How Not To Take A Compliment

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Have you ever given someone a compliment, only to have them argue against it, and pretty soon you're vehemently defending your original compliment and wondering if you need to get out of the "hey, cute purse!" business for good? This is super common among women, who tend to deflect compliments with an aggressive form of self-deprecation that borders on self-loathing. It's very awkward, and I'd like to propose a solution: Let's make 2015 the year of graceful compliment acceptance. No more self-deprecating deflections. No more negativity. Let's give ourselves credit for our great taste in shoes and our expertise at work. Let's not hedge or backpedal or explain.

To get things started, here's a quick refresher on how not to take a compliment...

Compliment: "Cute dress!"

What Not To Say: "This? Oh, it's nothing special. I literally found it in a dumpster behind a Baja Fresh. Ugh. Gross. It's gross. I'm gross."

Say This Instead: "Thank you."

Compliment: "Oh my god I love your hair! I would love to learn to braid like that."

What Not To Say: "Dude, I don't even know what I did. I pretty much just woke up like this. I think my cat was playing with my hair while I was sleeping. He deserves all the credit."

Say This Instead: "Hey, thanks!"

Compliment: " You did a great job at the meeting today."

What Not To Say: "Oh man, that was pure luck! Usually I suck at my job and am not capable or competent in any way."

Say This Instead : "Thank you so much!"

Compliment: "Love your shoes."

What Not To Say: "Really? Do you want them? My feet are too fat to do them justice."

Say This Instead: "Thank you!"

Compliment: "That dinner was spectacular. You're such a good cook!"

What Not To Say: "Hmm . . . I suppose it would have been good if I hadn't charred the onions and forgot to add nutmeg to the sauce. Next time I'll save us all the trouble and get a party platter from Subway."

Say This Instead: "Thank you!"

Compliment: "Your eye makeup is on point."

What Not To Say : "I'm just trying to draw attention away from the giant, erupting zit on my chin."

Say This Instead: "Thank you!"

Sensing a pattern yet? No matter how strong your urge to downplay yourself or offer up an opposing argument to a compliment, the best course of action is always a simple, "Thank you." Compliments are little gifts. Give them liberally, re-gift them as necessary, and always accept them with gratitude, even if you're not sure you deserve them. Because if I may say so, you totally do.

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