Compliment Etiquette

Aimee Symington was on Charlotte Today talking about how to give and receive a compliment. To view the segment please click here or go to

A compliment given from the heart can make others feel good about themselves, can break the ice with a stranger, defuse stress, lift spirits, or tighten a bond.

A compliment is a two-way gift that benefits the giver and receiver alike. Compliments are always socially proper, if sincerely extended and appropriate to the person and context.


  • Avoid complementing the opposite gender on their physical features especially if you don’t know them very well.
  • Don’t get too personal especially if in a work environment. Like “That blue dress looks beautiful on you and it really matches your eyes” – this is great to say on a date but not appreciate in the office. Better to be more general and say “That is a very pretty dress”.
  • Don’t give a complement that ends in “today” like “Your hair looks good today”.
  • Don’t give cookie-cutter complements that seems like you say it to everyone. Like “I like your hair”.
  • Don’t overdo the complements so it seems insincere.


Compliment Etiquette: HOW TO COMPLIMENT A CHILD

  • Don’t over complement or praise a child because it can sound fake and kids see right through that and then they can think that whatever they do is “perfect” and “amazing”. This can also cause kids to think they don’t have to push themselves or work harder because you are already proud of them in everything they do. Also, then they cannot distinguish between what they have done that really is amazing.
  • Focus and comment on what they did and not on who they are. So, instead of saying “You are an amazing artist”, say “I love this painting you did because the colors are so vibrant”. Because if they get a bad grade on their next painting they question themselves because you said they were a great artist!
  • Show a complement in actions like putting up the painting that the child did on the refrigerator for all to see.



  • Be sincere and respectful.
  • Complement at appropriate times so it doesn’t seem like you’re just sucking up.
  • Think of how the complement would sound to others if you are in public.


Compliment Etiquette: SOME DON’TS OF COMPLIMENTS

  • Don’t give a complement in the hopes of getting something in return!
  • Don’t give a bank-handed compliment like “You look younger in person” or “You look great now that you have lost all the weight”.
  • If someone gives you a compliment don’t think you have to give them a compliment immediately because then it just seems fake!


Compliment Etiquette: HOW TO TAKE A COMPLIMENT

  • ONLY response is “Thank you!” with a smile with positive energy. NOT “oh no, my hair looks horrible I didn’t have time to do it.” Or, “This dress is old and it makes me look fat”.
About the author

Leave a Reply