When praise makes you cringe, it can be really hard to know how to reply to a compliment without coming across as awkward or rude.
Knowing how to reply to a compliment properly is a great tool in your personal and professional life. Proper receipt of compliments shows that you know you are good at your job without seeming over-confident.
The trick is to receive a compliment graciously without seeming uncomfortable or overconfident, but this isn’t always easy… especially for introverts.
What’s the deal with compliments?
Introverts can find it really difficult to accept a compliment, and knowing how to reply to a compliment even harder. There are a few reasons why introverts find it hard to accept compliments, and it’s not always just a lack of self-esteem as people seem to think.
1. It catches you off guard
When we get focused on a task, we forget how much effort we put into our work. So, when someone gives us a compliment for our hard work, we get caught off guard.
We don’t always have time to think of an appropriate response when we are surprised and we seem awkward. Introverts can’t always think as fast when caught off guard in social situations, so knowing how to reply to a compliment doesn’t come right away.
2. It puts the attention on you
Introverts don’t feel the need to be in the spotlight all the time, and sometimes don’t even like it. Compliments immediately put us in the spotlight, so it can be difficult to know how to react.
When we don’t know how to react, we don’t know how to reply to a compliment, leaving us feeling awkward and uncomfortable.
3. Compliments don’t come often
Introverts don’t make a show of themselves very often. They are happy to be a bit of a wallflower and, although they are hard workers, they don’t tend to show off their achievements.
If your achievements go unnoticed, you may not be used to it and not know how to reply to a compliment when you get one.
4. The compliment doesn’t feel genuine
Sometimes, we may feel like a compliment isn’t genuine. Perhaps someone is trying to get us to do something, or they are being sarcastic. A simple way to tell whether a compliment is genuine or not is the person it comes from.
If they are judgemental or over-ambitious, the compliment may not be sincere. However, if they are a person who generally acts honestly and takes an interest in others, they are most likely complimenting you because you truly deserve it.
How to reply to a compliment graciously
For introverts, the automatic response to a compliment is deflection, but this can come across as rude or ungrateful. Knowing how to reply to a compliment in advance can help you seem much more comfortable when you receive one.
1. Don’t Deflect
Introverts automatically tend to divert attention from themselves by deflecting compliments. If you want to respond graciously to a compliment, you have to fight the urge to deflect the attention and dismiss your achievement. Try not to say things like ‘it’s nothing’ or ‘don’t mention it’ because this may leave future achievements left without praise.
2. Let the compliment stand
If you believe the compliment to be genuine, let it hold its ground. Try not to brush it off or rush past it, give compliments the time they deserve. Compliments are important for our self-esteem and our career progression. They let others see how important we are, as well as how important we are to ourselves.
3. First, say thank you
Once you have resisted the urge to deflect the attention, say ‘thank you’. In most cases, this is enough to receive a compliment, but to receive a compliment graciously, it is always polite to reciprocate.
This doesn’t mean you have to find something to reciprocate with; a simple ‘that’s so kind of you to say’, or ‘you’re so sweet to notice’ is a great way to reciprocate without looking disingenuous.
4. Body Language
When we feel caught off guard, we may quickly get defensive in our body language. This can make any receipt of a compliment feel awkward. Watch how you react. Try not to cross your arms or slouch; stand up straight, smile and maintain eye contact with your complimentor.
The more relaxed you are, the more confident you will seem. Eventually, this will be how you receive all your compliments and your confidence will rise alongside it.
Compliments are a tricky business. It’s vital to know how to reply to a compliment so you don’t seem unsure of yourself, or too sure of yourself. With practice, replying to compliments becomes easier and before you know it, it will be second nature.
Hard work deserves recognition. Sometimes, it just takes a little while to challenge our inner critic and get used to receiving praise when we truly deserve it.
By Francesca F.