How to make and take compliments

Receiving a compliment is many introverts’ worst nightmare. “It’s nice that you want to say something kind to me, but can the earth please open up and swallow me right now?” That’s how I used to feel about compliments for a long time. And making compliments – ugh! – even worse. Will the other person not feel just as awful about receiving a compliment as I would in their place? Will they think I’m kissing up to them? That I want something? That I’ve got a crush on them, maybe?

You can tell compliments in general were pretty terrifying to me.

Over the last years, however, my outlook has changed rather a lot. I realised that, somewhere deep down, I kind of like receiving compliments. Who doesn’t like a sincere reminder of their good qualities sometimes? It’s just having to react that feels vulnerable and awkward and awful, having to let the other person see that private part of you that needed validation. But it doesn’t have to be awful! There are a few simple strategies that make taking compliments so much easier, and, in time, even pleasant.

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And don’t get me started on giving compliments. Once I realised that, on average, it doesn’t cause mortification or awkwardness, but heartfelt delight, I began speaking up more often when I noticed something I liked about other people. I am now firmly conviced that making a compliment is a wonderful way to brighten someone’s day, strike up a conversation with a stranger, or deepen your friendship with someone you already know.

As I am an almost neurotically structured thinker, I have compiled a list of pretty straightforward tips and strategies for you. Take a look and start making and taking compliments like a suave social butterfly in no time.

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Make that phone call

Many shy or introverted people (myself included) positvely dread making phone calls to anyone but our innermost circle of friends – and sometimes even to them, depending on what we have to say. But you don’t have to be shy to dread certain conversations. Having to make them over the phone, without being able to get feedback from your addressee’s face, doesn’t exactly help. So we keep putting those calls off, agonising over how to do it, and knowing that we should. Here’s how you pick up the phone and get it done – even though you’re terrified.

How to pick up the phone and make that dreaded call.

If you’re not faced with the immediate need to make an important call on the spot – say, because some emergency happened or you need to call the police/an ambulance -, there are some simple strategies for making it so much easier. Take a minute (or two, or thirty) and just think it through. Here are some strategies that I find extremely helpful. When I wanted to quit my job, but couldn’t meet my boss in person because I had just broken my foot, I think I followed all of these tipps, actually. It went well – my boss accepted my decision (she kind of wanted me to stay, because teaching new people the ropes is time consuming, of course) and we left it on very good terms.

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