Truth: Challenges With Compliments

August 31, 2011

In true Pour Your Heart Out fashion, I’m sharing today something that I think deserves a bigger platform… something that women need to discuss more often (past posts: weight, lonliness, secret bffs, etc).

Today’s topic: compliments. Or rather, the inability for most women to take one.

I’ve felt compelled to write this for a while now and finally did after I complimented a gorgeous friend who is looking extra smokin’ after dedicating a lot of time at the gym. Instead of saying thank you, she replied by insult herself, what parts of her body she still doesn’t like. I told her — and now I do the same to other women, too -  just say THANK YOU.

Most men never think twice. You say nice shirt, they say thanks. And, for the most part, it doesn’t even matter if it’s too tight or if it would look better if they were 10 lbs. less. They take the compliment and move on.

Women: I like your top. Response: “yeah, it’s OK. I got it to hide my flabby stomach.” Don’t get me wrong. I’m not excluding myself from this abusive behavior, but I’m starting to see a pattern. We’re just so critical of ourselves sometimes. And, the more I connect with more of you, the more I realize how awful and self destructive this is. Not only do we need to give ourselves a break, why highlight to the whole world our insecurities and tiny little nuances about a mini part of our body that no one otherwise notices?!

We need to accept a compliment, to celebrate ourselves…. where we are at this moment.

The moment I simply say, THANK YOU, a smile comes over and at least for an instant I feel good about what I’m wearing, how my hair looks or how funny I am (ok, that one doesn’t happen as often but let’s pretend! hehe). Embrace the positive qualities of yourself (and if it’s a shirt someone likes it obv means they’re complimenting your killer good taste. natch).

I’ve also made a conscious effort to start complimenting others more often, especially strangers, BUT… only when I sincerely mean it. I swear women don’t do this enough (possibly because of subconscious jealously?!). Offer up a deserved compliment and get ready for some mega-watt smiles, radiating happiness and some “wow, did someone actually compliment me” shock. It’s the best.

And, while I’m on the topic rant of not being able to say thank you, there’s women who say thank you and then — and this is what I’m most guilty of — proceed to tell everyone where they bought an item and how much it cost. It’s one thing to tell your good friend or mom, or for a purposeful reason, but to someone you don’t know well, your colleague or client? Say thanks, give an inner chuckle and move it along!

We all work too damn hard being our best version… why are we getting in our own way? That’s all from The Average Girl’s Guide for today.


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  • My Dressy Ways

    Great post! Accepting compliments with no more than a smile and “Thank you” is something I’ve been working on as well! At first I felt guilty (eye roll) but now, I’m getting used to it!

  • Teresa Bryson

    Thank you. For a great article:)

  • Melificent

    This is so true!
    I’m especially guilty of the last - saying exactly where I bought it and how much it was (::hangs head in shame::). Since I always bargain shop, I get so excited to share my steals. It’s definitely a skill the majority of women are still struggling to learn.

    Great post :)

  • Marti

    GUILTY! It drives my boyfriend nuts, he has me working on just saying thank you when he compliments me.

  • Alicia

    Great post! Love it. I am definitely guilty, but have been trying to get better.

  • simplyfrabulous

    Thank you for sharing, I loved it!

  • Pencil Skirts and Lattes

    such a great post - I STRUGGLE with this with every single compliment… and why is it so hard?? I also tend to give out too much information after I do say thank you. I’ll blame my inability to tolerate awkward silences LOL :) I absolutely love this post, thanks so much for sharing!


    • admin

      Haha, I’m the same… I often talk to talk and I probably shouldn’t. Find myself trying to reign it in lately!

  • Emily Hallman

    GREAT post! And so true! It’s hard for me to take compliments sometimes, but I’m getting better. Big smile and a big thank you. And you know, saying thank you makes the person giving the compliment feel better. There’s nothing worse than complimenting someone and then getting an explanation about why they didn’t really deserve the kind words in the first place, you know?

    • admin

      Exactly… it’s almost more awkward for the compliment giver when we’re self destructive to ourselves. Bad news for everyone.

  • Penny Pincher Fashion

    I totally agree with this - I have gotten better over the last couple years with not putting myself down when receiving a compliment, but I always feel the urge to tell people what a great deal I got on something! :)

    • Piper Alexander

      Yep, I’m with you, when I get a compliment on an item I got for a steal, I feel the need to boast about it. I guess this is one thing I have to work on.

  • Tara R.

    I’m guilty of this too, but I’ve been working on being more gracious in accepting compliments, even if in my head I’m still making all those lame excuses about why that compliment is not true. Unfortunately, I think the problem is that a lot of us simply don’t believe we are deserving of having nice things said about us. That’s what I’m working on, knowing that I am a good person, inside and out.

    I also make a point of giving my friends, especially my women friends, compliments. Sometimes the look on their faces, that little smile, makes MY day.

    (stopping by from PYHO)

    • admin

      EXACTLY! Complimenting someone makes me happier… especially when they smile, say thank you and you can tell they feel good. IMagine they started dissing themself?! Would probably make me feel awkward. Shoudn’t do that to others. someone typically doesn’t compliment if they don’t mean it so know it’s true about you. :)

  • Mandy

    A-MEN!!! This is a fabulous reminder. It totally seems that it is ingrained in us to think negatively! I appreciate the awareness and say THANK YOU! ;)

  • Galit Breen

    A-freakin-men! Fabulous post, important reminder!

  • Lindsey

    So, incredibly true. I was laughing as I read this because I had this same discussion with a friend a couple of weeks ago. It’s like we feel we’re constantly supposed to apologize! Why?

    • admin

      Exactly… someone’s giving a compliment because they feel it, so we should too. Totally an ongoing conversation!

  • bravoerunway

    I know the same feeling because when people tell me oh I like ____ or you look great in _____ I don’t know why I can’t just say oh thank you and stop there, I’ll continue the sentence and say you are too kind. As if they’re being paid to tell me something nice. I’ve gotten better, and now that I’ve been blogging and I read people’s comments, I’ve learned to accept a nice compliment for what it is…a compliment!

    • admin

      Exactly… blogging has definitely helped a lot! So excited to meet you, hot stuff. :)

  • LC

    Love it! I have such a hard time accepting compliments too, and keep having to tell myself the same thing…just say THANK YOU! :)

  • Nikki

    Agree, agree, agree! I recently lost about 25 pounds and initially found it very hard to respond with just a “thank you” when kinds friends and family would compliment me. Eventually, I just decided to just say thank you with a big smile on my face. It felt much better for me and for the one encouraging me. You never know when a thoughtful word can really turn someone’s day around! It takes so little effort to say “thank you” or to bless someone else with a few uplifting words! Love this verse in Proverbs…so true!
    Proverbs 16:24 Sweet words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.

    • admin

      That is such a true proverb! ANd, I hear ya… as someone who lost 35 lbs a while back, I struggled for a long time to see this girl in the mirror so I found it hard to believe the compliments. Taking them in though with a simple thank you is also an effective way to start beleiving in yourself. CONGRATS on the weight loss; so impressive, Nikki, and thanks for commenting!! :)

  • Jamie

    You make a very good point! I think it is just as equally important to compliment yourself. Rather than looking in the mirror nit picking every detail you don’t like about yourself, find even one thing each day that you DO like about yourself and verbalize it! Tell yourself, “I look good today.” Because I tell you, even coming from yourself, that positive reinforcement can go a long way!!!


  • Frelle

    great words on the subject of compliments, we are often self depricating, and I needed this reminder!

  • Kimberlee

    Great post! I’m so bad at taking compliments :(

  • JS

    I recently realised how bad I was at this. I got a lot of favourable comments at work about my work, and I basically told everyone it was all a fluke.

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