Article by BR Miss E (tiquette)
Compliments are beautiful things, but they do have to be given correctly, because a badly given compliment can have you face-palming for hours, days, weeks - even years if you have to see the person on a regular basis and they’re good at holding a grudge…and ain’t nobody got time for that! So we’ve put together our five top tips for giving a compliment.
First … be specific. ‘You look nice today’ is all well and good, but you could say that to every second person and after a while it would stop sounding like you mean it. It’s best to find something you really like about the person you want to compliment, be it their hair, their eyes, that they have a beautiful smile and it lights up the room.
When you go to give the compliment be genuine. Look the person in their eyes when you tell them what you appreciate or like about them. Don’t run away the moment you’ve said it, give the compliment time to sink in and time for them to realise you mean what you say. Oh and if you don’t mean it, don’t say it. If you don’t believe the words coming out of your mouth, neither will they.
Follow the compliment up with a short and sweet explanation. The ability to explain what is it you like about something or someone without going into ‘backhander’ territory is a skill, but it’s one worth learning and practicing, as it adds a whole other element of truth to a compliment. For example, don’t just say ‘that’s a nice blouse’, take it one step further and say ‘that blouse is a great colour, it goes perfectly with your eyes.’ Don’t just say ‘I really appreciate you’ … not only because it sounds awkward but because it’s not telling a person anything, tell them what you appreciate them for, their cooking, their positivity, etc.
Don’t make it about you. Say ‘I love your eyeliner, that cat flick is perfect.’ Don’t follow it up with ‘I wish I could do that, I’m terrible at doing it.’ That makes it all about you, and that compliment isn’t about you, it’s all about them, so keep it that way.
Time it right. There are times that you’ll really want to compliment someone, like you’re in a meeting and you’ve just noticed the amazing bracelet the person you’re meeting with is wearing and you’re bursting to tell them. Stop. Hold onto that compliment. In the middle of a meeting is not the time or place to give a compliment, it can demean the purpose of you being there. However at the end of the meeting when you’re shaking hands and doing your farewells, then would be an appropriate time to throw in a ‘by the way, that’s a fabulous bracelet, those pops of turquoise are beautiful.’
Of course while you should never give a compliment in the hopes of being given one back, a person who gives a compliment does receive something in return – and that’s the divine side effect of happiness, because there’s nothing nicer than knowing you’ve made someone’s day.