Respond Elegantly Whenever Someone Gives You a Compliment


For many years I have worked as a professional tour director leading groups of seniors on first-class sightseeing trips throughout the United States and Canada. In the role of a tour director, I’ve been in the unique position of receiving numerous compliments and complaints from the passengers on my trips. As a result, I have a lot of practice handling both situations in a professional manner.

Complaints are actually the flip-side of compliments and both are forms of feedback on how well a person does their job. For complaints, I immediate that full responsibility by apologizing for any mistakes, promising never to do any such things again, and thanking the person for their valuable feedback. I do so in the most professional manner possible.

As far as compliments go, I also treat them with similar care. What I do is say “Thank you” and then add, “You’re so kind,” “That’s a nice thing for you to say,” or more informally “It’s really cool of you to say that.” If I am truly touched by the emotion of their compliment, I will tilt my head a bit, smile, and nod as well.

I fully realize that a compliment is a gift of emotion from the other person. And just like any kind of physical gift, it is my job to accept it graciously rather than throw it back in their face with denial. I will even accept the compliment if I don’t feel like it is completely warranted. That’s because I want the sender to feel validated and acknowledge the kindness they showed me in their act of giving.

The Bottom Line

Look at compliments as an unexpected opportunity to give back to the sender and demonstrate a level of class on your part as well. This is a lot better than being unprepared for compliments and having the sender wish that they never offered it to you in the first place. This simple and powerful idea will serve you well in dating, love relationships, and everyday conversations with friends and colleagues.