“That’s because you’re smart,” I tell her. I mean it. She’s brilliant and it’s one of the things I love most about my fiance.
“Sometimes,” she responds. She does it in a cute voice, but she’s sincere. She takes the compliment, and she knows I mean it.
Taking compliments at face value and accepting them as truth is hard. It’s sometimes really hard. A lot of us have learned to refuse compliments. I think this is really problematic. It makes it hard for us to feel good about our good qualities and it makes it harder for people to GIVE compliments too. Finding a way to accept a compliment that is also a little funny helps, at least for me. It decreases the tension and fear of sounding conceited.
A response my ex-girlfriend uses is also one of my favorites. When someone compliments part of her body* she often says “Thanks! I made it myself!” I have picked up this habit too, and I find it makes hearing compliments about my physical appearance MUCH easier to accept. It has the added benefit of being funny enough that it usually makes the person giving the compliment laugh, making me feel both attractive AND funny. This exchange increases joy all around.
How do you feel about compliments? How do you respond when someone compliments you? Do you have any compliment-taking jokes, or other good ways to accept compliments gracefully?
The Afternoon Inqueery (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Queereka community. Look for it every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday at 3pm ET.
*This applies only in situations where the compliment on her appearance is wanted and appropriate – not when someone’s being creepy.