Let’s be real for a minute. Who doesn’t love a compliment? Actually, let me be more specific: Who doesn’t love a really good, personalized compliment? A heartfelt compliment can light each one of us up like a Christmas tree as long as we trust that the words are genuine and truly specific to us. To begin, let me share some compliments that aren’t so good, and I will tell you why.
The following examples of not-so-great compliments are all impersonal, as if they could be recited from a card in the aisle of the nearest pharmacy: “You look nice;” “You’re the best;” “I think you’re great;” among a long list of others. No, these compliments aren’t necessarily awful because the intention is usually good, but these phrases aren’t really tailored to any specific person. You could say any of these things to a huge group of people, but if you look more closely at each individual, you can find a compliment that is more specific and meaningful. Herein lies the goal: issue a compliment that makes the person feel unique and special, and noticed above all else.
The following compliments will be met with true appreciation. Remember, the more thoughtful the compliment, the more it will be appreciated by your audience. While some of the compliments could be issued to a man or a woman, you’ll see that some are gender specific.
“I love the way you wear that dress.” This compliment manages to be both sweet and also a little sexual, and any woman – or man – appreciates it when they feel like someone likes their body and finds them sexually appealing.
“I love watching you laugh.” It goes without saying that you shouldn’t use this compliment automatically; you should only use it when it’s true. But if you love the way your date laughs, say it!
“You treat strangers so sweetly, which is a really nice trait.” This type of compliment shows that you notice how someone treats others, which means that you are complimenting your date’s character, or the essence of who that person is. Nothing can make a person feel more special than when you compliment the essence of who they are.
“Thank you for being on time because some people don’t seem to get that being on time matters.” For those of you who are busy and overscheduled, your time matters more than almost anything else. Finding someone who is reliable with time is important, so compliment your date on this to show your appreciation.
“I love how your sense of humor is so [insert sarcastic, quirky, silly, and so forth].” One’s sense of humor is a large part of that person’s personality, so it never hurts to compliment them for it. Rather than say “You’re so funny,” tell them what about their sense of humor makes them funny.
“I like how you seem to know a lot about (insert any subject they seem to know a lot about).” Show someone that you appreciate the fact they have interests and have spent time learning about a given subject, and you will see how much the compliment is appreciated. This type of compliment is another way of saying I see you.
“It’s fun hanging out with you.” As sophisticated and established as we may be in some ways, we all still secretly want to feel like we can be lighthearted and fun. If you truly get a kick out of hanging out with your date, say it and your compliment will make your date feel good.
“You’re easy to talk to.” As I said earlier, whichever compliments you go with have to ring true to the person and the situation. If there’s an awkward vibe or the conversation isn’t flowing, you’d look a little nuts if you comment on how naturally the conversation flows. But if the compliment is heartfelt, it will make your date feel warm and fuzzy, and good things will follow that!
Don’t forget these simple rules about compliments.
Only issue a compliment if you really mean it because people can smell a fake from miles away. Second, never compliment someone too much or it will come across that you’re working too hard or perhaps even being disingenuous. Stick with one or two compliments and they will come across as sweet and natural. Finally, remember to keep your compliments specific to the person. Without specificity, those compliments could apply to anyone.
About the Author:
Dr. Seth is a licensed clinical psychologist, author, Psychology Today blogger, and TV guest expert. He practices in Los Angeles and treats a wide range of issues and disorders and specializes in relationships, parenting, and addiction. He has had extensive training in conducting couples therapy and is the author of Dr. Seth’s Love Prescription: Overcome Relationship Repetition Syndrome and Find the Love You Deserve