Monday, 6 June 2016

The Underrated Art of Accepting a Compliment


I met up with a group of friends last week.

"You look lovely!" one said, giving me a big hug.

Not an unusual greeting by any means, and yet I reacted as if I'd just been put on the spot and asked to give a speech on Tanzanian politics.

"Nooohsdhcnjtyxsoowciylshzo," I replied.

She looked surprised. "I have no idea what you just said."

It was then that my whole life flashed before me and I realised that I have always been terrible at accepting compliments.

On my wedding day, the priest said, "That's a beautiful dress."

Instead of saying thank you, I immediately informed him that it was from the Sale rail and hadn't cost half as much as it looked.

Does anyone else do this? Try to undermine a compliment by giving the person the price of your outfit?

l like your dress! - This old thing? It only cost a tenner.
I like you shoes! -  No, they're only Primark.

I want to just be able to say: THANK YOU.

I don't think it's because I'm modest either. 

I have a similar problem when I write birthday cards. I can't stand leaving a blank space so I scribble across the two sides until I've made an inarticulate mess. Invariably I'll make a spelling mistake or repeat a word (a TERRIBLE thing for a writer to do!) and so turn the error into a doodle of a fluffy sheep, a cunning trick passed down by my Mum. 

The trouble is it's much harder to produce a fluffy sheep off the page when I'm trying to cover up for an inarticulate response to how lovely I look. 




5 comments:

Lindsay said...

Perhaps you should keep some very small fluffy sheep in your pocket and just produce one every time you receive a compliment.

It's so silly, that so many of us do exactly as you say, and brush off compliments when all we have to say is 'thank you.' That's it! Just 'thank you.'

Now go and practise!

Steve Gray said...

It's like apologising for the gift you're about to give, that they haven't even seen yet. You've probably already got one , I've still got the receipt, it's probably not your thing/ colour/size etc etc..

Emily Benet said...

@Lindsay I think it'll be easier to practise Thank you than always having mini sheep at the ready! I'll try my best!

@SteveGray That made me laugh! It's so true. That one sounds quite British, don't you think?!

Jane Martin said...

I SO identify with all of this. Relieved I'm not the only one who does that with birthday cards. I'm better with compliments since someone told me that by denigrating the outfit or whatever you are actually denigrating the opinion of the person who has paid the compliment, in effect saying their view is worthless or wrong. I hadn't thought about it that way before. It certainly helps.

Emily Benet said...

Funny you should mention that @JaneMartin - I read that opinion in the Wiki How of accepting compliments! I hadn't thought about it like that either! :)