Compliments are a wonderful thing that can never come in enough quantities when served with good intentions. They make us feel just the right amount of tingly and radiant in all the right places, while making our days just that little bit more brighter than it would have been otherwise. Not that we require validation from other people, but sometimes just a little heads up that we’re moving in the right direction can feel good. After all, a little flattery never hurt anyone.
When delivered genuinely, compliments often work as a mood booster for both parties, including recipient and sender alike. Interestingly enough, as much as compliments often radiate positivity, there will always be an awkward side to humans which makes it difficult to accept them for what it is. Here are a few different ways that different people deal with compliments:
1. “This old, ratty thing I bought from the side of the street for five dollars?”
People who tend to be self-deprecating are often extra humble in the face of compliments. These people will literally try and convince you that the thing you’re complimenting isn’t really that great, and that you shouldn’t feel bad for not owning it. Telling someone that they look extra glowy today and getting back “Thanks, but I feel like I’ve been breaking out so much lately from my terrible eating habits. My face gets greasy after a while, just wait!” is pretty normal. “Oh thanks, but I haven’t washed my hair in three days so it really smells” is another prime example when dealing with someone from this category.
2. *Insert heart-eyes emoji and flared nostrils*
On the other hand, we have the ones who simply feed off validation from other people. The ones who make you regret you even opened your mouth. Praising someone like this can literally make you wish you had studied harder in school and mastered the science of time travel so you can go back in time and retrieve the moment you complimented this person. But, alas, the year is 2017 and time travel still doesn’t exist, so you have to bear the consequences of your actions and watch as this person’s head inflates and gets bigger and bigger with hot air. Also, be prepared to listen to your compliment over and over again as he or she retells them to other innocent bystanders while also making you repeat it yourself. Why do you do this to yourself?!
3. “Do you want something from me? Is there something I have to give you in exchange?”
These ones will also make you regret complimenting them, but in a different way altogether. The way their eyes scrunch up as they scan your face for any signs of sarcasm. The mistrusting looks on their faces as they try to decide if you’re mocking them or if you’re simply just pulling their leg. The pinch in their mouth judging you and making you feel almost guilty while also making you doubt your own intentions. Fifteen minutes after scanning through the room and detecting zero levels of animosity emanating from you, you suddenly hear a quick “TQ” being uttered as your praise is finally granted access. Sweat on your brow, you file this person’s profile under “Never to be praised nor complimented again.”
4. “No, yours is better!”
Asian mothers have a propensity for this technique. Put two Asian mothers together and they will spend the next thirty minutes trying to convince each other that their own kids are juvenile delinquents.
A: “Mrs Chang, your daughter is so beautiful and such a bright student!”
B: “She’s super lazy at home and she never does her own laundry. Unlike your Jenny, of course! She’s absolutely precious!”
A: “Jenny has the messiest room you will ever see. I keep telling her to clean it but it goes in one ear and out the next! And I bet your sweet Rachel never sleeps in like she does.”
On and on and on, while poor Jenny and Rachel stand on the sides with awkward smiles painted on their faces, as they try to strike a balance between smiling graciously and sheepishly hanging their heads in contrition. It’s not that they genuinely think their children are bad, it’s just that it’s part of their reflex to deny any form of praise sent in the direction of their offspring.
At the end of the day, for someone who enjoys complimenting people and appreciates receiving it in return, the best way to accept plaudit or commendation is to simply smile or laugh charmingly, say thank you, express your appreciation, wave it off and move on.