Not just nice, art of flattery an attractive skill
How did you feel last time someone told you that you did a good job on a project or have pretty eyes? Compliments make people happy, and knowing how to use them is a valuable skill.
“Compliments can make someone feel good all day,” said Carol Thompson, professor in the Department of Speech Communication. “Giving someone a compliment increases the positive atmosphere around you.”
Complimenting someone shows that you are generous and expressive – traits that people find personally and professionally attractive, she said.
“The best compliments are sincere, heartfelt and real,” she said.
Tangible, specific compliments about a person’s accomplishments are the most meaningful, she said. She added that compliments should be immediate, although a retroactive compliment is better than nothing.
Avoid backhanded compliments intended to make someone feel bad, she said. Also, do not grasp for empty compliments, she said; find something you genuinely like about the person.
“There is something about every human being worthy of being complimented,” Thompson said.
You can become better at giving compliments with practice. If you are shy, compliment people you feel safe around, she said. It also helps to start with small, simple compliments, like praising an article of clothing, before working up to more personal compliments, she said.
When you receive a compliment, accept it and thank the person who gave it to you. Discrediting someone’s praise belittles their intent, which was to make you feel good, she said.
Humility is very important; accept compliments in a humble way and acknowledge people for giving them to you, she said. How you give and receive compliments demonstrates your self-confidence and manners.
“Respond to all human beings with graciousness,” Thompson said. “That’s something that you learn with compliments, and that will help you at work, in relationships and in daily life.”