How to reply to a compliment?

+65 votes
asked Mar 23, 2015 in Culture & Society by LinettePtc13 (240 points)
I never actually thought about it properly. Usually, I would just thank the person and pretend he never said it. No follow-up, just a single “thank you”. Should I add something else to it? It feels awkward doing anything more than that and could sound really sarcastic. I don’t want to be seen as rude. Overly thanking him feels really creepy. So how to reply to a compliment, and what are some good ways to respond to people complimenting me?

3 Answers

+28 votes
answered Jun 20, 2015 by SimoneBlaxla (370 points)
I feel you, accepting a compliment is difficult. Usually, people would downplay compliments so they look humble, which is fine and acceptable. Sociolinguist actually categorizes responses into three categories which are “acceptance”, “deflection” or “rejection”. So we might either accept the compliment or just reject the kind words, even diluting the compliment itself. Avoid responses like “thanks, but I wasn’t as helpful” or “I thought I messed up that speech.” Doing that might send the message that you aren’t confident, have no self-esteem or have no respect for the person complimenting you. Essentially, these responses might insult the one giving the compliment or just undermine the compliment itself. Sticking to just a straight “thank you,” might still be the best way to response if you aren’t sure. Simple yet powerful.
+8 votes
answered Aug 18, 2015 by PrinceSuggs0 (360 points)
How to reply to a compliment could be really simple. You can just stick to saying “thank you for the compliment, I appreciate it.” We can go a step further and add some merit to that answer. If the compliment to you is based on a work of a team, then do give some credit to them. Acknowledge the team effort that leads you to the success. Never forget who gets you up there in the first place. Easy way to keep allies and not lose friends. Share the success with them. Try something along the line of “Thank you, we all did our best effort in this project,” the keywords would be “we”, “us” and “our”. There is no “I” in a team!
+6 votes
answered Jul 21, 2015 by EuniceHauser (480 points)
Do not in any case undermine the compliment, or the other way, out complimenting the one who give the compliment. Receive the complement with gratitude. Try to avoid “Thanks, it’s not a big deal.” Downplaying compliments might show humility but might instead make the other guy feel personally rejected. On the other spectrum, do not fight his compliment with your own. “Thanks, but we know your contribution is more valuable to the success.” Usually, you are likely to do this if it is from someone that you admire and respect. That is downplaying your work. Just embrace the moment of glory and thank him appropriately. Although ing the one who compliment is considered a sign of respect in the Asian culture.
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