What Are Your Favorite Compliments To Get/Give?

A compliment from the heart is a lovely gift to give or receive. It connects us with other people in a warm way, it spreads joy and lifts our spirits better than a fresh cup of latte. While all kind words are welcome, some compliments are even more uplifting than others, and those are the ones that are:

  1. Honest: when you say something that’s true and authentic, like “You make me feel good whenever I see you.”
  2. Genuine and specific: like “That necklace captures the color of your eyes beautifully” or “I really like the way you handled that tough customer.” These resonate because we feel the sincerity of the compliment-giver.

Some of the compliments I’ll always treasure were like the above: “You hair makes you look like an angel,” “That song you just sang gave me goosebumps,” “You have courage to speak out with your beliefs, and I admire that,” and “I can always count on you to do what you say you’ll do.” These compliments warm me because I feel some personal truth as well as kindness. Other favorites are from people we love dearly. I still blush when I say to Sandy, “I’ve got to go get beautiful (to go out)” and he unfailingly replies “You’re already beautiful.” That may not be true, but he says it with feeling.

honest compliments

My hair does not often look angelic.

There’s some controversy going around the Internets about telling a woman she’s “pretty” or “beautiful”. (Sandy always gets a pass because he means it from the heart.) Many women have told me, or written, that they don’t care for being told they’re “pretty” because they want to be seen as so much more than their outer selves. Do you agree?
A much younger woman than I wrote it like this:

“Don’t tell me I’m beautiful. I mean, I’ll probably like it. I’ll probably like any compliment. But whether I’m beautiful or not, my beauty is not the core of my identity. It’d be like telling someone they’re “punctual”. Sure, it’s positive, but… is that really the best trait you could think of?”


compliments for women

From this site, a good read.


Here is how I try to offer compliments:

  1. Look someone in the eye and tell them how much they have helped you, or your family, or your cause.
  2. Tell someone “There’s something special about you” and then say what it is. “Your writing is so moving.” “You put an outfit together like a NYC Fashion Editor.” “I love talking with you; you’re so encouraging.”
  3. Make it specific to the moment: “That photo captures your vibrant personality.”
  4. With a little humor, the loving kind: ” My IQ goes up the minute you walk in the room.”


How do you prefer to receive and give compliments? xo

Stay fabulous,



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  1. All sincere compliments are appreciated, but I am not crazy about being called “Cute” by 20-somethings” when I am out with my older friends (as in, “Oh, aren’t you ladies cute!”) I know they mean well, but it feels patronizing. I like to give compliments to random people I meet because I know how hearing something positive about oneself can change your outlook on the day.

  2. All sincere compliments are welcome in my book and I don’t get too nitpicky about how they’re delivered or what the person chooses to compliment even if it’s just my looks, because I think people have different verbal abilities and social skills abilities so I try to be grateful and gracious and give people the benefit of the doubt. (I once had a man compliment my eyes by comparing me to his dog! The dog actually did have nice eyes and he was completely sincere, just inept. I still laugh about it but I don’t hold it against him.)

    But I care more about compliments for the things I do than for how I look because that’s more important to me personally. And also, I am a woman in a male dominated business and sometimes “compliments” about my looks are used to undermine me by putting the focus there instead of taking me seriously and giving me credit for the good work I do. It’s a very passive-aggressive thing that some men do so I get why there’s a debate about being called pretty and why not everyone appreciates it.

  3. I am willing to accept all compliments. My Mom is the most critical and when she gives a backhanded compliment, I just laugh. We have to consider the source and be kind to those we come in contact with. Thanks for this post!

  4. Suzanne said exactly what I planned to say — sincerity is the key. Patti, you give great compliments. You make me feel better than I really am!

  5. Sincere compliments are always welcome as far as I’m concerned. I find insincere compliments somewhat insulting. Almost like they couldn’t be bothered to be honest or notice you so they just say whatever comes to mind. I find that these types of compliments are rampant in the blogosphere.

    I probably do appreciate a compliment about my personality, character or work ethic more than a compliment on my outer appearance.

    Great topic Patti!


  6. I accept it in the spirit given, and try not to make it my responsibility to educate someone on how they might have complimented me more appropriately. I take ’em however I can get ’em…that being said, I’ve always made it a point to point out to my, now grown, children as they were growing up, their “higher quality” gifts, such as kindness, compassion, and emotional intelligence, etc. The fact that I make exceptionally beautiful people, inside and outside, doesn’t hurt. Just being honest. 🙂

    I like that most responders to this post seem to be, pretty much, on the same page.

  7. I had a coworker tell me that I must be the cool mom because I wear such cute clothes. It made me happy because I kind of am the cool mom and it’s nice to have it recognized. I almost fainted, though, when my boss told me how impressed she is with my work and how glad she is that I work there.
    I stopped trying to be pretty, though, and now just try to reflect how I feel inside – young and wild and totally rock and roll. My laugh lines just show that I’m happy.

  8. I’ve heard this before and as much as I can understand it, I also think that we can get too caught up in the actual words. Sometimes I probably say the wrong words, but if I truly love and mean the positive words, I don’t want to be condemned for them. Sometimes my brain just can’t come up with the “correct” things to say!!
    I wish for a time when we could have more grace in life. Someone says something nice to you—you take it in a postie way and don’t put more meaning in it. If they did have a hidden thought in the compliment—then that’s their issue!!
    Wow–I didn’t realize I had such a soapbox about this…..

  9. I think when someone takes the time to give a compliment and it is sincere, it is appreciated. If it is over the top, I at least get a good laugh (a positive laugh) because at the end of the day most people mean well. Beautiful, pretty and those kinds of sentiments can always include one’s inside beauty as well as actions. Kind people are always truley beautiful in my eyes. We need more of that kind of beauty in today’s world. Peace!

  10. One of the nicest was was when I was in charge of a project on a harried deadline. One of my coworkers said people liked to be on my team because I would make executive decisions to get the job done and I wouldn’t blame other people if the big bosses questioned those decisions the next day.
    Sometimes when I’ve been helped–in a shop, for example, I not only will thank the person who was so professional, but I also will look for the supervisor and tell them what a great job the person did.

  11. P.s. If someone wants to tell me I’m pretty, that’s fine. I don’t see it as insulting at all. But the best compliment of all is that my efforts/work/projects were excellent.

  12. The only way I can feel authentic when I give a compliment is if it is related to something the other person has said or done. It has to be an integral part of that circumstance or situation. I’m not an emotionally effusive person, not poetic, just down to earth….so my compliments are, too. I like that same type of compliment….”job well done!” The results of my work or efforts being complimented.

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