Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Accepting Compliments

Why can I not accept compliments like a normal human being?

Here are some real life examples of how I have handled compliments in the very recent past:

I was wearing a fabulous new Calvin Klein dress (obtained at Ross for $30, booyah!) to church last week. It looked totally amazing on me, except when I sat down. Then, all the buttons seemed to pop apart and look crazy. I had to sit with my legs crossed in order for it to not look like I was too fat for my dress, and sitting with your legs crossed is very hard to do when you have small children trying to sit on your lap.

So, when a friend told me, "I love your dress, it looks smokin' good!" what do I say in response?
"Oh, yeah, well, when I sit it looks ridiculous, so I have to sit like this" *insert insane pose here*

Why. Why do I do this? I couldn't just say, "Oh, thanks!" and move on? Or even, "Thanks, I got it at Ross!" and walk away, feeling good about myself?

Second example:

"Hey, your hair looks really great today!"
"Haha! Thanks, there's a sock in it!"
"Yep! A sock!"

Again, why. Why do I feel the need to explain the nerdy information about myself? Why do I have to explain (to a friend's husband, no less) what a sock bun is, and make myself look like an idiot? 

I was talking to my friend, Kirsti, about this. At least she understood where I was coming from. I am always terrified that every compliment is a Mean Girls-style set up:

So, tell me, friends: Do you handle compliments well? Any advice? Or, if you're more like me, share your stories.


  1. This has taken me SO long to overcome - and I'm STILL not totally there.

    What a good friend told me is that it feels good when we compliment someone, and we really shouldn't take that away from the complimenter (is that a word?).
    STILL hard to remember, because I'm just ME, lol

  2. Naw, I do about the same thing. Too modest I guess.

    I'll have to think about this, the next time it happens though. Smile and say thank you and be done. And then appreciate the compliment.

  3. I used to be completely awful about accepting compliments. I would just laugh and shrug it off or stand there awkwardly. I've gotten much better about responding with a simple, "Thank you" and moving on.

    I think what helped me with it was when I realized that, in a lot of cases, I was actually hurting my friends by not accepting their compliments. They genuinely wanted to let me know that they cared and make me feel good, and when I shrugged off their compliment or didn't accept it, that hurt them a lot more than I realized. Once I became aware of that, it was a lot easier to accept the compliments.

    That, and when I finally realized my own worth and that even on days when I feel crappy, I am still wonderful and kind and beautiful and loved, my perspective changed a lot.

  4. My brain completely stops when people compliment me. Full on shutdown. Someone said something nice? What do I do? What do I say? What's my name again? Help me Rhonda!

    Recently one of my friends told me that I always look so put together and I just laughed and said if you only knew. GAH! I'm working on the saying thank you and moving on thing too. But mostly I just make a fool of myself.

  5. Well...I think I do it fine. I just say "Thank you." Maybe add in a "I got it at Ross/D.I./other sweet deal." But internally? Not so well. Been trying to work on it, because I've been lucky to room with and befriend genuine people who only give compliments when they mean it. So my "Mean" Girls just really mean their compliments. :)

  6. I seriously wrote a blog post about this same subject last week. It's sooo hard. Whenever I'm complimented, I usually do something awkward to kind of change the attention to humor or weirdness, something I'm used to.

  7. As we discussed, I'm terrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrible at this. Example that seems to happen pretty regularly:
    Friend: "Ooh, you look nice today!"
    Friend: "Um. Okay?"

    Although it's usually more to do with my baking. I seem to have this weird thing where I'm convinced that my baking isn't good enough. Like I took peanut butter chocolate chip cookies to class last week (hai, procrastination!), and everyone was all "ZOMG THESE ARE AWESOME!! Thank you so much!!". And of course, I stood there saying "They're not that good. I mean, I usually use white chocolate chips, and they're amazing. But we didn't have any, so I had to use dark. Plus, we've been having issues with our oven, so I think they're a little overcooked? Plus, they're gluten free so they're kind of crumbly."

    And the whole time I'm doing it, there's a tiny part of my brain going "JUST. STOP. TALKING. Say thank you. And walk away."

    Awkwardness FTW?

  8. SandrasfiberworksMay 2, 2012 at 5:21 PM

    You are normal. We all feel uncomfortable, not sure why. I guess we want to be sure we look humble. Not sure what is wrong with some pride though...

  9. Mine, just from today.

    Woman: "Those earring look really nice on you."
    Me: "Oh, I figured since everything else I was wearing looked like crap I needed to try to at least look half way decent."
    Woman: "You don't look that bad."
    Me: "Yea, I do."

    I don't do well with accepting compliments.

  10. HA. I have my moments of ungraceful compliment accepting. I will start taking note so I can share. :) I am pretty much awkward in general, not just with compliments. Oh, well.

  11. I'm really awkward, too. Especially in a one-on-one situation.

  12. Oy.

    I do this too. I have no idea why. Because I just know how much it makes people want to cringe.

  13. I know. Why do I insist on saying stuff like, "Oh, well, I normally do this much better! You're seeing my sucky version of cookies/enchiladas/my hair"

  14. You are my new hero. I must learn to take a compliment.

  15. Somebody at school told me that I always look put together. Which was really nice of her, especially since I do put a lot of effort into looking nice (I only get to be around grown ups once a week, I might as well make the most of it). Why, then, did I try to deflect it?

    I made an effort. It worked. Somebody noticed it and TOOK THE TIME TO SAY SOMETHING NICE.

    Why do I have to shoot them down? It's actually really mean, now that I think about it.

  16. You are so completely right. It hurts their feelings when you shoot down a compliment.

    It's like when people WANT to help you, but you say, "No, I'm fine, I don't need help!" you're actually robbing them of the opportunity to feel good and help others.

    I am robbing people of the opportunity to feel good and pay a compliment.

    I must remember this more often.

    You are my hero, too, for being able to accept a compliment.

  17. You're right. It really should be that simple, right? :)

  18. You're right. I said this to another commenter (so forgive me for repeating myself, ha!) but it's like when somebody offers us service, and we turn them down. We're actually robbing them of the opportunity to serve and receive those blessings and good feelings. When we turn down a compliment, we are robbing that person of the good feelings that come from being nice.

    And I really MUST learn to keep this in mind more often!

  19. Sock bun!! Man I used to abuse those. So nifty.

    Anyhow, I'm terrible at accepting compliments. I just get embarrassed and awkward and then I feel pressure to return it and end up saying stuff like, "brown matches your eye lashes, cool" or something equally dumb that isn't a compliment at all. Lame.

  20. One of my friends is a very gifted piano player. When we were in high school and people would compliment him on his piano playing, he would always shrug it off and downplay it. I asked him about it once and he said that to him, saying "Thank you" would mean that he was trying to take credit for the gifts he'd been given by God, when really that praise should go to God. I pointed out that when people drew attention to that gift and he denied having the gift, he was denying who God made him to be and denying that he had been blessed at all. I think I suggested he could say something like, "Thank you. I feel very blessed." That story has always stayed with me, though, as a really interesting reason somebody would deny a compliment that was clearly true.

  21. I am pretty sure I told someone the look I had achieved with my hair was with a knee high stuff with a wad of fake hair, or that I was wearing spanks to smooth everything out, or that cute shoes were hiding a bunion. I have tried to stop doing that or at least only reserve the real truth for someone like my mom ;-) I love Jessica's comment below.

  22. I am totally awful at it.
    Totally. awful. It's a work in progress.

  23. I think it's hard to accept a compliment with a thank you because we are so ingrained with the notion that we have to be humble. And often we don't believe what they are telling us. Or like the example you gave of the "mean girl" compliments that are loaded. It's something I am always working on, just saying thank you and moving on.

  24. --I'm great at giving compliments, but not at taking them...but I'm getting better. <3

  25. I'm just convinced that they're lying, cue confused look then I tell them so. ;)

  26. Hey, nice blog post! You really hit the nail on the head. And if the sock fits, wear it.

    There, now you can practice!