The Best Way To Pay Someone a Compliment

Many say that flattery will get you nowhere while others believe paying compliments is an art form. The truth is, paying compliments has never been as important as it is today. While many people are focused on or wrapped up in what they are doing, they tend to ignore or take the time to recognise other people. Compliments are unexpected, which is what makes them so great!

If a compliment is given at the right moment, it can create an overwhelmingly positive atmosphere. A good compliment can break the ice when you’re meeting a new person or reconciling with someone. If you’re feeling a little cranky or are stuck in a bad mood, a good compliment can ease your anger. Giving and receiving compliments is a wonderful feeling. It means that someone is taking notice of you or you are taking notice of those around you. It doesn’t matter if it’s a professional compliment or a friendly compliment; everybody likes receiving them.

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Why Compliments Are Important

Imagine yourself in a business or office setting. Say you’re the boss of a company. Being a boss is sometimes a thankless job. You work hard and bust your ass but you don’t get much recognition. But it doesn’t mean that you need to work just to be noticed, you work because you have a job to do and people are relying on you. Even so, a pat on the back is a good way of showing confidence to someone. Most bosses are self-conscious about their leadership skills, their ability to delegate tasks to people and are conscious of their ability to motivate others. Although many top managers and bosses hardly get it, they crave positive feedback. They can’t show that they want it because they may lose some respect. If you’re in a professional environment, the best compliment that you can get is from your peers – or even a competitor – saying that you’ve done a fine job.

Recognising someone’s achievements, skills or (outside of the business setting) features will make you seem selfless and will be appreciated. If those around you find you to be honest and selfless, people will also return the same thing. You reap what you sow.

The Right Mindset

Before giving any compliments, it’s important to have the right mindset. Look for the positives in other people. Every person has some good qualities, you just have to open your mind to take notice. If you see someone doing a good job, say something positive. If you notice some cute feature about your girlfriend of boyfriend that they don’t often get told about, tell them. If your kids are getting good grades at school, tell them they’re awesome.

What kind of compliment is better received: a well thought out compliment or a spontaneous one? Spontaneous compliments tend to be more real and genuine but there is also a risk of offending someone. A well thought out compliment will allow you to construct the best words to say to the other person, but it can come across as unnatural and with poor timing. These two styles will work in different situations, but it’s best to develop skills in giving good compliments. Once you have the hang of it, you’ll know exactly when to give the right kind of compliment.

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How to Give Compliments

1. Be Real and Genuine

This is probably the most important of all whenever you give out compliments. Give a compliment to someone if they truly deserve it; a person can tell if your compliment is heartfelt or not. You don’t need to exaggerate and remember that when you give compliments, don’t expect anything in return. That’s not how compliments work, you just have to say what needs to be said at that moment.

2. Give Specific Compliments

Know what makes people nervous and from there, you can focus on giving compliments that will help them feel comfortable. Try to pay attention to which aspects of their personality or features a person lacks confidence in, and give the compliment accordingly in the most natural and sincere way. Giving compliments that will erase their self-doubts and re-assure their confidence is a great thing to do.

3. Be Unique when Giving Compliments

Some people are used to receiving the same kind of compliment time and time again. Giving compliments to their very obvious achievements of aspects about themselves will be accepted as it is but will not be truly appreciated. Give a compliment you think they have never heard or received before. This will take great attention to detail and a keen interest in the other person. This may be a challenge, but once you pull it off, your compliment will really stand out and will be remembered.

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4. Timing

Giving compliments is like a punchline, timing is important. Compliments are most effective if they are given immediately after a person does something good and deserves a prize. This is usually after a person has accomplished something they are nervous about and are itching for approval or feedback. A well-timed compliment can motivate a person. This compliment will also assure that person what they did was important and significant.

5. Put Value into Compliments

If you give out compliments too often, people are less likely to accept it as sincere. In most cases it may be received as a sarcastic or hurtful joke. If you overdo it, people will either not be affected or offended by the compliment.

Everybody likes receiving gifts. It will surely bring a smile to the receiver. Compliments are just like that!

So, go forth and compliment those around you.



  1. Lovely post, Jon! It’s a nice feeling when you compliment someone and you see it lift their spirit. A kind word never goes astray!


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