How to Respond to Compliments (27 Best Ways)

Ever found yourself at a loss for words when someone flattered you? “Do I downplay it? Should I return the compliment?” While compliments are meant to uplift us, they often send us spiraling into a frenzy of awkwardness.

Responding to compliments can be tricky, especially when caught off-guard. But fear not; I’ve got your back. This article will show simple and effective ways to accept compliments gracefully. You’ll learn how to show gratitude, acknowledge effort, express confidence, and so much more.

Let’s get started:

Table of Contents

Understanding Compliments

When we dig a little deeper, it becomes clear that compliments are much more than just kind words:

  • They’re an essential tool for social bonding.
  • They’re a reflection of our self-perception.
  • They have the power to light up certain areas of our brains — yes, you read that right!

Psychologically, compliments can increase our self-esteem and trigger a dopamine release in our brain, that “feel-good” chemical that makes us happy.

Types of Compliments

Not all compliments are created equal. There are:

  • Sincere compliments, where the compliment-giver genuinely appreciates something about you.
  • Manipulative compliments, used to gain favor or advantage — think of the classic “buttering up.”
  • Backhanded compliments, which seem like praise on the surface but carry a negative undertone.

Why We Struggle with Compliments

Many of us struggle to accept compliments graciously, and there are several reasons for this.

It could stem from:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Societal conditioning
  • Fear of appearing arrogant
  • Discomfort with praise

In many cases, we’re unsure how to respond appropriately and fear the response might come off as insincere or conceited.

Sounds complicated? Don’t fret! While it might seem like a daunting task, learning to accept compliments graciously is within your reach. With a bit of understanding and practice, we can all become pros at accepting compliments.

Related: How to Improve Your Self-Esteem – The Ultimate Guide

Did You Know? Neurologically, receiving a compliment is as much a social reward as being given money. A study published in the journal Neuron found that the same area of the brain (the striatum) becomes active when a person is rewarded a compliment or cash!

The Importance of Accepting Compliments Graciously

It Builds Personal Confidence and Self-Esteem

Compliments are like little boosters for our self-esteem. When we accept compliments graciously, we are acknowledging our own worth and the effort we put into our actions.

This acceptance can significantly bolster our confidence and cultivate a healthier self-image.

It Fosters Positive Mental Health

Did you know that accepting compliments can actually boost your mood? Yes, indeed!

When we allow ourselves to take in positive words from others, it increases our sense of self-worth and can even combat feelings of self-doubt, promoting overall mental well-being.

It Strengthens Social Relationships

Responding graciously to compliments is also vital for maintaining healthy relationships. When we accept compliments sincerely, it shows the person complimenting us that we value and appreciate their words.

This acknowledgment can strengthen the bond between people and foster mutual respect.

It Encourages a Cycle of Positivity

Graceful acceptance of compliments can create a positive ripple effect. When you receive a compliment well, it encourages the other person to continue spreading positivity, creating a cycle of kindness and affirmation.

Scenario: A friend compliments your cooking: “Your lasagna is the best I’ve ever tasted!”

  • Don’t: “Oh, it’s just a simple recipe. Nothing special.”
  • Do: “Thank you so much! I’m glad you enjoyed it. It’s a dish I really enjoy making.”

By accepting the compliment graciously, you not only acknowledge your cooking skills but also encourage your friend’s kind words, strengthening your friendship and fostering positivity.


#1: Expressing Simple Gratitude

“Thank You!”

This is the most straightforward way to accept a compliment. It’s a polite and humble way to say that you are grateful for the kind words.

The word “thank you” is one of the most commonly used phrases in English, showing how frequently people express gratitude.

Pro Tip: Maintain eye contact and a sincere smile when you say "Thank you!" to make the interaction more genuine.

“I Appreciate That, Thank You!”

When you say this, you show that you value their compliment. You are letting them know you’ve heard them, and you’re glad for it.

Example: If someone says, "Your presentation was really well-done," you can respond with, "I appreciate that, thank you!"

“How Kind of You to Say!”

This response highlights their kindness in giving you the compliment. By focusing on their kindness, you turn the attention back to them and their positive behavior.

Pro Tip: This response can be particularly effective when the compliment is unexpected or particularly thoughtful.

#2: Acknowledging Accomplishments and Effort

“I’m Touched by Your Words, Thank You!”

This response shows that the compliment has had a deep effect on you. Use this response when the compliment is personal or emotional.

Example: If someone says, "You've really made a difference in my life," a good response would be, "I'm touched by your words, thank you!"

“Thanks. I Put a Lot of Effort Into it.”

This shows that you’ve worked hard on whatever is being complimented.

Example: If someone says, "Your garden looks great," you can reply, "Thanks, I put a lot of effort into it."

This response is a good way to give context to the compliment and subtly indicate that you’ve earned it.

“Thank You, I Learned It From the Best!”

This is a humble way to accept a compliment while also giving credit to others who helped you along the way.

Recognizing the contributions of others can show that you are a team player and appreciate the help of others.

Example: If someone compliments your cooking, you could say, "Thank you, I learned it from the best!" to acknowledge the person who taught you.

“Thanks, Teamwork Makes the Dream Work!”

This phrase gives credit to your team or those who helped you accomplish something. Also, this phrase was popularized by musician John Maxwell, and it emphasizes the power of collaboration.

Did You Know? This phrase highlights the importance of working together as a team to achieve a common goal.

#3: Reflecting on Enjoyment and Mood

“Thank You, I’m Happy You Enjoyed it.”

When you say this, you show satisfaction that something you’ve done has brought enjoyment to others.

Example: If someone compliments your singing at a party, you could say, "Thank you, I'm happy you enjoyed it."

This response can help create a positive and joyful atmosphere, as it reinforces the pleasurable experience that you’ve provided.

“Your Comment Made Me Smile, Thanks!”

This response shares the emotional impact of the compliment and lets the other person know they’ve brightened your day.

Smiling not only expresses joy and appreciation but also releases endorphins, reducing stress and improving mood.

Example: If someone says, "You did a fantastic job organizing the event," you can respond with, "Your comment made me smile, thanks!"

#4: Emphasizing Growth and Improvement

“Wow, Thank You for the Compliment!”

This is an enthusiastic response that shows how much you appreciate their compliment. Use this response when you’re pleasantly surprised by the compliment.

Did You Know? Showing enthusiasm can make the person feel good about giving the compliment, encouraging more positive interactions.

“Thank You, I’m Always Trying to Improve!”

This response demonstrates a growth mindset, showing you’re always striving to get better.

Example: If someone compliments your writing, you can say, "Thank you, I'm always trying to improve!"

A growth mindset, a term coined by psychologist Carol Dweck, is the belief that one’s abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work.

“Thanks for the Encouragement!”

This shows appreciation for their supportive words. This response is particularly effective when the compliment comes at a time when you are facing challenges or needing a boost.

Example: If someone says, "You're getting really good at playing the guitar," you can respond with, "Thanks for the encouragement!"

#5: Building Confidence

“Thank You, I’m Flattered!”

This response shows that their compliment means a lot to you and has boosted your confidence. The word “flattered” implies a sense of pride and satisfaction, reinforcing the positive impact of the compliment.

Example: If someone says, "You look beautiful today," you can say, "Thank you, I'm flattered!"

“Thank You, I’ll Remember Your Words Whenever I Need a Boost of Confidence!”

This shows that their compliment has been uplifting, and you’ll remember it in the future.

Example: If someone says, "You're really great at public speaking," you could say, "Thank you, I'll remember your words whenever I need a boost of confidence!"

This is a great response when the compliment is about a specific quality or skill you have.

“Thank You, I Feel More Confident Now!”

This shows that their compliment has made you feel better about yourself or your abilities.

Example: If someone compliments your performance in a sports game, you can say, "Thank you, I feel more confident now!"

#6: Acknowledging Admiration and Respect

“Thanks, I Appreciate Your Admiration!”

This response directly acknowledges the respect expressed through the compliment.

Respect is one of the fundamental aspects of all healthy relationships, and this response acknowledges and encourages that respect.

Example: If someone says, "I really admire your dedication to your work," you can reply, "Thanks, I appreciate your admiration!"

“That’s a Sincere Compliment, I Really Appreciate it.”

This response shows that you recognize the genuine nature of the compliment.

Example: If someone says, "You have a really big heart," you can respond, "That's a sincere compliment, I really appreciate it."

Use this response when the compliment is especially meaningful or heartfelt.

#7: Accepting Inspiration and Encouragement

“Thank You for Saying That, I Find It Inspiring.”

With this response, you’re acknowledging the motivational power of the compliment.

Compliments not only boost self-esteem but also serve as a source of inspiration, motivating individuals to work harder.

Example: If someone says, "You have a unique way of solving problems," you could respond with, "Thank you for saying that, I find it inspiring."

“Thank You, I’ll Keep Those Words in Mind!”

This response lets the other person know that you’ll remember their kind words as a source of encouragement in the future.

Example: If someone says, "You're really good at managing people," you can respond with, "Thank you, I'll keep those words in mind!"

This is a good response when you’re feeling down or need motivation.

#8: Recognizing Support

“I Couldn’t Have Done It Without Your Support, Thank You!”

This response shows gratitude for both the compliment and the person’s support.

Example: If someone says, "Congratulations on the project, it's a huge success," you can reply with, "I couldn't have done it without your support, thank you!"

Acknowledging the role of others’ support in your success can foster stronger, more supportive relationships.

“Your Acknowledgment Is Much Appreciated, Thank You!”

This shows that their recognition is significant to you. Use this response when the compliment is about a milestone or achievement.

Example: If someone acknowledges your promotion at work, you can say, "Your acknowledgement is much appreciated, thank you!"

“Thank You, Your Endorsement Means a Great Deal to Me.”

Example: If a respected colleague compliments your management style, you can say, "Thank you, your endorsement means a great deal to me."

This indicates that their support, expressed through the compliment, is highly valued by you. An endorsement can significantly influence people’s perceptions, adding weight to this kind of compliment.

#9: Respecting Opinions and Uniqueness

“Thanks, I’m Honored!”

This response shows you value their compliment highly and feel honored by it.

Did You Know? The word "honored" is derived from the Latin word "honos" or "honor", which means esteem or respect.

“Your Words Carry a Lot of Weight, Thank You!”

This highlights the importance of their opinion to you. This response signifies the respect you have for the person giving the compliment.

Example: If an experienced mentor compliments your strategic thinking, you could say, "Your words carry a lot of weight, thank you!"

“Thanks, I Try to Bring a Unique Perspective to Things.”

This acknowledges your distinctive approach or style when accepting the compliment. Uniqueness is one of the most valued qualities in creative industries like:

  • Art
  • Music
  • Writing
Example: If someone says, "Your artwork is so unique," you can respond with, "Thanks, I try to bring a unique perspective to things."

#10: Emphasizing Commitment and Dedication

“Thank You, I’m Just Doing My Best.”

This humble response shows that you are putting in your best efforts.

Example: If someone compliments your work on a project, you can say, "Thank you, I'm just doing my best."

This response is good when you want to underscore your dedication without seeming overly proud.

“Thank You, I’m Committed to Working Hard!”

This response highlights your dedication and hard work. This kind of response can demonstrate your work ethic and determination to those around you.

Example: If someone compliments your progress in training, you could reply, "Thank you, I'm committed to working hard!"

Related: How To Respond To a Compliment at Work (With 50+ Examples)


A Step-by-Step Guide to Gracefully Accepting Compliments

So, you’ve received a compliment. Maybe your heart’s racing a bit, or you’re feeling that flutter of awkwardness. Don’t panic! This foolproof, step-by-step guide to handling those kind words like a pro.

Step 1: Pause, Don’t Rush

First, take a moment to absorb what’s been said. Resist the urge to respond immediately, especially if you’re feeling flustered. A brief pause shows that you’re taking the compliment seriously.

Step 2: Understand the Compliment

What type of compliment is it? Is it about your work, your style, or your personality? Understanding the compliment’s context can help you frame your response better.

Step 3: Show Appreciation with Body Language

Remember, communication isn’t just verbal! Maintain eye contact, smile, and adopt an open posture. This body language conveys that you appreciate the compliment.

Step 4: Respond with a Gracious ‘Thank You’

Keep your response simple and sincere. A straightforward “Thank you” is often the best response. It acknowledges the compliment without adding unnecessary complications.

Step 5: Offer Context or a Compliment Return (Optional)

Depending on the compliment, it can be appropriate to share a related anecdote or give a compliment in return. Be cautious though; you don’t want your response to seem insincere or forced!

Remember! Practice makes perfect. The more you practice these steps, the more naturally you'll find yourself accepting compliments. 

Here are some examples to illustrate these steps in action:

Scenario 1:
Your colleague compliments your presentation: “That was a fantastic presentation. Well done!”
Response: Smile, make eye contact and say, “Thank you! I really worked hard on it. I appreciate your kind words.”

Scenario 2:
A friend compliments your outfit: “You look great in that dress!”
Response: Smile, give a friendly nod and reply, “Thanks! I felt good when I tried it on. Your outfit looks fantastic too!”

Did You Know? Compliment acceptance varies worldwide! In some Asian cultures, it's typical to downplay compliments to show humility. However, in many Western cultures, a simple "thank you" is standard. So, culture can complicate the art of receiving compliments!

Common Mistakes in Accepting Compliments

While we’re all eager to master the art of gracefully accepting compliments, it’s equally crucial to know what not to do:

Mistake 1: Self-Deprecation

One of the most common reactions to compliments is to downplay our achievements or qualities, often in an attempt to appear modest.

While it might seem like a harmless habit, it can send the message that you lack self-confidence or are seeking further validation.

How to Avoid It: Practice self-awareness. When you catch yourself gearing up for a self-deprecating response, switch gears. Instead, opt for a simple “thank you” or share more about the achievement or quality being complimented.

Mistake 2: Brushing Off the Compliment

Brushing off a compliment or changing the subject quickly can appear as if you’re uncomfortable with praise. This might make the compliment-giver feel awkward or underappreciated.

How to Avoid It: Take a moment to genuinely acknowledge the compliment before moving on to another subject. This shows the compliment-giver that you value their kind words.

Mistake 3: Overreacting

While it’s good to show enthusiasm when receiving a compliment, overdoing it might come off as insincere or attention-seeking.

How to Avoid It: Keep your response proportional to the compliment. A simple smile and a heartfelt “thank you” usually suffice!

Pro Tip: Be authentic! The essence of accepting compliments gracefully lies in authenticity. Embrace pride in your achievements and personal qualities without conceit. 

The key is balancing humility with confidence in your strengths.

Scenario:
Your boss compliments you: “You did a fantastic job on this project!”

  • Don’t: “Oh, it was nothing, really. Anyone could have done it.”
  • Do: “Thank you! I put a lot of effort into it, and I’m glad it paid off.”

Remember, each compliment is an opportunity to practice self-love and appreciation from others.


Frequently Asked Questions

Can I deflect a compliment?

While it’s possible to deflect a compliment, it’s usually more polite to accept it graciously.

Compliments are gifts of words, and deflecting them can sometimes seem dismissive or unappreciative.

Is it rude to shrug off or dismiss a compliment?

It can be perceived that way. Dismissing a compliment may unintentionally convey that you don’t value the opinion of the person giving it. Taking the compliment kindly is often the best approach.

What if I don’t believe the compliment I received?

Even if the compliment doesn’t align with your own self-perception, try to accept it graciously. Often, people see great qualities in you that you might not recognize in yourself!

What should I do if I don’t understand a compliment?

If you don’t understand a compliment, it’s okay to ask for clarification. It’s better to understand the compliment fully than to respond inappropriately.

What can I do if someone compliments me on something I didn’t actually do or achieve?

Honesty is the best policy. Kindly clarify the misunderstanding with a response like, “Thank you, but I actually can’t take credit for that. However, I’ll pass along your kind words to the person who did!”


Final Thoughts

Now that you’ve learned different ways to respond to compliments, you’re ready to face any praise with grace and confidence!

Remember, the key is to accept compliments genuinely and thank the giver sincerely. Whether it’s a simple thank you or a more elaborate expression of gratitude, your response can make the moment even more meaningful for both you and the one praising you.

So, the next time you receive a compliment, remember these tips and respond like a pro!

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Jessa Claire is a registered healthcare provider. Music lover. Daydreamer. Thalassophile. Foodie. A hardworking Capricorn. Most days, an incurable empath. An old soul. Down-to-earth. Vibrant.

When she's not writing, she can be seen relaxing with headphones on or engrossed in her favorite fan fiction book.