Complimenting can have a great impact on both the giver and the receiver. A study published in the National Institute for Physiological Sciences found that people who exercised did better if they received a compliment beforehand, and that a little praise lit up the same part of a person’s brain that is activated if they’re rewarded with money.
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Also, the U.S. News & World Report reported that acts of kindness, in return, can actually make you happier.
With nothing but good things coming from complimenting all the way around, it’s only natural to want to try it yourself. But it can be a little hard to get used to at first, especially if you’re not sure what to say or are a little shy. Try these easy ways to compliment other people more on a daily basis. You’ll be glad that you did.
1. Focus On The Details
The best compliments are obviously ones that are given freely, without a hope for anything in return. But there’s also an art to complimenting, and if you can develop your praising skills, you’ll deliver compliments that are more genuine to and meaningful for the recipient.
Compliment a detail in a person’s life as opposed to a permanent feature, if you can. For example, while telling someone they have beautiful eyes is a nice gesture, it is an obvious trait and probably something that person hears quite often. But adding some detail to it, such as remarking that a clothing item really sets off their eyes, invites more conversation and seems more genuine.
2. Forget About Appearance
All too often, complimenting is limited to a person’s appearance, but some of the best compliments you can give another person have nothing to do with their appearance. Remember that people can’t fully control what they look like, and that even beautiful people may feel uncomfortable about being judged by how they look.
Work on compliments that praise choices, actions and character. For example, if someone takes a stance you admire on a tough issue, you can compliment their bravery for speaking out on the topic.
3. Put Yourself In Their Shoes
Empathy is necessary when it comes to giving genuine compliments. You should tell people what you really think is special about them, not what you think they want to hear. A “false” compliment often doesn’t ring true to the recipient, and that person may actually end up feeling worse after hearing it.
Put yourself into their lives before you give a compliment. Being more sympathetic will help you compliment in a more natural way and can even improve your relationships with other people.
4. Compliment Anytime, Anywhere
You don’t have to give a genuine compliment only when you’re face-to-face with someone else. You can also create a spirit of gratitude and positivity in your interactions with people online, too.
For example, think about your list of friends on Facebook. You’ve probably got loads of people in that list, but how connected are you with them? The issue with having a “Like” button is that it makes it all too easy to passively engage in the significant events that happen around you. Try to avoid more superficial interactions, and look for chances to give the people who matter to you some genuine praise. If a friend just bought a new house, don’t just hit that “Like” button. You could say how great the picture is and how wonderful a particular feature will be for the family. Look for ways to give friends and family specific compliments that go beyond just liking something.
5. Look For Opportunities
Start paying more attention to everyone and everything around you. By recognizing good opportunities to offer praise, you’ll become more natural and better at doing so. When you’re completely present in your interactions with other people, you’ll start noticing a lot of things you can compliment them on.
Not all compliment opportunities have to be big achievements, either. You don’t need a huge accomplishment to pay a compliment to someone. Offer some praise for the little things too, as what may seem trivial to you could mean more to someone else. If you love someone’s new shirt, let them know. Awed by a co-worker’s perfect penmanship? Tell your colleague that.
Basically, when it comes to little things, you want to compliment on something that is connected to talent or is a worthwhile trait. Complimenting clothes means you’re admiring someone’s taste, and praise for handwriting is an acknowledgement of their practice and discipline.
6. Be Vocal With Your Thoughts
Part of the reason you may not be complimenting as much as you want to isn’t that you don’t notice admirable things in others, but it’s just that you’re not making the leap to put your thoughts into words. The thought occurs but just slips by you and is never spoken. This is especially true in your long-term relationships, as your comfort level is so high that you may stop speaking your affection aloud.
Whether it’s your best friend or your partner, let the compliment fly before they have to ask you how their new outfit or hairstyle looks. Don’t assume they know what you’re thinking or that your compliments are no longer appreciated because of all the time you’ve spent together.
In that same vein, don’t wait to compliment someone later. Let the praise flow as soon as you notice something admirable. If you wait until later, you’re more likely to forget, or the compliment may no longer be relevant. For example, if you loved a co-worker’s outfit but don’t say anything the first time you see it, it’s going to be awkward to mention that the next day, when they are wearing something else.
7. Pass On Secondhand Praise
This may sound weird, but compliments from anyone can make a person feel good, and you can be the good news messenger occasionally. If someone pays a compliment to a person you know when they’re not around, feel free to relay it back to the person praised later. To the recipient, this shows that someone felt so highly of them that they had to talk about it with someone else, which is a great thing to experience.
8. Watch Out For The Back-Handed Compliment
A “back-handed” compliment is one that contains an insult, such as “You look pretty amazing, considering your age!” Often, these compliments mean well, but an unfortunate word choice can make a pretty mixed bag for the person on the receiving end. Say exactly what you mean and try to avoid adding another element to your compliment so you don’t end up also insulting the person you meant to praise.
By complimenting more, you’ll improve someone else’s mood and your own at the same time. It’s a great win-win situation, so get started on complimenting more in your daily life today!