how amazing it was.

Thank you so much.

They are asking for your info.

I’m kvelling


In case you’re wondering, the definition of kvelling is: Bursting with pride.

She was bursting with pride because she brought me into her organization, and she received wonderful feedback for her decision. For me, that was a home run and it was a compliment that was easy for me to receive and feel good about. Not only that, I found the compliment so cool that I even shared it with a few close friends — and now I am writing about it!

How to Give a Compliment that Matters

Here are 5 tips for powerful compliments:

1. Be Observant

2. Be Specific

3. Be Original

4. Address Something that Matters to the Person you are Complimenting

5. Describe How it Impacts You

One More Tip

Practice these 5 tips and email me the compliment you write about yourself! I would love to hear what you come up with. My email address is Looking forward to hearing from you!

Written by

Kim is the President & Founder of Frame of Mind Coaching™ & JournalEngine™ Software, an executive coach & a supermom of 5.

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