Three simple secrets for the perfect compliment
1. BE TRUTHFUL AND GENUINE
Sincerity is the backbone of a good compliment. If you don’t truly mean what you say, your attempt to deliver a compliment will come across as phony or even sarcastic. For example, if your mother-in-law is knitting a scarf that is absolutely hideous, focus on her skill and dedication to the task rather than the scarf itself by saying, “I really admire how much time and effort you’ve put into that scarf. A lot of love is going into making it truly special.”
2. BE SPECIFIC
This is especially important with children because it lets them know EXACTLY what we appreciate and value. In being specific with your compliments, focus on characterological traits such as inner strength, courage, and thoughtfulness. So instead of saying to your son, “Great job on that English project,” say, “I’m really impressed by your decision to deliver a speech for your English project. That clearly took a lot of courage!”
3. A COMPLIMENT SHOULD STAND ALONE
Avoid the “back-handed” compliment, which essentially isn’t a compliment at all, but an indirect way of letting a person know what he or she did incorrectly. If you say to your spouse “You’re an amazing cook. Dinner was delicious but you didn’t do the dishes,” the “but” and statement about the dishes totally discounts your compliment! So avoid pairing your compliment with a “disclaimer.” Additionally, don’t compliment someone and then ask for a favor, as your level of sincerity will quickly diminish. For full effect, compliment should be given with nothing expected in return.
What’s the most memorable compliment you’ve received?