Everybody likes presents, right?

A friend gives you a good book that she thinks you’ll like. How should you respond?

A) Wow, you don’t know me at all.
B) I like your shoes!
C) Thank you!

Lots of us would just say “Thank you!”, without blushing or refusing to accept, but we often have trouble knowing how to respond to compliments. We get embarrassed; we deny everything; we change the subject. Why not just gracefully accept the compliment? Accepting compliments strengthens your strengths and deepens your relationships.

Next time someone offers you praise or appreciation, try this:

1. Listen attentively without interrupting. Make eye contact if you can.
2. Let the compliment sink in for a moment. Let it be true.
3. Say “Thank you.”

That’s all it takes!

If you want to, you can say why you appreciate it:

  • how it makes you feel to hear it (“I’m really pleased to hear that.”)
  • which of your personal values is being acknowledged (“Social justice is important to me.”)
  • if you don’t agree with the compliment, you can still appreciate the giver’s intent (“You’re so kind to say so!”)


0 thoughts on “Everybody likes presents, right?

  1. So often compliments are like those free tee shirts handed out at company meetings, only cheaper. Schwag becomes stroking, which is a core component of the McDonald’s management philosophy: hand out compliments like candy and you can make impressionable young employees feel extremely validated and content with their crappy jobs at no cost to the bottom line.

    Some of us have a deep-rooted skepticism as to whether compliments are sincere or not. All the same, the best course is to be gracious, say thank you, and consider whether the compliment rings true or not. If so, you know you have just received a sincere gift. If not, you know to be careful not to get a swell head.

    BTW, nice post, sir! Thought-provoking.


  2. Wow, Daniel. You are really cynical. Most people (maybe just women?) are raised to down play their own abilities and not to be boastful. Given that, they don’t normally know how to handle compliments.

    Yes, Benjy, “Thank you” is the appropriate response, but not one that is often given. Most of the time, it’s returned with more self deprecating crap. Thanks for the reminder to take care of ourselves and accept graciously.

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