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The Magnificence of the Genuine Compliment

Updated on June 3, 2016
An awesome compliment.
An awesome compliment. | Source

Words can heal, inspire, motivate and encourage. Everyone has the need to feel valued and the best way to show someone your appreciation is to offer them an honest compliment. According to Carl Jung, "Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it." In other words, appreciation is of no use unless it is expressed---out loud or even through the written word. Indeed, the compliment is a magnificent and necessary tool for incredible good. Well chosen words of gratitude have the power to heal and to make others feel valued as individuals.

Genuine compliments can literally nourish a life. For example, when a young child grows up in a home where kind remarks are generously given for all the proper reasons, there is no end to the good those life-giving words can accomplish for a young person growing into adulthood. On the reverse side, if a child grows up in a home where kind words are rarely spoken and where harsh words are the norm, that child will suffer greatly, and may never fully realize his or her worth, nor will they be able to receive praise graciously as adults, never having experienced positive feedback throughout their formative years.

Words every child loves to hear.
Words every child loves to hear.

The same principle, of extending gracious compliments, is valuable in every type of relationship, particularly in marriages or partnerships. If neither spouse compliments the other, you can pretty much bet that theirs is a miserable union. In fact, such a marriage may well be headed toward the divorce court unless both parties learn to stop finding fault with one another. Let's face it, there is nothing worse than being in a marriage where one feels unappreciated.

(Sigh) "If only I'd get some appreciation."
(Sigh) "If only I'd get some appreciation."

Compliments In Business

Even in business, if a supervisor never expresses approval for an employee's performance, you can bet that employee will feel unhappy, disgruntled, and much less enthusiastic about putting their best effort into their work. According to Professor Norihiro Sadato, of the National Institute for Physiological Sciences in Japan, ”To the brain, receiving a compliment is as much a social reward as being rewarded money." (Forbes Magazine)

A smart company will train their managers to give out accolades to deserving employees, rather than just "cracking the whip." Furthermore, those same companies have happier, more motivated and much more productive employees. This, in turn, creates a more "soulful" company.

"People who feel appreciated and respected are more motivated than those who think their efforts go unnoticed. They're more engaged in the work they do, and they're more committed to their teams and organizations, because they know that they're making a real difference."

mindtools.com

Frankly, there is just no end to the value of giving good compliments. But how exactly can we make our compliments good? The first rule of thumb is to be genuine. The second rule is to never "lay it on too thick." If your compliments are phony, the receiver will sense it; your flattery will fall flat and might even cause the recipient to avoid you---which obviously defeats the purpose of saying something "nice." So the next time your employee turns in a thorough report, don't waste an opportunity to say something complimentary, such as: "“Thanks for the detailed attention you gave to completing that report. You covered all the bases really well.”

Awesome Quotes

"Pleasant words are as a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and health to the bones." -The Bible

"Don't tell a woman she's pretty; tell her there's no other woman like her, and all roads will open to you." - Jules Reynard, French Writer

"When a man spends his time giving his wife criticism and advice instead of compliments, he forgets that it was not his good judgment, but his charming manners that won her heart." - Helen Rowland

Six Suggestions For Giving Genuine Compliments

#1 Mean what you say. For example, If you're a man at a party who has a habit of complimenting every woman within arms distance, your compliments will not be well received. Women will be on to you in no time flat. However, if you compliment just a few women and also keep your words simple by saying, "I really like your earrings," or some such light comment, then your compliment will carry much more weight. Long story short, never be a fake. Most people sense when flattery is insincere. (This should go without saying, but it bears reminding.)

#2 Keep it short and sweet. Resist going on and on endlessly. You never want to end up embarrassing yourself and the person you tried to compliment. For example, if you really like a man's tie, then say, "That's a really nice tie," instead of also adding something like, "I'll bet you got it at Macy's. I saw the same one and I would love it if my husband would wear a tie like that, but of course he never will, but you do---and that's so great. I almost bought that same tie for him, but what's the point?" See what I mean? Your endless monologue takes away from the original compliment, thus leaving the recipient a little dazed and confused.....and not in a good way.

#3 Remember the personal touch. In other words, admire something specific about the individual. For example, to your friend who is a also young mother, say: "I really admire your parenting style. I can see how happy your children are." In this instance, you are sharing your sincere admiration for your friend's parenting skills. In fact, mom's of any age are always thrilled to hear they're doing something right and not messing things up where their children are concerned.

#4 Timing is everything. You needn't wait too long to say something nice to anyone you admire in some way. If you think something positive, say it. On the other hand, if you want to compliment the cashier at the supermarket, by all means, please wait until she has completed the transaction. Then you can say, "You're always so efficient and polite. Thank you." To be sure, she'll appreciate hearing some kind words---especially after a long day of standing on her feet. And by the way, if someone gives you a gift or has hosted a brunch for you, please do not wait too long to send a thoughtful note of thanks. No one should ever be too busy to take 15 minutes out of their lives to write a short but thoughtful note to someone who went to a lot of time and expense on your behalf. A little graciousness goes a long way.

#5 Expect nothing in return. Needless to say, your compliment will lack authenticity if you expect one in return. The rule of thumb is to give a compliment, and move on. Rest assured, your sweet words will linger in the mind of the person you complimented. Your thoughtfulness will bring a little more spring into their step, not to mention, some sweet balm to their souls. After all, who doesn't need more kindness in their lives? There is a lot to be said for sprinkling some healing around--here and there.

Good advice.
Good advice.

#6 Not only should we give praise with graciousness, we must also receive praise well. The last thing you want to do is throw a compliment back in someone's face. For example, if someone says, "You look really pretty," all you have to say is, "Thank you." Yep. That's it. A simple, kind, gracious, "Thank you for saying so" is the perfect response. The wrong thing to say is, "Well, I'm getting older, but I try to keep up my appearance, although it's not easy." or worse yet, "Are you kidding me? I look horrible." Sometimes you have to trust that you really do look better than you think you do and that the compliment was sincere.

Having said that, I truly understand what it feels like to be reluctant to accept or believe a compliment. When I was growing up, neither of my parents gave me or my brother much praise. (I know; it sounds pathetic.) Truth is, I think that "back in the day" parents didn't do much of that kind of thing. Kids were basically seen and not heard, nor necessarily congratulated for small triumphs and achievements. For sure, we didn't get a trophy every time we showed up for a ball game. (Either that, or I got conned big time! Ha!). So anyway, to this day, I have to stop myself from saying something really dumb, like... "Well, I got a late start due to a phone call and I didn't have enough time to fix my hair, so I'm kind of embarrassed." No. STOP! This is all wrong. The only thing we need to say is, "What a nice compliment, thank you so much."

"A compliment is a gift, not to be thrown away carelessly, unless you want to hurt the giver." - Eleanor Hamilton

Marital bliss.
Marital bliss.

Compliments in Marriages

At no other time are lovely words more fun to give and receive than when you are dating, and especially when you're actually married to the love of your life. If you want to keep the home fires burning brightly for the long haul, then all couples must absolutely pay each other compliments. In fact, any woman who doesn't thank her husband for going to work every day, or taking out the garbage or helping with dishes and dinner, or scraping the snow off the car every single winter is (I'm sorry to say) a fool.

The best way to get your beloved husband to do more good things is to let him know how much you appreciate the wonderful things he is doing right now. Ladies, never take your sweet man for granted because if you do, you're missing out on a whole lot of loving and true marital bliss. And if you nag instead of brag, he might just start longing for a woman who gives him a whole lot more appreciation than you do, if you catch my drift. It's so much easier to give a compliment and avoid all that foolishness and heartbreak and your marriage will be healthier for the extra effort at thoughtfulness.

Compliments From eHarmony:

"Man magnets understand the power of a compliment, and are not afraid to tell a man how much they like his shirt, how the color of his eyes really stands out, or that his haircut makes him look “handsome.” How does this makes men feel? Attractive, desired and manly.

The same rules apply for men complimenting women.

"Basically, instead of being over the top with flashy gifts, expensive dinners, and obvious compliments, true thoughtfulness is telling her that you were thinking of her today when she wasn’t around." Now that's excellent advice.

Speaking from personal experience, just hearing the simple words, "You are beautiful" always brings an instant smile to my face. Even sexier is, "You are a very desirable woman." Now that's a winner! The only warning I would add is that very beautiful women are used to being called "beautiful." They've heard it all their lives. It's not their fault. So now and again, it is also nice to dispense some killer compliments like the one's I've listed below, but only if you really mean them.

Compliments Women Love

  • "You're one of the smartest women I know"
  • "You can throw a fast ball with the best of them."
  • "Nice arm!" (For the softball player in your life.)
  • "I always feel comfortable talking to you."
  • You make me feel like I can do anything I put my mind to, especially now that you have honored me by having me as your husband."
  • "I can't imagine not having you in my life."
  • "I love waking up beside you."

How often do you give compliments?

See results

Now that you know what comprises a good compliment, there's no time like the present to take some meaningful action if you haven't already begun. Who in your life is sorely in need of some kindness? Go to them and compliment them. When I think of all the times I have failed to be generous with a few kind words, all I can do is hang my head in shame and admit that I was a selfish woman. But that was then, and this is now. And now I know better than I did before... and so do you. So the sooner we begin spreading the magnificent power of the genuine compliment, the better off everyone will be.

Compliments have a domino effect for good. Truly. And you never know---perhaps your knack for saying just the right thing at just the right time might inspire others to do the same. Just remember: A few well chosen words of gratitude are not just for a select few; rather, they are for anyone who deserves to be recognized for any good reason. Make it your mission is to keep your compliments personal and genuine. The world will be a better place for it.

As Abraham Lincoln once said, "Everybody likes a compliment."

Sincerely,

-Savvy

References: The Art of the Compliment, by Christie Matheson

Comments

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    • LongTimeMother profile image

      LongTimeMother 3 years ago from Australia

      Even the poorest person can give the greatest gift with a genuine compliment. Awesome hub. :)

    • savvydating profile image
      Author

      savvydating 3 years ago

      So true, LongTimeMother. A compliment is one of the most valuable gifts we can give; it doesn't cost a thing, yet it is worth a lot. Thanks for using the word awesome about my hub. I love it!

    • moonfroth profile image

      Clark Cook 3 years ago from Rural BC (Canada) & N of Puerto Vallarta (Mexico)

      We all respond to THE POSITIVE. Employers who comment FIRST on the one little problem in an otherwise excellent bit of work, then get to the praise, entirely miss the point. The employee is still smarting from the minor criticism and barely even hears the praise. If the criticism is at the end, and in the form of a QUESTION ...."oh, by the way, why are the red widgets under the table?".....then the employee (or spouse) "discovers" the problem and criticizes him- or herself. They then truly OWN the problem and will be much more eager to remedy it than if a heavy hand is laid on them right off.

    • savvydating profile image
      Author

      savvydating 3 years ago

      Hi Moonfroth. Absolutely. Employers who criticize first are not going to get the production and dedication from an employee that they would otherwise get. Criticism first, always defeats the purpose. You are so right - if we mention something that needs adjusting at the end, then we've got an even more responsible employee in the team. The same principle applies in any relationship. Frankly, this criticism thing is something I have to watch. Thankfully, I have more awareness now, after having read the book I mentioned in the hub.

    • rose-the planner profile image

      rose-the planner 3 years ago from Toronto, Ontario-Canada

      I enjoyed this article so much! It made me think of a few people that I know that will never give a compliment. They always expect one but they never give one. I just don't get it, it is almost as if they literally cannot say the words. You brought up some excellent points especially the one about the importance of couples exchanging compliments. I couldn't agree with you more. I think when couples don't have anything nice to say to each other, then there is a problem. I also agree that compliments must be genuine. There is nothing more annoying than when someone pays you a never ending, insincere compliment. This was excellent! Thank you for sharing. (Voted Up) -Rose

    • savvydating profile image
      Author

      savvydating 3 years ago

      Hi Rose, I know what you mean about some people never giving compliments. It's strange. I know one person who absorbs compliments like a sponge, but who is more apt to criticize than to say a few kind words. I even went to far as to tell them that they would do well to say some nice words now and again. As you can guess, "it went in one ear and out the other."

      I am glad you liked my little piece. I thought it was important to remind people to say a few genuine words now and then. Genuine compliments have a domino effect (as can words which are cruel). So in that sense, they are actually quite powerful.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      You are so right and you have such interesting hubs I am so glad to have stopped by read a few will do so again. Most interesting and useful hubs.

    • savvydating profile image
      Author

      savvydating 3 years ago

      Hello DDE,

      You are always welcome to drop by anytime, and I will make a point at visiting your site as well. Please know that I appreciate your generous compliments. You're a living doll!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Compliments take so little effort but they can mean so much...especially if you actually mean them rather than just going through the motions. Great points here my friend.

    • savvydating profile image
      Author

      savvydating 3 years ago

      Thank you for stopping by, billybuc. Indeed, a compliment is anything but a compliment, if the giver is insincere. By the way, I like your Wordpress site; you've officially got a new follower over there. Your idea of providing quotes and pictures to inspire is simply wonderful!

      Truly, Savvy

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      I particularly like this because you incorporate awesome advice and quotes from such diverse souls as Carl Jung and Abe Lincoln. So well done. Voted up +++ and sharing, pinning.

    • VVanNess profile image

      Victoria Van Ness 3 years ago from Prescott Valley

      What a great article! I love the great points you make. :)

    • savvydating profile image
      Author

      savvydating 3 years ago

      Hi FlourishAnyway. Thank you so much for sharing. I have to say, I've always loved a good quote. I appreciate your coming by, along with your wonderful compliment!

    • savvydating profile image
      Author

      savvydating 3 years ago

      Hi there VVanNess. It makes me happy when other hubbers can glean something useful from my articles. I'm so pleased you enjoyed my points!

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 3 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Awesome hub! Compliments are free and considerate. They could make some one smile. Great tips to remind others how important a simple compliment is.

    • savvydating profile image
      Author

      savvydating 3 years ago

      For sure, Sunshine625. I'm with Mark Twain on this one. I can live quite awhile on a good compliment. A bit of choice praise, now and again, makes all the difference. You're so right. Complimentst brings smiles, and that's a very good thing!

    • glassvisage profile image

      glassvisage 3 years ago from Northern California

      I believe a lot in the personal touch. I work at a front desk and it means so much to people that I even remember their name, let alone something specific about them. And of course, that takes listening, and for me that means I genuinely care enough to listen. So it all comes back to being genuine in my book, and besides, I'm a bad liar, so I always say that if you don't mean it, don't bother saying it!

    • savvydating profile image
      Author

      savvydating 3 years ago

      Hi glassvisage,

      So true! I can totally relate. I'm a horrible liar too, so somewhere along the way, I learned how to listen. It means so much to people, doesn't it? I truly appreciate your comment! Also, please know that I am without computer service for a time--thus, the delay in getting back to you.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      I'm back to share this fabulous, positive hub.

    • ezzly profile image

      ezzly 2 years ago

      Totally agree , I think a genuine compliment is just lovely ! My auntysed to compliment people just to get compliments back but you know when it's real or fake !

    • savvydating profile image
      Author

      savvydating 2 years ago

      That's cute. Sounds like your auntie was fun-loving. Generally, the best policy is not to expect anything back, but it sure is a bonus when we get a sincere compliment in return. Thanks for visiting ezzly. I appreciate it.

    • savvydating profile image
      Author

      savvydating 2 years ago

      Flourish anyway, you really are a very generous person. Thank you so much for sharing again. Yay! As always, I continue to look forward to reading more of your wonderful work.

    • creativelycc profile image

      Carrie L. Cronkite 2 years ago from Maine

      Very nice reminders on the importance of being gracious and giving honest compliments. The world is a much better place when we continuously tell others how valuable they are.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 2 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      My favorite thing to do is giving sincere compliments. Very good hub, especially the 6 suggestions for giving a compliment.

      I wrote a hub on this same subject. I will place a link to this hub. It is perfect! Up and more, sharing and pinning.

      Audrey

    • savvydating profile image
      Author

      savvydating 2 years ago

      Amen, sister. Graciousness rocks! Seriously, taking the time to let someone know they are valued is one of the best things we can do in this life. Thank you for your lovely comment,creativelycc. I'll be over for a visit in the near future. :)

    • savvydating profile image
      Author

      savvydating 2 years ago

      Thank you Audrey. I look forward to reading your hub on this important topic. Please know I very much appreciate your sharing. That's so kind of you.

    • velzipmur profile image

      Shelly Wyatt 2 years ago from Maryland

      A genuine compliment can make someone's day. I love to motivate people and make them feel good about themselves, so I try to give out genuine compliments whenever they are earned. Great hub, voted up

    • savvydating profile image
      Author

      savvydating 2 years ago

      Hi velzipmur. Sadly, too many people do not take the time to give a genuine compliment, but tend to be critical instead. But you're so right-- about how a genuine compliment is a great motivator. Good leaders know that it's all about keeping up morale. Thank you for the vote up, for visiting my site, and for the simple fact that you like to make people feel good about themselves. That's a wonderful gift.

    • bluebird profile image

      bluebird 2 years ago

      I like positive hubs like this that are helpful to the reader. Thanks for a great read and the helpful information. It's appreciated. In my book this should be given Hub of the Day!

    • savvydating profile image
      Author

      savvydating 2 years ago

      What a sweet thing to say. Now I'm going to get a "big head." (Kidding) I'm truly delighted that you found the hub "positive" and "helpful." That makes me feel great. Thank you for the kind compliment, bluebird. I'll be sure to visit you, too.

    • brakel2 profile image

      Audrey Selig 2 years ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

      What a wonderful hub and full of tips to help with compliments. I have a habit of sometimes denying the compliment, because of ridiculous things. Now, I just try to say thank you and smile and be gracious. I wear a hat that gets lots of compliments, and I know they are sincere and appreciated. One time someone complimented a sweater, and I said I hate the color and wish it was a brighter color. I do appreciate your reminder about accepting compliments.and I do compliment others often. Pinning, Blessings, Audrey

    • savvydating profile image
      Author

      savvydating 2 years ago

      What a delightful comment, brake12. I too still have to catch myself when I receive a compliment and then immediately feel compelled to deny it. When you think about it, that's likely discouraging for the sender. Anyway, my point is that I relate to what your saying. Thank you for pinning. That's very "complimentary" of you and I appreciate it so much! ;)

    • Chelsey Wall profile image

      Chelsey 2 years ago from Ottawa, Ontario

      I love genuine compliments, and I find they are easy to come by when you have a positive outlook on life in general and if you also find it easy to find the good in something. I have always been good at finding something I like about someone/something without trying.

    • savvydating profile image
      Author

      savvydating 2 years ago

      Hi Chelsey....I could have sworn I wrote a reply to your comment. Maybe I didn't press Send. Anyway, I admire people who always try to find something good in others. Even if it's hidden somewhere, the good usually exisists. Thank you for visiting (3 weeks ago). Lol.

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 2 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      Everyone has something that can be complimented, and by complimenting that, you reinforce the thing being complimented. Honest compliments are to the personality, what fertilizer is to a plant; both can result in growth.

    • savvydating profile image
      Author

      savvydating 2 years ago

      Nicely said. Your second sentence should be a famous quote. That brings to mind the role of parents---to compliment their children honestly, in order to inspire and enable them to flourish, while at the same time, reminding them of humility, which you so nicely stated in your article about George Washington's mother. Thank you for commenting, Perspycacious. It's always a pleasure to hear from you!

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 2 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      I came back to re-read and share this excellent hub. Thanks again and Happy New Year!

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 2 years ago from Planet Earth

      I love it when compliments carry details with them - anyone can say, "That was a great piano performance," but a well-phrased compliment will tell the pianist what emotions it evoked and how it touched them.

    • savvydating profile image
      Author

      savvydating 2 years ago

      Amen to that, Marcy. It's all in those extra little details, whether we're talking compliments, architecture, wedding planning or just about anything else. Thanks for leaving such a sage comment. Hope you're enjoying your weekend, and Happy New Year to you!

    • savvydating profile image
      Author

      savvydating 2 years ago

      How lovely of you to re-visit this hub. Feel free to drop by anytime, vocalcoach . I'll head over to your part of the woods sometime tomorrow. :)

    • cabmgmnt profile image

      Corey 2 years ago from Northfield, MA

      I would never have thought to write a hub on this subject, so I am glad that you did! Thanks! I also, never took compliments well until I read somewhere just to accept them and graciously say "Thank you!" I do this now and remember to "pay it forward". This tactic has really helped to build my relationships both personal and in business.

    • savvydating profile image
      Author

      savvydating 2 years ago

      Hi cabmgmnt. I relate to what you're saying. I've had a habit of deflecting compliments. It is something I have to be "vigilant" about. Funny thing....I learned how attractive it is to accept compliments graciously, through my observation of professionally trained dancers, who are used to receiving compliments and who seem to have no difficulty in simply smiling and saying, "Thank you." I appreciate that you have shared your personal story here, about how you have built stronger relationships through practising better tactics. Yay!!

    • Quilligrapher profile image

      Quilligrapher 2 years ago from New York

      Bravo! This is a fine hub filled with useful hints. We all can use these tips in our relationships. Your content is both enjoyable and rewarding. Thank you.

      Q.

    • savvydating profile image
      Author

      savvydating 2 years ago

      Thank you for your kind words, Q. Indeed, a little kindness, in the form of a compliment, goes a long way.

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