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What’s the best way to receive a compliment?


Most people respond in one of three unhealthy ways; here's how to break the habit.

Many people find it unbearably awkward to accept a compliment. When someone gives us a kind word, we often don’t freely accept it.

Psychologists Suzie Pilegi Pawelski and James Pawelski have identified three unhealthy ways that people respond to compliments: deflect, reciprocate, and discount.

When given a compliment many people feel obligated to brush it off, deny it, or to offer a compliment in return. Instead, the healthier response to a compliment is also the simplest: accept with gratitude.

Pawelski and Pawelski encourage direct eye-contact with a verbal “thank you.” You can also take this opportunity to enjoy the moment and open a conversation without citing reasons why the compliment is undeserved. For example, you could share a detail about the story behind whatever they chose to compliment.

Learning to accept a compliment can take vulnerability and humility, but it can also release us from a lot of social stress and open us up to more fruitful interactions.

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