etopiei's blog

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Compliments and the Problem They Present

Receiving compliments is a very tricky thing these days, we live in a world where we want to be liked, yet act like we don't care. We want people to notice us, yet we don't want to point ourselves out. The minefield which is the social etiquette has become more dynamic and intangible than ever. It is a combination of these things which leads to the most common response to someone receiving a compliment. The response is one of two things, either a direct refutation of the compliment, or a deflection or immediate return.
Interactions such as this look like this: A: Hey, you're new haircut looks great. B: No, I don't think so.
Or it may looks something like this: A: You did great work on that project B: No, it was all someone else.
We have all had experiences like this, probably from both sides of this conversation. The problem with it is, it is not healthy and not good for any party involved. In both scenarios the response to the compliment starts with NO, and this straight away has a negative effect on both people.
The person giving the compliment feels invalidated and as though their opinion or belief is invalid or wrong, this is not a nice feeling and certainly not something that should result from doing something nice. Secondly, this effects the person receiving the compliment negatively as well because they do not take on the feedback and do not appreciate the sentiment conveyed by the complimenter.
The truth is sometimes people give compliments because they need to feel better themselves, and in this case deflecting or rejecting a compliment can indeed do them harm. The absolute best way to respond to a compliment is a simple thank you, and then if possible move the conversation along with a little humour or other means.
I was discussing this with a friend recently and he suggested this and I think it is great advice, the reason being that the whole experience of compliment giving and receiving is quite awkward. The complimenter is vulnerable by expressing their feelings towards something or someone and the complimentee (I don't care if that isn't a real word) feels uncomfortable with praise.
Simply saying thank you and moving on allows the complimentee to feel good about themselves and also shows the person giving the compliment that they care about their opinion and appreciate the good will. Moving the conversation along afterward is an excellent idea because otherwise the conversation can become awkward and dwindle.
All in all, be thankful for others time and words, and do you best to show people how much you appreciate it, even if it is a bit uncomfortable.

(8/2/17 - 1:30am so this may be trash, I'm too tired to tell.)

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