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Friday, April 6, 2012



Why is it so hard to accept a compliment?  When is a compliment not really a compliment?  How are men’s compliments different from women’s?  When you compliment someone on their appearance or their talent why it is seldom simply graciously accepted?

Women love compliments from men…if they like the man. 

Chris Rock brilliantly points out is one of his routines that a woman will flirtatiously accept a compliment from an attractive man, but if an ugly guy compliments her it is sexual harassment!  He further points out that this is unfair because there is no such thing as a guy who thinks he is ugly.

Women seldom compliment a man they do not know well.

This is understandable, if a guy gets a compliment from a women he usually thinks he is going to get laid.

When women compliment another woman it is almost always played down:

“I love that dress.” 

Typical response, “Oh this old thing?  I’ve had it for years.”

“Oh, your hair looks so nice.”

 Typical response, “Really, do you like this hair color?  I’m still not sure.”

“This pie is delicious.” 

Typical response, “Do you really like it?  It’s an old recipe I just decided to throw together.”

“Oh, I love your shoes, are they new?”

Typical response, “They’re from ‘Target’, twelve ninety-eight.”

“Your boyfriend is hot!” 

Typical response, “Thanks, you caught him on a good day.”

This is because women’s compliments to other women are often very insincere; compliments are only accepted guardedly. 

Men will accept a compliment from other men.  Men do not often compliment others.  When they do, it is usually sincere:

“Nice shot!” 

The response would never be, “Thanks, it was just luck.”  It would more likely be, “Yeah it was!”

“Dude where’da get the cool duds?”

The response would never be, “What, these old things?”  It would more likely be, “Gottem at “The Men’s Shop’ and they set me back a ton.”

“I gotta tell ya, your girlfriend is hot!”

The response would never be, “Were just friends” or “That’s just my cousin.”  It would almost always be, “Yeah baby!”  Followed by a high five or a fist bump.

Sometimes compliments are difficult to accept because they implicitly put down previous appearance or activity.  This is particularly true if the complimented person is paranoid or highly sensitive.

I.E. “Don’t you look thin!”  (Hmmm, how fat did I used to look?)

Recently my brother e-mailed me on one of my blog posts.  He told me he really liked this post, “It was the best you’ve written so far.”

My instinctive first thought was, “What was wrong with the other 280 posts?”

Why is it so hard to just say, “Thank you, that means a lot?”


  1. Women expect other women to downplay the compliments. If a woman were to say to me, "Your husband is so handsome" and I said, 'Yeah, he is!" I would soon find myself off the neighborhood invite list. It's just not considered proper to accept a compliment straight out like that. You have to counter the positive with a negative. You say thanks, but then throw a negative in there quickly so that it won't appear that you think you're all that.

    "Your husband is so handsome"
    "Thanks, but I tell ya, he's a bear to live with!"

    "Your kids are so darn cute!"
    "Aww...thank you. But they drive me crazy!"

    "Your hair looks so great in that short cut!"
    "Thanks! But I had to cut it because my hair is thinning."

    You just have to downplay it by adding a negative, because you don't want other women to think that you think your life is perfect. So you add a negative to show them that you know it's not.

  2. Whenever I compliment my wife on something she's cooked or baked she always says," It doesn't look like the picture on the box" or "I don't think the flavors are right, I think I left something out." It's really annoying.

  3. LOL Ya got us pegged!
    Enjoyed the post, gracias.


  4. Reminds me of the Police Prosecutor who told a witness he "Was lying!" - only to be rebuked by the magistrate for saying such. The next time the witness lied the Prosecutor said "Mr (Smith), I believe you are taking the truth lightly ....{pause for effect} ... and doing so with intent!"

    The court simply burst out in laughter!

  5. Perfect! Boy, did you hit the nail on the head with all this.

    Best post you've ever written! :-)


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