wikiHow to Compliment People

Four Parts:Compliment HelpComplimenting CorrectlyFinding Things to ComplimentSpecific Situations

It feels good to receive a compliment. Compliments bring positive feelings that come because someone has noticed something about you they deemed worthy of praise. Compliments are important components of sociability and are also useful devices for beginning conversations. For some, giving compliments is an uncomfortable venture because of uncertainties. If you can relate to this anxiety, start at Step 1 to learn how to suitably give compliments.

Compliment Help

Sample List of Compliments

Compliment Flirt Cheat Sheet

Sample Compliment Reactions

Part 1
Complimenting Correctly

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    Be genuine. When you say compliments that you don't mean, people can almost always tell. If you really mean the thing you say, they'll be much more likely to believe you and feel good about what you say.
    • Try to look someone in the eye when you compliment them. This helps show that you mean what you're saying.
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    • Being specific in your compliment will also make that compliment sound more genuine. For example, saying "That sweater looks nice on you" isn't nearly as nice sounding as "Your eyes just sparkle when you wear that color".
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    Be respectful. Make sure what you're saying to someone isn't offensive, even if you "mean it to be a compliment". If your compliment is based on their race or their physical appearance, you're venturing into dangerous territory. If your compliment comes with a qualifier (ex. "You look nice for a..."), you probably should just keep it to yourself.
    • For example, telling a woman that she looks so pretty when she wears makeup (which implies that she isn't pretty normally). Another example would be racist compliments, such as saying that a guy is "smart for a black dude".
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    Time compliments carefully. There are some compliments which are inappropriate in certain situations. Make sure you look at the context of what's going on before you compliment someone.
    • For example, complimenting a female coworker on her appearance after she's just given a presentation is demeaning and belittles the hard work she just put in.
    • If you're complimenting someone on doing something very well, such as preparing a meal or giving a great presentation, you should try to do it at the time, in front of everyone else. Having witnesses validates the compliment and gives the receiver a feeling of respect.
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    Don't make it about you. Don't turn a compliment towards someone into a conversation about you. This makes you seem self-centered, and like you only complimented them to fish compliments for yourself or make the conversation about you.
    • For example, don't say something like "You did such a good job with that thing last week. I couldn't have done that. I'm rubbish at it."

Part 2
Finding Things to Compliment

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    Let it come in the moment. The best way to ensure that you sound genuine is to compliment someone when the positive thought comes to you. Basically: speak your mind! If you want to say something nice to someone, just do it instead of planning it out.
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    Focus on things they control. When you're complimenting someone, it's best to focus on complimenting things that are under their control (such as their personality, their accomplishments, etc.). This will help them to feel secure in that positive feedback, rather than creating worry that they might lose the thing that other people find valuable.
    • For example: "I love how you interact with little kids. You're so patient!" or "You did a great job on that poster! I just can't stop looking at it!"
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    Focus the compliment on them. You want to actually compliment them, not some inanimate object. For example,"You look fabulous in that sweater!" is better than, "I like how that sweater looks on you."
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    Look for things that they value. If you're trying to come up with something to compliment someone on, try to look at the things that you know they value. Look back on your interactions with them and think about things they talked about, or just pay more attention to this in the future.
    • For example, if you notice your girlfriend looking sadly at another girl's clothes and saying that she wished she could dress like that, tell her how much you love how she dresses and that you didn't even notice the other girl.
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    Look for things that they struggle with. Another indicator you can look at is what someone struggles with. If they're trying to lose weight, praise their hard work and determination (but not the loss of weight itself). If they put a ton of effort into a report, praise them for the quality.

Part 3
Specific Situations

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    Compliment a stranger.
    • Avoid overly familiar compliments, like compliments about their sexual characteristics.
    • Compliment things they obviously take pride in, such as a very nice coat, a well-kept car, or a hand-made accessory.
    • Compliment their actions or something you witness, such as after you see them be very nice to a cashier. This removes most of the creep factor.
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    • Example: "Thank you for being so kind with that man. It's hard to be patient in that situation. I'm really impressed with how you handled it."
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    Compliment a romantic interest.
    • Don't compliment expecting anything in return. Just because you're nice to someone doesn't mean they owe you anything. They don't even owe it to you to be flattered by the compliment.
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    • Compliment them with your actions. In romance, doing something nice for someone can often be more effective than saying something nice to someone.
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    • Sometimes, just telling them how attractive you find them is enough. Especially if they're already dating you.
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    • Example: "I love it when you smile. It just lights up the whole room."
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    Compliment a coworker.
    • Keep it appropriate. Awkward work compliments can bring on all sorts of trouble. Use the grandma test: if you wouldn't say it to your grandmother, don't say it to your coworker.
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    • Shoot for compliments on their work. This can also help avoid awkwardness.
    • Compliment them to or in front of your boss. This shows not only how much you mean it but that you think they are worthy of even higher commendation.
    • Example: "Hey, Mr. Banks, did you see how Sally handled that last customer? You would have been so proud. Some of the best customer service I've ever seen."


  • Be genuine: people can tell!


  • Don't be insulting.

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Categories: Compliments