How to Accept a Compliment With Class

Your gender and age won’t matter when it comes to receiving compliments. The key is being confident in yourself before you accept a compliment, because once the other person says something about your character, that’s all she wrote for you.

“How to accept a compliment with class” is a phrase that was coined by the author of “The Art of Complimenting.” The author believes that it’s important to accept compliments in a humble manner. Read more in detail here: how to accept a compliment humbly.

Vintage businessmen talking giving compliment.

When you give someone a present, they quickly pull the wrapping paper off and remove the box lid. Their grin suddenly fades as they take up and study the gift wrapped inside. “You know, I’m not sure this watch is good for me.” You may have it back here.”

Ouch. Such conduct is so unusual that you may have never seen it or done it yourself (thank goodness). However, when it comes to taking another kind of “gift,” praises, the majority of us do something quite similar on a daily basis.

Despite the fact that we should all be giving more praises, many of us find it difficult to do so. Accepting praises politely, on the other hand, might be difficult. We’re excited to obtain them and overjoyed when we do, but we completely mishandle their delivery. Rather of embracing praises with joy and gratitude, we hunt for ways to minimize, reject, and dismiss their importance and worth.

It’s simple to figure out how to effectively accept a praise (even if changing an ingrained behavior takes some practice). Simply learn 1) how you ignore praises, 2) why you find it difficult to take them bluntly, and 3) why and how you may politely recognize and accept others’ appreciation.

Compliments Are Dismissed in 10 Ways

Complement reactions are divided into three kinds by sociolinguists: Accept, Deflect, and Reject. Most individuals are uncomfortable with either extreme of these categories; open denial looks harsh, while complete acceptance seems pompous. As a result, most individuals choose for what seems to be a safe middle ground, deflecting the complement with a diverting remark that dilutes and mitigates the compliment. Compliments are seen as hot potatoes that must be heaped on as soon as they arrive in their hands.

Randy Paterson discusses some of the numerous ways we reject and deflect praise in The Assertiveness Workbook, to which we’ve added a few we’ve noticed ourselves:

1. Ignore

The commended person ignores it, either because he didn’t hear it or because he doesn’t realize he’s being complimented.

“You played insanely well today – you were all over the court,” says a compliment.

“Yeah, I’m terribly thirsty,” says the respondent. On the way home, let’s stop for some Gatorade.”

2. Denial

The praise is flatly denied by the receiver.

“You guys sounded really amazing tonight,” says a compliment.

“That’s correct,” says the respondent. We sounded like complete jerks.” 

3. Making a case

The person who has been complimented argues that he does not deserve the praise.

“You brought up a pretty insightful thought in class,” someone says.

“Not really,” says the respondent. Anyone reading the earlier instances would have reached the same conclusion.”

4. Self-Condemnation

By making self-deprecating comments, the recipient downplays the compliment.

“That’s a pretty snazzy hat,” someone says.

“Well, I need something to distract people from my hideous mug!” says the respondent.

5. Interrogation

The recipient challenges the praise giver’s judgment, taste, and so on.

“Your photography is without a doubt the greatest display here,” says a compliment.

“Are you kidding?” I ask. “I’m guessing you haven’t seen many art exhibits in your life.”

6. Strictness

The receiver condenses a larger praise into a more manageable one.


“You’re looking pretty gorgeous tonight,” someone says.

“This tie can make any suit seem fantastic,” said the respondent.

Boomerang #7

The recipient of a compliment returns the compliment.

“That is one sweet’stache!” said the complimenter.

“Wow, that’s one macho beard you’ve got there!” says the respondent.

8. Confirmation

The recipient finds it difficult to accept the praise and wants confirmation.

“Your speech was really persuasive,” says the complimenter.

“Do you truly believe that?” says the respondent. I felt as though I was stumbling around out there.”

De-Value is a term used to describe the process of reducing the value

The receiver implies that the praised item isn’t quite as good as the complimenter claims.

“That’s a pretty nice sweater,” someone says.

“It’s so ancient,” says the respondent. It’s been with me since high school.”

Credit Transfer No. 10

The praise is passed on to others by the receiver.

“I believe it was the finest dance we’ve ever had,” says the complimenter.

“It was actually Jill who did all the effort and made it happen,” says the respondent.

Why Do We Refuse Compliments?

Paterson cites the following reasons for why individuals find it difficult to completely accept a praise, to which we’ve added a few more that we believe are worth mentioning:

Fear of being labeled arrogant. This is by far the most typical cause for a praise being returned. They are concerned that by agreeing with someone else’s praise of them, they would be smugly applauding themselves.

The need to reestablish “balance.” Because receiving a compliment is a good act, you may feel compelled to counteract it by either deflecting the praise or promptly returning the compliment.

The desire to stay out of “debt.” This is the fear that if someone does something pleasant for you, such as giving you a praise, you will “owe” them something nice in return and so be in some way obliged to them.

Having a poor sense of self-worth. When someone says something positive about you that you don’t believe, your first instinct will be to refute or dismiss it. You can’t reconcile the complimenter’s great impression of you with your own negative one, so you try to discover flaws in their evaluation, such as that they overlooked your shortcomings or that they lack sound judgment.

Inability to assert oneself. Accepting compliments might be difficult for those who struggle with assertiveness. They struggle to claim their great attributes and believe that recognizing praise isn’t something a “nice person” would do.

Motives are being suspected. If you suspect that someone is only attempting to flatter and butter you up for whatever reason, you may reject their praises. This skepticism might be justified, or it could stem from a cynical mindset and a lack of trust.

Desire to improve one’s appearance. False modesty is occasionally used by people to attempt to make themselves appear even better. When Bob praises Jake on his excellent presentation, Jake responds, “Oh, it was just something I threw together,” despite the fact that he spent many hours preparing it. “Wow, if he simply put that together,” Bob thinks now, “imagine what he could achieve if he spent a lot of time on anything!” Someone could, on the other hand, try to add modesty to the list of virtues they’ve been commended on. “I truly appreciate how detailed you prepared this report,” Mike says Andy. “It was nothing,” Andy says in response. “I’m just going about my business.” Andy may want Mike to believe, “Not only is he a hard worker, but he’s also very modest!”


Why Should You Accept Compliments Graciously and Completely?

According to sociolinguists, Americans reply to praises two-thirds of the time with a diverting remark. While this kind of reaction is common, it is neither intelligent nor courteous. You should surely endeavor to break the mold of the mainstream in this area. This is why:

The provider is insulted by denial and evasion. When someone pays you a compliment, it means they’ve noticed and evaluated something positive about you. You’re essentially contradicting them if you deflect or refute their praise; you’re saying they don’t have excellent judgment, discernment, or taste, or that they’re lying – that they don’t know what they’re talking about. You’re insulting them in exchange for their kindness.

The provider is made uncomfortable by denial and evasion. We just shift our pain on the giver when we ignore a praise because it makes us uncomfortable. Not only do you offend them, but rejecting a praise may make the giver feel “awkward, uncomfortable, dumb, or irritated,” as Paterson puts it. What’s the next step for them? They’re now saddled with the arduous job of reassuring people of their genuineness… “I don’t think so…,” she says.

Instead of flinging it back like a hot potato, be a man and taste the agony yourself.

Denial and deflection make it less likely that someone will complement you again. When you consistently dismiss people’s praises, they will soon stop bothering to give them.

Your worth is diminished by denial and evasion. A complement indicates that someone thinks highly of you. When you ignore compliments, you’re either implying that you lack the traits they believed you have, or that you’re so insecure that you can’t even notice and/or accept that you do. In any case, it lowers your perceived worth in their eyes. This makes you undesirable to women who like a confident guy. It’s also not appealing to your boss. Why should your supervisor give you a raise or even keep you around if you’re continuously telling him or her that so-and-so deserves all the credit for a project’s success?

You miss out on the pleasant sensation that comes with receiving a compliment. Receiving a praise might make you feel fantastic. When you deflect and discount a praise instead of absorbing it, you also deflect the beneficial boost to your self-esteem that it might have provided.

Compliments that come back to you aren’t always genuine. It may seem courteous to constantly answer to a compliment with one of your own, but it isn’t. A boomerang complement indicates that you were too preoccupied with constructing your own compliment to listen to and absorb someone else’s compliments. People don’t take it seriously because they know it’s a knee-jerk reaction aimed to alleviate your own distress, that it’s more about you than it is about them. It’s much preferable to deliver your own complement at a later, more opportune moment, so that it comes off as genuine and not forced. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule (see below).


Accepting a Compliment: A Guide

Realizing that truly receiving praises does not make you egotistical is the first step toward breaking the compliment deflection habit. You didn’t come up with the compliment; it was given to you by someone else! You’re only validating another person’s opinion, and it’s always more courteous to accept and respect someone’s opinion than than to disagree with it.

Second, it’s OK to be pleased with oneself for a job well done. A healthy dose of pride does not need an exaggerated sense of your achievements or desirable characteristics; rather, it requires an honest appraisal of what you accomplished. It is possible to be humble while being appreciative and cordial at the same time.

So, how do you respond to a compliment? Prepare yourselves… “I appreciate it.” That is all there is to it. There is never a time when a basic, uncomplicated thank you will not enough.

However, it’s occasionally more comfortable and acceptable to add a follow-up or an amplification to your “thank you,” demonstrating how much the praise meant to you.

Follow-ups to “Thank you” that are appropriate:

  • “I had a great time.” “I’m delighted that all worked out.” If leaving it at “thank you” makes you uncomfortable, attempt a neutral follow-up phrase.
  • “It wouldn’t have been possible without Jason’s assistance.” Faux modesty is when you provide a knee-jerk answer in which you reject all credit to yourself and give it to others. However, after taking credit for your own part, it’s customary to acknowledge other individuals who deserve credit for the things you’re being recognized for.
  • “I’m glad I was able to assist.” This is a nice alternative to the deflection “I’m just doing my job.” Maybe you were simply performing your job, but don’t dismiss or dismiss someone’s wish to express gratitude to you. Instead, say “thank you” and express your gratitude for the opportunity to help.
  • “You know, you performed very well tonight as well; wonderful work!” When it’s genuine praise you’d have offered anyhow, and particularly when you won’t see the individual again, the boomerang complement might be acceptable (this is often the case in competition situations). Just make sure you deliver your complement after you’ve taken the one you’ve been offered completely.

If a compliment is especially touching or meaningful to you, there’s nothing wrong with amplifying it by telling the giver what the praise means to you, how it makes you feel, or why you cherish it:

  • “That means a lot to me.”
  • “Thank you very much for seeing that.” No one has ever done it before.”
  • “I was pretty depressed, and this has given me the boost I needed to keep going.”

Now go on and shower people with praises, and accept and recognize the ones that come your way with grace!



The “how to accept a compliment text” is an article that provides tips for how to accept a compliment with class.

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