How To Accept a Compliment (Without Feeling Awkward)

Compliments are lovely - everyone loves getting them (even if they don't admit it) but for some, the ability to accept a compliment can be a little awkward.

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For some of us, compliments make us feel awkward. Yes, we still love them… but they usually sound something like this:

Lovely Person: “You look fantastic today.”

Me: “Umm… Happy Birthday.”

For a lot of people, when we receive a compliment we tend to deflect or deny. Our first response is to disagree with whatever is being said because it makes us uncomfortable or because we genuinely disagree. And what’s worse is we often add a self-insult to further ‘prove’ that we don’t deserve the compliment.

Reactions like this can make us come across as insecure and not confident in who we are and what we have to offer. Rather than reacting awkwardly to a compliment, try a few of these tricks to be able to accept a compliment without sounding like you speak another language.

Compliments are lovely - everyone loves getting them (even if they don't admit it) but for some, the ability to accept a compliment can be a little awkward.

1 – Say Thank You

This is a great starting point and if you’re really having difficulty accepting compliments then it is more than okay to stop right here. Just politely say ‘Thank You’ and then move the conversation on.

2 – Acknowledge the Compliment and Give Credit to Others.

This is a great way for someone who feels awkward in accepting a compliment to respond. For example – if someone says to you ‘Your hair looks fantastic’ you could easily respond with ‘Thank you, my hairdresser is fabulous and takes great care of me’. Alternatively, if your compliment is based on work done within a group, you could use the opportunity to give equal credit to the other members of the group.

The key with this response is to avoid the urge to put yourself down in the process.

3 – Compliment Others Often.

Compliment others and take note of their reactions. How do they respond? How does their response make you feel? We can learn a lot this way. If you compliment someone and they respond by putting themselves down, it can make you feel awkward too – you wouldn’t want to do that to others.

4 – Let Them Know How Much The Compliment Means To You

Sometimes compliments come at just the right time. Maybe you’re feeling low, perhaps you’ve just had a crap morning… then someone tells you you’re looking fabulous or they love the way you’ve…. This has the ability to completely change your day. You could simply respond with ‘Thank you, I really needed to hear that today’.

In a world that is filled with so much negativity, where the news and our news feeds are filled with tragic stories and violence – it’s nice to add some happiness to your day, and to someone else’s.

So I challenge you to think a little more next time someone compliments you. Don’t be so rushed to deflect and deny, say thank you and engage with that person. Then compliment others. Pass on the happiness.

How do you feel about compliments? Do you respond well to them or do you react in the same way as many others by disagreeing? And how do you feel when someone acts that way towards you? Leave your comments below and let me know how you feel about these reactions.


  1. These are great tips. I am HORRIBLE at taking a compliment and always have been. To the point where I’ve actually had my boss pull me aside and tell me I need to work on it because it’s unflattering how bad I am at it! Great tips – thanks for sharing 🙂

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