I have very complicated thoughts about compliments. Like others I generally accept the odd compliment from someone as an effort to make me feel good. However, I appreciate the substance of the compliment more when I value that person’s opinion. One of the things I’ve noticed is that I much prefer to receive compliments from people who I feel I have some sort of relationship with rather than strangers. When a person I find attractive thinks I’m hot, that is when I’m greatly affected by the compliment and the nature of it, or even more so when it’s someone whom I love (or who I know loves me). I think it’s similar to being lusted after by someone who I feel the same tension and intensity towards. Compliments from strangers can be invigorating and empowering, but when I know next to nothing about the person complimenting me, it can take away from the effect that the intent of a compliment has on me. Even though it’s nice to get them in all situations, what I find interesting is when I have some connection with that person, the compliment feels better because I am more easily able to understand the context and subtext of where they are coming from.
Call me jaded, but I can’t help but to get suspicious of compliments when they are repeated way too often and/or out of context. I hate when I get compliments from people who are methodically trying to “butter me up” because they want a favor (that they have no intention of ever repaying). I would NEVER offer someone a hollow compliment. I always mean what I say when I’m pointing out something of interest to somebody in the form of a compliment; I wouldn’t just say it. Admittedly, I have a couple of friends that I do often say things to privately as opposed to when we’re in a group setting, because I am appreciative of our bond and I don’t want what I have t say to get drowned out or lost amongst the crowd and their reaction(s).
I have to admit that it is a tricky business for a man to compliment a woman, especially when it relates to her attractiveness. Physical compliments are very easy to give, which is why they can be easily overlooked. When I compliment someone’s personality, I believe that those have a far greater impact and stick with them much longer. Knowing the person you’re complimenting can effortlessly turn a physical compliment into something much deeper and it’s received very differently depending on the type of relationship you have and the level of openness that is allowed. An example of this is when you tell someone it “looks as if they lost some weight”, as if that’s a good thing. The problem with that is that it suggests or insinuates that you’ve been thinking that they needed to lose weight for a while.
Now for the thing that separates a genuine compliment from giving “kudos”; actions. Actions, whether following a compliment or just on their own can express a compliment better than words. Like eating someone’s cooking or looking at someone’s photos or writing, or even using someone’s services when appropriate show that you actually think highly and sincerely of them. I will admit that I’m terrible at receiving compliments, people often says I am too modest or self-deprecating.
What do you think?