There’s something to be said for learning to take a compliment, and a lot of us are really bad at it. When a friend, coworker, or boss praises us for a job well done, we’ll brush it off and say something like, “eh, it’s no big deal.” If you’re trying to improve your compliment-accepting skills, here’s how to respond instead.
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There are a number of reasons you might not be great at taking a compliment. Maybe you’re shy and it makes you feel uncomfortable. Maybe you don’t want to come across as boastful. Whatever the reason, there’s a good case to be made for learning to accept praise. For one, sometimes deflecting a compliment comes across as condescending. It makes the giver feel uncomfortable. Also, deflecting a compliment can diminish your value, as The Art of Manliness puts it. Politely accepting praise usually comes across as more professional than simply shrugging it off.
You probably know your default, go-to reply for rejecting a compliment. For many people, it’s “no big deal.” For me, it’s one of two reactions: 1) I say something negative about myself instead, or 2) I ignore the compliment altogether and instead praise the giver. Pinpoint your default reply, then replace it with something better.
For example, next time you’ve worked hard on a project, your boss compliments your ability to deliver under pressure, and you’re tempted to tell him or her, “it wasn’t a big deal,” consider the fact that you might be deflecting. Instead, try to replace this gut reaction with a simple “thank you.” And when someone thanks you, The Muse suggests embracing “you’re welcome” instead of shrugging off gratitude for hard work or even for a favour:
The funny thing is, “You’re welcome” is so easy, but also so overlooked. If you listen to yourself the next 10 times someone thanks you, I’d bet your response is more along the lines of “sure,” “no problem,” or “any time.”
So, practice saying, “you’re welcome” in daily life (e.g., after someone thanks you for holding the door open). Then, you’ll be able to say it much more readily when a co-worker thanks you for helping him out with a big project.
Both are obvious replies, and you might not be a fan of “you’re welcome” for simple favours — to each their own — the point here is: learning to take a compliment can be surprisingly beneficial. By replacing your go-to reply with a more accepting phrase, it’s an easy enough skill to learn.