8 Amazing Benefits of Giving Compliments and How to Do It Well
“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”― Leo F. Buscaglia
Do you often tell people what you admire about them?
I don’t mean the five people you’re closest to. I mean far beyond that. What about people in general? I don’t mean random strangers in the streets. But that’s okay too.
But do you?
If you do, here goes a few pointers about why you’re doing something amazing, how it’s improving your life, how to do it better.
If you don’t, I’ll tell you what you may be missing out on.
This is what happens when you give compliments, often.
1. You Learn to Shift Your Focus Out of Negativity
You don’t necessarily have to struggle with internal negativity — like worries and insecurities — to enjoy this benefit. But if you do, this can go a long way.
Even if you’re a deliberately positive person, being affected by the negativity present elsewhere is inevitable.
Every moment spent paying attention to the good in others is a moment spent away from negativity — be it within yourself or around you.
2. You Cultivate Gratefulness
When you admit out loud something about someone that makes you light up, and do it often, you grow more thankful for their presence in your life.
Especially since the pandemic began, I’ve become more aware of how understanding and supportive my friends and family are. Despite the distance and conversations getting limited to Zoom and its friends, I get a fresh dose of gratitude every day as I acknowledge their goodness.
Whenever I tell my fellow creatives how great they are, how their work encourages me to do better, my world lights up a lot brighter.
I wouldn’t be as happy as I am had I not been surrounded by such amazing, inspiring people.
3. You Get Confidence Boosts in Return
When you tell people what you like about them, you are likely to hear some good stuff about yourself.
Sometimes we can be great at something and still be chronically doubtful of our capacities.
Giving a compliment already makes you overcome part of that insecurity by the admission of other people’s good qualities.
Getting one in return completes the circle.
It leaves you with a little bit more assurance that you are much more than what you see in yourself.
4. You Grow a Supportive Network
This is an outcome of regular doses of #2 and #3.
By generously expressing what you like about others, you make others feel good about them and allow them to make you feel good about yourself.
This positive exchange nurtures a warm connection.
You feel safe and supported when you are around people who admire you.
In times of difficulty, these people are easier to reach out to and they are likely to lend a hand in your need of support — moral or otherwise.
5. You Visualize Your Goals Through Others
When you give compliments, you admit something good about someone to yourself first. Meaning, not only do you say it as you see it, you actually have a fondness within yourself for that quality — not just the person.
If you have an interest in composing music, your appreciation for those who do it well will be more intense than that of someone who has little care for it.
By giving compliments to people for their talent or mastery in an area you aim to excel, your goals become more observable. You see your target milestones in them.
6. You Overpower Envy
It’s not unnatural to feel envious of someone’s good qualities when we would like to have those qualities ourselves.
But envy is toxic when left untreated.
Giving compliments makes you put yourself out there and be vulnerable to acknowledgment that someone is better at something than you. And it’s a healthy route to take.
This can cause a competitor to become a friend or even a role model. And you stand to learn a lot more from them than you would otherwise.
7. You Reconstruct Attention Around Yourself
In the age of social media, it isn’t easy to find people who say no to mass flattery. Sometimes we unknowingly draw attention to ourselves out of habit or a subconsciously built need for constant validation.
Giving compliments can be a great treatment for it — if done well and often.
Telling others what you like about them redirects attention away from you. Instead, people become appreciative of how good you are at finding beauty in others, and in the process, you draw kind souls towards you.
8. You Find it Easier to Stay Happy
This is the sum of what we discussed until now.
Seeing good around you, drawing admirable people towards you, focusing on the positive, building a hub of inspiration — all of that together has the superpower to fortify your happiness against everyday struggles.
When people reassure you about your goodness, it’s harder to get overpowered with guilt.
When they help you see your capacity, it’s harder to feel powerless.
When they say you inspire them, they, in turn, inspire you to keep faith.
Living in an environment like that makes life’s battles many times easier.
What are Good Compliments Made of?
To truly enjoy the benefits of expressing what you like about others, you cannot afford to be half-invested.
It should not be a chore but rather a process of internal change. You have to let it transform the way you look at the world around you and focus on what gives you and others joy, inspiration, and reassurance.
Keep these things in mind as you embrace this habit:
Unless you mean what you say, all the fireworks and confetti will sum up to nothing.
People can read into pretense more often than we think. And we do ourselves no favor by faking.
A good compliment doesn’t have to be over-the-top. It can be simple.
But it has to be honest.
“Carol is nice” is fine. “Carol always makes us smile” is good. “Carol has a way of making everyone around her happy with her kindness and humor” is better.
Compliments are about noticing things about people.
If you notice particular things about someone, give yourself the freedom to go specific. People appreciate it when others notice nice little things about them.
It also tells them you’re paying attention — something rare and desired.
Imagine you tell someone they sing really well. And you never really end up asking what inspired them and how they manage to do so well.
Your admiration tastes bland and you forgo a chance to know someone.
Be curious. Go deeper.
People usually love to talk about what they do well, especially when you show genuine admiration and curiosity for it.
Sometimes great friendships are made of these!
Once I told a friend how good he is with the camera. He responded with “not as good as you!”
He was being too nice. I think he’s great.
But it made me feel wonderful. To be appreciated by someone you admire is a great feeling, especially when they give you a level-up in for the same qualities.
Sometimes the best compliments are the ones expressed to reciprocate.
Can you remember a compliment that had a long-lasting effect on you? Why was it good? How did it make you feel?
Maybe a lot of answers are there too.