It can't be too hard to give compliments, can it? In theory, all it takes is a kind, sincere remark; in practice, both giving and accepting a nice word can be much more complicated than that, though it really doesn't have to be. So how do you give and receive compliments in a way that comes off as genuine and, well, not awkward?
Expressing your appreciation for others is a social interaction that doesn't get enough credit sometimes. Research has shown that receiving a compliment has a similar positive effect to receiving a cash reward.
"To the brain, receiving a compliment is as much a social reward as being rewarded money," study head Professor Norihiro Sadato at the National Institute for Physiological Sciences in Japan told Forbes.
The best compliments we've received is a mixed bag. Some are thoughtful and intimate, and some are just downright funny. But no matter their inclination, they were memorable in their own special way.
So whether you feel shy, awkward or nervous on either end of the situation, here's how to give and receive compliments in the most genuine way you can.
1. The more sincere, the better.
What do you like about the person? Put some thought in your words, too. "I love being around your positive energy" is better than "You're so energetic."
2. Be yourself.
If you're the quiet type, others will appreciate even a simple line. If you're as enthusiastic about everything as Leslie Knope, go all out.
3. Looks aren't everything.
"You look nice today" is a good compliment to your co-worker, but "That presentation you gave blew me away" will be much more appreciated.
4. Make eye contact.
How you give the compliment is sometimes just as important as what you say. Looking the other person in the eye and smiling is always a nice gesture. Similarly, if you're receiving a compliment, make eye contact.
5. Accept it graciously.
Compliments go both ways. It's hard to accept one sometimes, especially when you're not feeling so hot, but a simple "thank you" will do.
6. Compliment back.
Again, if you mean it, say it. It's a chance to give that compliment you've always wanted, but couldn't find a way to initiate.
7. Be sincere.
That's really all there is to a compliment. If you mean what you say and say it sincerely, none of the awkwardness can stand in your way.
Cover image via iStock / KatarzynaBialasiewicz