How to Take a Compliment (Without Being Weird About It)

Raise your hand if you’ve ever found yourself in a situation like this:

Another Person: “Oh my gosh, I love your pants. They look amazing on you.”

You: “Oh really? I almost didn’t get them because I wasn’t sure.”

That Same Person: “Such a good choice. Super flattering.”

You: “Yea, I really do like the color.”


Why is it so darn hard to take a compliment and not be weird about it?

Why, why, tell 'em that it's human nature

I think we’re conditioned as humans to make sure that we don’t come off as being “boastful.” Makes sense, no one wants to be THAT guy. You know who I’m talking about. The one-upper. The always-gets-the-last-word guy. The self-absorbed look-at-me-look-at-me person.

Totally fair. It’s a fine line to walk between boastful and confident. Feeling entitled versus feeling loved. Or even resorting to self-deprecation instead of being grateful.

We’re constantly seeking feedback and searching for validation from other people. Hello, this is what compliments are for. But then we find ourselves doubting what people say even though they took the time and energy to give a compliment. They didn’t have to do that.

Everyone loves to be complimented! I’ve never once heard of someone saying they don’t like to hear awesome things about themselves, have you? I definitely know we’ve all been weird about taking compliments before, too.

It takes practice to learn how to be kind to ourselves. And it can start by being kind to others.

The Power of compliments

Story time: when I was a kid (some time around 6th-grade-ish) I interpreted something someone said in this general realm of thoughts and proceeded to tell everyone from then until… well now:

“For every negative comment a person receives, it takes 17 positive compliments to counter-act the damage.”

Holy shit! 17 to 1!

Who knows if this is scientifically proven or even where I first heard this but to me, it’s totally believable.

I’d say that we can all use a LOT more positivity.

What would it look like if you gave three genuine compliments today?

To your friends, family, coworkers, or even strangers - there’s a bazillion and twelve ways you can make someone’s day simply by giving them an authentic compliment. It shows that you see them. That you notice things. That they matter. It also genuinely feels good to give compliments. Start by giving. A lot. And the more you give to others, you’ll start to reflect their gracious reactions in the way you receive, too.

Ground Control To Major tom

So, how can you learn to take a compliment and enjoy it? In those moments where you’re super pumped about something you’ve done, how can you learn to accept the praise and celebrate our wins?

It starts with two words: “Thank you.”

Think about how it would feel to have the same above conversation about your amazing new workout pants but this time instead of justifying or beating around the bush, you just said, “thank you!” And really really meant it.

No matter who is giving you the compliment, when you come into it with an attitude for gratitude and with an open-mind and respectfulness for the giver, you will instantly become a better compliment receiver.

Bonus points for making eye-contact when saying the words, “Thank you.” Whoa buddy!

Collect as many of those good vibes for your positive column as possible, because at 17-1, we could all benefit from banking more awesomeness.

Practice makes practice

This week, Give it 15 minutes to write down compliments that you’ve recently received. For real, reflect and write out the whole dang compliment. Go through as many as you want (hey, maybe 17 just for good measure) and then next to each one (perhaps in a different colored pen) write "Thank you.”

take a compliment.jpg

Hopefully, with this exercise, the next time someone says this to you…

… you’ll know how to respond and feel really fantastic about it.

Marissa Yennie