How do you respond to a compliment?  Especially one about how you look?

I think we are naturally programmed, especially here in Australia, to deflect praise using self deprecating humour.  I know I do it.  I get it from my Nanna.  She passed it down to my Mum, and then on to me.  That witty little remark used to steer attention away from us and change the subject.  We have it down to a fine art.  It can be super funny when you are speaking voluntarily about yourself and don’t want to seem over confident, but when someone has gone out of their way to compliment you, it can be unwelcome and quite boring, especially if you do it repeatedly.

Of course, the other end of the spectrum is a bit of a turn off too.  Waffling on and on about how great you look when someone has given you the green light?  Yeah, not cool.

Compliments aren’t throwaway lines – unless you are the creepy dude at the bar or an awkward sales assistant.  They are more often than not, thoughtful and sincere observations to show appreciation for how rockin’ you look.  You know this, because hopefully you give them too.  Giving a genuine and honest compliment can often feel better than receiving one.  A bit like volunteering.  A bit.  But all these yummy feelings can only be experienced if the praise is positively accepted.

So where is the happy medium and how do we graciously take a compliment that makes both parties feel good?  It’s really quite simple and requires only two words.  Thank and You.

I once worked with an amazing woman named Lauren, who I am honoured to still call a friend.  Mature beyond her 20 years (at the time), with her inner and outer beauty in perfect harmony.  She would accept a compliment from you with grace and humility, that made you feel like you were the one being applauded.  Her simple thank yous were perfect – no sarcasm, no suspicion or negativity.  She would just sound sincerely flattered, not fishing for any further attention or discussion of her awesomeness.  Compliment accepted.  Smiles.  Moving on.  Thank you.

Most of the time I have to stop and consciously think, ‘WWLD?’, to prevent that default deflection that is so deeply ingrained in my DNA.  I secretly love a compliment (and alliteration it seems), who doesn’t?  It’s the reason we post photos of ourselves on social media.  It’s nice to be acknowledged when you are feeling your best.  So give a little something back to your admirer, and stop being a dick about it.  Or think about the best way to respond to Terry when he says ‘I love you, man’ in Wayne’s World, and just say ‘Thank you’.

LISTEN : FATBOY SLIM  Praise You