Okay, let's continue with our '40 things every woman should know after 40' series. You can catch up with the first two here. Number three is something that I still struggle with - not the giving but the receiving. Intrigued? Here it is...
Mark Twain commented that he could 'live for two months on a good compliment'. We all know how great it feels to get a compliment but do we really know how to receive one graciously? While I am definitely getting better at accepting compliments as I get older there are still times when I default to my old routine of brushing them off or making some kind of feeble joke because I get feel self-conscious. The problem when we don't accept a compliment with grace and sincerity is that it is really disheartening to the person who paid you the compliment (and, to be honest, a bit rude) and inevitably leads to a feeling of awkwardness.
So how do we give a compliment that comes across as we mean it to - sincere and heart-felt (not over-the-top) and receive one easily and graciously (without blushing).
A good compliment can really make someone's day IF it is done right. So how do we pay the perfect compliment?
1 First things first make sure it's sincere. No paying a compliment in order to look good or get on side with someone etc. - that's just plain icky and at our age we're past that kind of behaviour.
2 Make eye-contact, if you don't look at the person when you are talking it comes across as insincere and your good intentions will be lost.
3 Keep it simple. For example 'that top looks really great on you' is better than 'that top looks really great on you, it makes you look so pretty, really, you look great.....' long-winded compliments come across as gushing and insincere.
4 Keep it about the other person. For example 'You write really well' is better than 'you write really well, so much better than I ever could/I wish I could write as well as that' etc. This just makes the other person feel uncomfortable and highlights a lack of self-esteem in yourself. Also remember that compliments to one person that include a negative comment about someone e.g. 'you write really well, much better than...' That's a definite no-no.
RECEIVING A COMPLIMENT
Receiving a compliment can be hard for many of us but dismissing one is ungracious and makes the compliment giver feel unappreciated. Remember it takes a certain amount of courage to pay someone a compliment so the least you can do is acknowledge it kindly. So how exactly do we do that?
1 The biggest thing to remember is that all you really need to do is smile and say 'thank you'. No big speech, no jokes, just 'thank you'. If that really doesn't feel enough you could add 'I appreciate that' or 'that means a lot' but honestly, just a plain thank you is fine.
2 As with paying a compliment make eye-contact and don't forget to smile. This acknowledges the other person properly and shows that you are sincere and confident in your thanks.
3 Don't feel obliged to return the compliment. If you want to then go for it but doing so for the sake of it or because you feel uncomfortable just comes across as insincere and leads to awkwardness. Saying thank you is enough.
So there you go, it's pretty simple really! And remember that giving and receiving compliments graciously exudes confidence and we all know there is nothing more attractive, especially in an older woman, than confidence. So what are you waiting for...get out there and start complimenting like a pro!