The Great Compliment Experiment: Part 1

Feb 13, 2014Allison

Accepting Compliments Part One: What not to do…

I get nervous when people express their esteem, respect, affection, or admiration for me. My usual response to compliments is to avoid them. That streak of color you see running to her car after she talks in front of people…yep that is me running away from compliments.

The Compliment Experiment: How I responded to compliments said a lot about how I felt about myselfI was thinking this past week, why it is hard for me to accept compliments with tact and grace?  After thinking about it and talking with a close friend, here is what I discovered…

  • I don’t want to look conceited
  • I do not excel at being assertive
  • I struggle with self-worth, self-confidence, and lovability.

Compliments from others open my heart to vulnerability.  It is hard for me to accept that other people see good in me.  Sometimes, I just want to yell, “If you really knew me, you would not be saying these things.” But instead of yelling in other people’s faces, I use the following techniques to sidetrack compliments.

How I sidetrack accepting compliments…


“You did such a great job singing at church.”
“Yea…wasn’t my best.”


“That skirt looks great on you.”
“It does do a great job hiding my huge thighs.”


“Your kids are so great. You are doing such a great job as a mom.”
“No. You should have seen me yelling at my kids this morning.”


“The photos of your kids are so great. I just love your creativity.”
“Do you really think so?  I feel like such an amateur.”


“You look great today.”
“Really? You think so?”

Boomerang “right back at you”

“Wow, your eye make-up is amazing.”
“Talk about eye make-up. You did a fabulous job with your hair.”


“Nice sweater. It really brings out the color of your eyes.”
“This thing? I’ve had it for years.”

Credit Transfer

“Awesome birthday party. The kids are having so much fun. You did a great job.”
“My mom did all the work. I just helped out here and there.”

I don’t know about you but after reading this list I feel defeated and deflated.

I don’t think the other person envisioned me feeling horrible about myself. In fact, they probably intended their praise to do just the opposite.  When set out to tell someone something I admire about them I am certainly not thinking, “Oh, I hope this makes her feel miserable about herself.”

Sometimes it is just so hard to feel good about yourself. But I found when I started to accept other’s expression of love I started to see the good in me. 

Click here for part two which includes my great experiment and pointers on how to accept a compliment.



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Comments (13)

  • Mama and More aka Zaz

    Mar 4, 2014 at 12:23 am

    Loved this post – this is one of my featured posts for #AllAboutYou – thank you so much for linking up x

  • Megin

    Feb 26, 2014 at 7:10 pm

    Great tips. I think we all tend to do this to some extent. It is hard to just graciously say, “thank you”.
    I’m visiting from Whimsy Wednesday Link Party. I would be so honored if you would share this at Brag About It Link Party on VMG206.

    ~ Megin of VMG206

  • franglaisemummy

    Feb 26, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    I used to be terrible at accepting compliments, I now try to do it gracefully, say thanks and take the buzz away with me.

  • Mother.Wife.Me – Luci

    Feb 25, 2014 at 7:23 pm

    I worked with an agency to do a whole study on complimenting for the brand I used to work on, it’s a fascinating subject and so many of us are so terrible at accepting compliments graciously! Thanks so much for linking up to #AllAboutYou

  • karritait

    Feb 21, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    compliments are super hard to take. great post!

  • thissimplemom

    Feb 19, 2014 at 12:52 am

    I’m learning to just say “thank you.”

    Thanks for joining the WWDParty! Please remember to link to us so we can include great posts like this in our featured posts and on Pinterest.

  • Verily Victoria Vocalises

    Feb 18, 2014 at 4:49 pm

    This is such a great idea for a post :) Thank you for linking to PoCoLo x

  • pinkoddy

    Feb 17, 2014 at 10:28 pm

    You know I just think that it them trying to be nice so just say thank you as it makes them feel better anyway! Thank you for linking up with Motivational Monday.

  • tumbleweedcontessa

    Feb 17, 2014 at 10:00 pm

    Thanks for this. I have this problem. Thanks for linking to What’d You Do This Weekend.


  • adrianscrazylife

    Feb 16, 2014 at 5:37 am

    I give many compliments, so I don’t feel all that badly about accepting the occasional compliment. To me, a compliment is a gift you give to someone, so avoid it or negating it feels like you are trashing their gift. So I am starting to feel comfortable with just saying thank you and accepting their gift, even if I don’t always agree with it.

  • guvesdilort

    Feb 15, 2014 at 5:49 pm

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  • Antionette Blake

    Feb 15, 2014 at 5:45 am

    I think compliments should be taken as given, with grace and kindness. Thanks for sharing and linking up with us at the #WWDParty – Happy Valentine’s Day.

  • Grassfed Mama

    Feb 15, 2014 at 2:42 am

    Great topic… I am slowly getting better about taking a compliment and saying “Thanks” It is hard not to feel like you are being conceited. I’m going to read the second part now.

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