How to: Receive a compliment

A concise guide to the often avoided territory of accepting lavish praise or the odd nice comment.

Compliments. They make you feel good, and then they make you feel bad. You can’t help but think: did they really mean it? Is there a secondary motive? Do they want to sleep with me? Suddenly you become a pessimist, sucked into a crisis of flattery. And boy, do you retaliate, nonchalantly boomeranging the little buggers back and forth until you find yourself trapped in a vortex of vacuous to-ing and fro-ing:

“Beautiful shoes!” “Thanks, your boob job looks so natural!” “Oh does it? So does your nose!”

And so it goes, until one of you panics, tottering off in search of less lavishly complimenting acquaintances. It doesn’t need to be this way. The compliment isn’t necessarily a vehicle to show off so long as you treat it with caution. The trick to taking a compliment – according the few who don’t blush and stutter at the very whiff of one – is to smile, and simply say ‘thanks’. That’s it. No gushing, questioning, deflecting, denying or petty questions of reassurance necessary. Stop at ‘thank you’ and smoothly move on to less debilitating topics. You’re welcome.

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