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Dear Heidi: How do you accept a compliment?

They’re meant to be nice, but it can be embarrassing to have someone gush over you. How do you handle it with grace, be appreciative and not appear silly?

There is only one correct way to receive a compliment, and that is with humility. Likewise, there is only one proper response to a sincere compliment, “Thank you.” That’s it, “Thank you.”

So, why is accepting a compliment so hard for many of us? A sincere compliment can make us feel uncomfortable, but it shouldn’t. Instead, an honest compliment means someone appreciates something extra about you. They have gone out of their way to recognize something extraordinary. Regardless, when someone compliments something about you, for example, your outfit can make you feel awkward.

You can learn how to accept a compliment properly. Before I trained myself to take a compliment, I might have responded to a compliment of “Nice outfit,” with something like, “Oh, thank you, but you mean this old thing? I got it at the outlet mall for half price.”

For some reason, we tend to demean things because it seems to make it easier to accept. Push past the temptation to downplay your compliment, and learn to accept the compliment. Look the person in the eyes, smile, and say, “Thank you.” It will take a little practice to accept a compliment properly, and then it will become second nature. You will find that you can concentrate on the praise and appreciate it more once you don’t have to worry about downplaying anything.

There are times when a compliment can get tricky. Perhaps someone inappropriately tries to compliment something very personal about you, maybe a body part. It is rude and improper, and best to ignore it, if possible. If you find yourself in this position, get out of it. Physically move to another area, at least aways from this person because nothing good will follow. You can still be polite, and say to them, “Excuse me” and walk away.

Next time you are feeling exceptionally generous, make someone’s day, even a stranger, and offer a sincere compliment if you see something exceptional. It will make their day and yours.


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