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Why You Hate Compliments and How to Feel Good About Them

Audrey's desire to help others understand human behavior led her to study psychology. She specialises in Self-Limited Thinking.

It's actually rude to trash a compliment.  Accept the compliment with grace and a simple "thank you."

It's actually rude to trash a compliment. Accept the compliment with grace and a simple "thank you."

The #1 Reason You Don't Like Compliments

You certainly weren't born to not like compliments. In early child development, praise and compliments go hand-in-hand with progression and building self-confidence.

Then why do some people like being complimented and others hate it? Let me ask you another question. How's your self-esteem? According to Guy Winch, Ph. D., low self-esteem is the #1 reason we are so quick to reject a compliment.

For example: If you believe that you're a boring person and someone tells you how interesting you are, you're going to feel uncomfortable with hearing this. It just doesn't ring true with your belief system. So you think you're being lied to or that the person is just trying to make you feel better. Deep down inside, you believe that others share the same low opinion about you that you carry around about yourself. Think about this for a minute.

But isn't it possible that someone else may find you interesting and comfortable to be around? Maybe they grew up with parents that yelled a lot, so upon hearing your softer spoken words comes a welcome relief. They want to be around you. They are attracted to you. It's elementary when you stop to think about it.

The bottom line is that how receptive we are to compliments reflects our feelings of self-worth. Now, I'm not saying that everyone on the planet rejects compliments because they have low self-esteem. Many people with a healthy dose of self-worth don't like compliments for other reasons. However, as I said at the beginning of this article, low self-esteem is the #1 reason.

Harsh criticism lowers self-esteem. It's a good way to lose friends.

Harsh criticism lowers self-esteem. It's a good way to lose friends.

Three Reasons We Dismiss Compliments

If you feel that anyone who compliments you must have a dark, ulterior motive for doing so, or you have a general distrust of people, you may find yourself grouped into one of these three environments:

  1. Growing up in an over-critical family causes you to suffer from low self-esteem. You received little praise, so you grew to feel uncomfortable.
  2. Being a perfectionist is another reason for not liking compliments. Your expectations are high and unrealistic. You feel that you don't deserve the praise directed to you.
  3. Social Anxiety Disorder is a mental disorder that affects your behavior and your emotions. This social phobia is another cause for hating compliments. You avoid situations that might cause you to be the center of attention.

Social phobia affects about 15 million American adults, men, and women, equally.

 Teach others that they are worthy of every compliment given to them.

Teach others that they are worthy of every compliment given to them.

It's Not Always All About You

The way a person perceives you isn't always just about you. If I'm happy with myself, I'm going to be pleased with you. You don't have to be a celebrity chef for me to enjoy and praise your lasagna. You may feel that you could have done better and that your lasagna needs more spices. At the very moment, you are being critical of yourself, I shout out, "Love your lasagna." But because you're feeling insecure about yourself, you have a hard time believing me.

Well, I've got news for you—it's not about you. I love the taste of your delicious lasagna. It was the best I've ever had. I have a right to share this with you. Get over yourself, accept my compliment, and thank me. I've spoken my truth. If you can't believe me, that's because your insecurities are chatting away inside your head. " I've made this lasagna so much better before."

Are You Oversensitive?

Merriam-Webster defines sensitivity as follows:

  • "The tendency to become upset about things that are done to you, are said about you, or relate to you."
  • "The capacity of being easily hurt."
  • "The quality or state of being hypersensitive."

All three of these definitions applied to me until I learned to stop making assumptions. I lived in a state of being hypersensitive. Depression raised its ugly head in uncontrollable spurts. I even managed to convince myself I knew what other people were thinking about me. (Enter, the ego).

Then one day, the dark clouds parted, and a light came shining through. This light I speak of came to me in the form of a book entitled The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. He talks about making assumptions about what other people are doing or thinking and how we take it personally. We end up creating a whole big drama.

As I read and studied "The Four Agreements," I soon learned to stop taking anything personally. Oh, I slipped a few times, but I kept trying. Whatever happens around you, don't take it personally.

Chapter Four in Ruiz's book begins with "Don't Make Assumptions." He begins: "We have the tendency to make assumptions about everything. The problem with making assumptions is that we believe they are the truth. We swear they are real. We make assumptions about other people, about what they are doing and thinking We take it personally. Ruiz explains so clearly that nothing other people do is about you. "The Four Agreements" taught me more about personal freedom, transforming my life, than any other single book. Author, Deepak Chopra, said, "Don Miguel Ruiz's book is a roadmap to enlightenment and freedom.

Wisdom from the Four Agreements (Mini Book)

A Summary of Tips and Facts

  • The number 1 reason for hating compliments is due to low self-esteem.
  • Growing up in an over-critical environment, you receive little praise, which makes you feel uncomfortable with compliments as you grow older.
  • Being a perfectionist place you in a position where you never are 'good enough to deserve a compliment.
  • Social Anxiety Disorder affects your behavior and attitudes about receiving compliments. You live in a fear-based situation.
  • A given compliment is not always about you. It's about the person giving the praise.
  • Learn how to stop 'dismissing' and rejecting compliments.
  • Practice accepting compliments and praise in a kind and gentle manner. Just two words are needed, "Thank You."
Avoiding eye contact is a sign of  low self-esteem.  Receive a compliment by making eye contact along with a smile.

Avoiding eye contact is a sign of low self-esteem. Receive a compliment by making eye contact along with a smile.

Ways We Dismiss Compliments

You would think that receiving a compliment is an area where people certainly do not need help. But think about how many times you've heard someone (not you, of course) respond to a compliment this way:

Example 1

  • Complimenter: You gave a great talk yesterday.
  • Complimentee: It was no big deal . . . it was really ordinary.

Instead of graciously receiving the compliment, it was denied, and the complimenter's judgment was discounted.

Example 2

  • Complimenter: That's a great-looking shirt.
  • Complimentee: So's yours!

Here, the attention is diverted away from the compliment, and an obligatory compliment is given in return. Do you see what's wrong here? The return compliment feels very stiff and formal. It makes the other person feel uncomfortable for having made the original compliment.

It isn't proper to look for ways to reject or downgrade a compliment. We dismiss the compliment when we do this, which deflects its very significance and value.

Example 3

  • Complimenter: You play like a pro.
  • Complimentee: Yeah, well, I need to go now.

This time the compliment is entirely ignored, and you come off sounding rude.

Example 4

  • Complimenter: You all sounded outstanding tonight.
  • Complimentee: Yeah, right. We were one big mess.

How To Accept a Compliment

Learn how to receive kind words. Practice this skill until you get it right.

  • The right way to accept a compliment is with pleasure and gratitude. Many people show disrespect to themselves when fumbling for the right words to say. You don't have to do this. Just smile and say, " Thank you. I appreciate that."
  • I'll bet you don't realize that it's rude when you don't accept a compliment. It comes close to calling the other person a liar. When someone is complimenting you, try not to find fault with yourself mentally. Concentrate on what they are saying.
  • A compliment is like a gift. You wouldn't turn down a gift from someone. That would insult them. All you have to do to accept a compliment is to say "Thank you." Practice doing this.

Don't trash a compliment; bask in it. Absorb the loveliness of the moment.

Tips To Boost Self-Esteem

You measure your level of self-worth through your self-esteem. Self-esteem can apply directly to a specific dimension (I believe I'm a good writer) or (I think I'm a terrible person.) quotes Erik Erikson in speaking of the value of loving oneself, "A person with healthy self-esteem accepts and loves themselves unconditionally, acknowledging both virtues and faults in the self, and yet, despite everything, can continue to love themselves.

Do not confuse this love of self with the shared Narcissistic love of the ego, which is a symptom of low self-esteem.

Wear your self-esteem like armor against the challenges you face each day.

  • Stop referring to yourself as "stupid," "ugly" or any other negative reference.
  • Choose friends that build you up, not ones that tear you down. A friend will bring out the best in you.
  • Learn to forgive yourself. Do not dwell on the negative.
  • See situations objectively. "I did the best I could, and I'm proud of myself."
  • Volunteer often and contribute to your community which will have a positive effect on your self-esteem.
  • Take responsibility and pride in who you are.
  • Practice resiliency, assertiveness, and well-being.
  • Choose your thoughts carefully as well as your perceptions. Focus on your positive qualities.

Strive for a healthy balance of self-esteem. Avoid a feeling of superiority and arrogance. At the same time, avoid negative, low self-esteem. Isn't it time to like and respect yourself? You deserve happiness and success. You are a unique diamond. Rinse off all negativity and sparkle and shine.

Final Thoughts

Compliments and praise are a natural part of living. Positive feedback is essential for the validation of self-image. I firmly believe this. Have you thought about what compliments are? A compliment is an outward expression of the acceptance and admiration of others. Compliments are positive recognition of things we possess.

These things can be as simple as a piece of clothing or a vehicle, or they may be more complex issues such as appearance, friendliness, or trustworthiness. Most people don't compliment you for the sake of it. They mean what they say.

If someone cares enough to tell you, "great job." accept the compliment with grace and dignity.

Review the following quotes:

"As long as you look for someone else to validate who you are by seeking their approval, you are setting yourself up for disaster. You have to be whole and complete in yourself. No one can give you that. You have to know who you are—what others say is irrelevant."―Nic Sheff

"The man who does not value himself cannot value anything or anyone."―Ayn Rand, The Virtue of Selfishness


  1. An interesting study on the benefit of compliments in the workplace.
  3. LIEBOWITZ SOCIAL ANXIETY SCALE (LSAS-SR)* This measure assesses the way that social phobia plays a role in your life across a variety of situations. Read each situation carefully and answer two questions about that situation.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2014 Audrey Hunt


Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on April 02, 2020:


Thanks for reading my article. I'm glad to hear that you're comfortable with receiving compliments now. Good for you! Take good care of yourself.

Hi Rochelle

Many of us feel uncomfortable with being complimented for many reasons - undeserving is the #1 reason. Some, feel that they are not being humble, and others are simply embarrassed.

You are a diamond, Rochelle. You are a treasure. You are a light, so let your light shine. You are a perfect child of God. He created you. Love what He created. Be safe, stay well and blessings to you.

Rochelle Ann De Zoysa from Moratuwa, Sri Lanka on April 01, 2020:

Although getting a compliment is exciting , I too used to think that I'm boring as a person since I don't have a lot to talk about and when I was encouraged to talk by others saying that I'm interesting, I always found it difficult to accept it. Even I had perfectionist quality when in my work as a seamstress I did find it difficult to accept the client's compliment for doing a job well done. I am quick to compliment and encourage others, but my mom says that while I do that, I have a tendency to put myself down which is not healthy. This article is an eye opener for me :) Great work :) Hope you are safe and healthy. Take care and God bless you!

Sherry Haynes on September 02, 2018:

Very well written article. I used to dislike compliments a couple of years ago. Among many reasons, hearing them say that to everybody was one. People just seemed ingenuine. Now I feel its easy to say thank you. I donno what has changed so far but am happy I sound confident and that feels good.

Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on March 15, 2015:

ezzly - Many women say this when they receive a compliment. It comes from the feeling that we don't deserve the compliment. But we do. Try to avoid feeling this way. You are beautiful!

ezzly on February 07, 2015:

This is a great read voted up and sharing ! As an Irish woman I'm terrible for shunning compliments, what we do here, if someone says we look nice, we'll say oh I got this outfit in a charity store or something instead of saying thanks !

Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on February 03, 2015:

Minnetonka Twin

Thanks for being here and for leaving your thoughts on this subject. Many people just don't know how to compliment, so it comes off sounding ingenuine.

Enjoy your day.


Linda Rogers from Minnesota on February 03, 2015:

What a great idea for a hub Audrey. I guess for the most part, I enjoy compliments. The only time I don't like it is when I feel it is ingenuine. Nice article Audrey :)

Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on January 11, 2015:


Your comments confirm that by my writing this hub, I've helped others and it makes me so happy to hear this!

It truly is about self-esteem isn't it? I appreciate your vote up and useful. Thank you my friend.


savvydating on January 11, 2015:

I really liked that you listed the reasons why we have a difficult time accepting compliments. I hadn't thought that perfectionism may be one of the culprits, but it makes sense. You are so right in saying that we should never dismiss a compliment. Generally speaking, most of us don't realize that we are indeed being rude in doing so. This article is a true eye-opener. I appreciate that you've written about this important topic which really is about building better self-esteem, when all is said and done. Up & Useful

Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on January 06, 2015:

No problem. This must be frustrating for you. Hope things clear up soon. I've had problems with autocorrect myself.

Debra Allen from West Virginia on January 06, 2015:

I think my keyboard is broke....or something. Maybe it is that autocorrect, but anything that I type is correct and spelled right and then I come back hours later and find missing letters and such. hmmm. Sorry for the typos and that you could read my comment.

Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on January 06, 2015:


You are not alone. Many of us feel this way. Just remember, you do deserve compliments. Thank you.

Lady Guinevere

I'm so glad to know that my article was helpful. This makes me feel so good. Thank you my friend. Happy New Year.

Debra Allen from West Virginia on January 04, 2015:

I never know what to say back to the person giving the compliment. You ave me some things that I could use in your article. Thank you.

peachy from Home Sweet Home on January 04, 2015:

i sometimes hate compliments because i feel that I don't deserve it

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on September 22, 2014:

This well-thought out article really brought out some great points about accepting compliments and why they might make someone uncomfortable. It is a difficult thing to learn when we come from a place where compliments are not freely given or received. Working in the business world for years made me leery of some people who lavished on the compliments only when they needed something from you. There is definitely a happy medium for believing and accepting.

Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on August 30, 2014:


Thanks for adding your feelings to this topic my friend. As you have pointed out, appreciating compliments the right way is an art. And I certainly appreciate yours!

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on July 25, 2014:

I love compliments---whether receiving them or giving them.

But you are right, appreciating compliments the right way is an art. One should receive it humbly and appreciate without being arrogant. It should enhance your self esteem and one must respect the person who appreciates you sincerely.

Thanks for sharing this wonderful and thought provoking hub! Voted up and shared on HP!

Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on April 05, 2014:

Jeannieinabottle - Yes, you are accepting compliments the right way. At first it seems strange and can even be uncomfortable, for the reason you mentioned. After a while, it starts to be automatic and then you can truly enjoy the deserved compliment.

Jeannie Marie from Baltimore, MD on April 04, 2014:

I am working on simply accepting compliments. I have a bad habit of going into a story whenever someone compliments me. That is just silly. I am working on simply saying, "Thank you. That is really nice of you." or something along those lines. Isn't it funny? I think we are almost raised to feel uncomfortable about compliment. It is a strange society we live in.

Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on March 28, 2014:

Deborah - Yes, I agree. And many folks are raised this way from childhood. But have you noticed that no one has a problem accepting a compliment on a hub? Interesting. Thanks my sweet friend for being here. ~ Audrey

Deborah Neyens from Iowa on March 26, 2014:

I have learned to accept compliments graciously. I have noticed a tendency for a lot of people I know (including me sometimes) to downplay a compliment or counter with a compliment. I think some of that comes from the Midwestern sense of modesty.

Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on March 24, 2014:

Kasman - First, I want to congratulate you on being a new 'papa.' How wonderful this is. I'm very glad to see you and feel pretty special to know that with all your responsibilities you found my hub worth reading.

I love your comments. I'm proud of you too for becoming the man that you are after such a strict and troubled childhood.

Jesus loves us more than we can imagine. He knows the purity of your good heart and you will be blessed for believing in Him. The greatest love we can show Him is to love one another.

I have such deep respect for you, especially after hearing your story. So glad you have shared these marvelous comments with me.

Thank you and blessings to you and your family ~ Audrey

Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on March 19, 2014:

adreanne2 - So nice to see you here. Very nice to hear that you like my article. Thanks.

fpherj48 - Hello my beautiful friend. Just love your comments - they always bring me a different perspective and I just love that. You are so honest, direct and yet your light shines forth, always leading us to beautfy. Thank you so much ~ Audrey

Kas from Bartlett, Tennessee on March 19, 2014:

Hi vocalcoach, long time no see (from my side of it I mean). I popped in to see how things have been and I saw this wonderful hub being shared. I'm getting used to being a proud papa and I've taken on quite a few more responsibilities in life lately so it's been very hard to sit down and focus on writing. I loved your hub and it definitely describes some things I struggled with in life as I grew up. My father betrayed me very severely early on and my grandmother was one of the most critical people I ever met. Does a lot to a young psyche growing up. I still struggle with a bit of perfectionism in me which thankfully The Lord has kept me on the checks and balances over.

I just didn't feel good enough to accept any compliments that came my way, but thankfully Jesus Christ showed me that even if I'm the biggest screwup walking, he loves me and he showed me value by dying for my sins and taking my punishment on that cross. My worth is no longer what anyone else says it is, just what God says......and He says I was worth dying for.....even if I truly don't deserve that kind of love. He accepts me, He was just waiting on me to accept Him. Thank God He feels that way for all of us or we'd be up a creek with no hope. Sorry I couldn't help but share that, it hits directly to my heart in some serious ways and your hub was something that kind of pushed it out of me to the surface.

Very well written, and I'm voting up and sharing!

Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on March 17, 2014:

Ebonny - I can't thank you enough for your wonderful review of my hub. I'm very glad now, that I wrote about this subject.

Thank you for the link and for your kind support.

Cheers ~ Audrey

Suzie from Carson City on March 17, 2014:

Audrey......I love this. It's yet another study/discussion in human behavior/nature. We are all so unique and I find that fascinating.

I guess I run the gamut.....there are times when I can graciously accept compliments and times when I will use humor, attempting to rebut. For me, it depends on who the compliment is coming from and the mood I happen to be in, as well.

However, that main thread holds true, as you have shared with us. There's a lot to be said about what our own opinion of ourselves is, on a given issue. OH...and let's not forget to consider, "paranoia"......someone once told me I am an excellent conversationalist...and I said, "So, what? You're trying to tell me I talk too much??" LOL!!!!!

Thanks for this wonderful hub. You're the BEST! (and that's a sincere compliment!!)...UP+++

Fierce Manson from Atlanta on March 17, 2014:

This was a great article, it really gave me some meat to chew on as to why I don't like hearing compliments. Thanks for an incredible informative article.

Ebonny from UK on March 17, 2014:

This article is gold from start to finish. It's hard to break the habit of dismissing compliments but your clear explanation of why this happens and what can be done about it are spot on. Voted up and more and will link to my hub on words of affirmation not working. I particularly like that you point out that not accepting a compliment is a great discourtesy in itself! Love the quotes at the end too.

Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on March 17, 2014:

rajan jolly - Your response to being complimented is perfect. Thanks for liking my tips and for the vote up and sharing. Happy Days to you.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on March 16, 2014:

Compliments used to make me feel uncomfortable earlier and I couldn't handle them well in my younger days. But today, I have come to take them well and say "thanks for appreciating" comfortably.

Great tips, Audrey.

Voted up and shared.

StrictlyQuotes from Australia on February 28, 2014:

It took some practice before I started responding graciously to compliments because I was shy when I was in my teens and felt embarrassed by the attention. It was my mother that said "Just smile and say thank you!". After a few attempts I realised I didn't need to feel so worried about receiving compliments, but previously I didn't know the right way to respond!

Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on February 25, 2014:

b.Malin - I'm happy as can be that you approve of my hub. And thanks for the great votes. Sending you a big, warm hug ~ Audrey

b. Malin on February 25, 2014:

Great Hub and oh SO True Audrey. It's really a learned Art to be able to accept a Compliment...and yes, I'm still learning. I found your Hub, Wonderful and Educational, and I will "BookMark" it for the times I need to be reminded, "How to feel Good about them".

Voted Up & Useful.

Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on February 24, 2014:

DDE Thank you so much. Very nice to see you here.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on February 21, 2014:

Why You Hate Compliments - How To Feel Good About Them has interesting thought I don't mind compliments and know when it is not really meant. A great insight to this bub. Voted up, and useful.

Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on February 14, 2014:

Dear Eddy - Your kind words always mean so much to me. I'm very happy to see you here. Thank you my friend. Stay happy and well. ~ Love always ~ Audrey

Hello Nadine - Well, you had better get used to the compliments you receive on your writing because you are going to be hearing many of them. :) And here's another one - I am becoming a big fan because your writing is unique and remarkable!

Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on February 13, 2014:

sunshine625 Oprah is without a doubt a wise woman. I've learned so much from her and her guests over the years. Thanks for sharing this you cute little ray of sunshine ~ Audrey

Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on February 13, 2014:

mckbirdbks Thank you dear Mike for taking valuable time to read this. I sure hope my hub will help those who need it. This is my reason for writing on this subject. ~ Audrey

NellRose - I'm so glad that you mentioned being bullied in school. I wish I would have listed this one. Hopefully others will read your comment and find it. Being bullied is indeed one more reason we have trouble accepting compliments.

Have you given thought to the hundreds of compliments you receive from your many friends on hubpages? I read all of your comments and you accept these compliments very graciously. :) Audrey

teaches12345 ~ Thank you dear lady for being here and leaving your thoughts on being complimented. You are, by nature, a beautiful and humble person which accounts for your feeling of humbleness when receiving a compliment. ~ Audrey

DeaverTex - Thanks so much for contributing your thoughts on accepting compliments. I sure understand where you're coming from. I was the same way once. But oh, what a nice warm, fuzzy feeling a compliment becomes, once you begin to accept and believe :) ~ Regards, Audrey

Audrey Howitt - I can just imagine the array of endless compliments you receive for being a remarkable vocal teacher. Adding to this, you receive additional compliments on your magical voice, poetry and many other talents and gifts I know nothing about. You've worked hard and invested much to become the diamond you are today. Savour each nice remark, every single compliment and lock these in your memory bank. They will be priceless treasures to you when you are old - like me. ~ Audrey too.

Nadine May from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa on February 10, 2014:

What a very good article and it made me think. I now again realize that i still have difficulty believing in the compliments about writing, everything else i have no problem with. Thank you for that inside

Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on February 01, 2014:

Sharkye11 - You've covered some excellent points. I hope others read your comments as I'm sure many feel this way (including yours truly.) Thank you for taking time to both read and comment. And thank you for sharing this. ~ Audrey

Genna East - I once had a vocal student who thought her compliment to me would make me feel good. She claimed to have heard my name mentioned on TV. I knew this wasn't true. When I called her on her compliment, she became angry and quit her lessons with me.

A compliment must be sincere. Thanks so much for being here Genna. ~ Audrey

Marcy Goodfleisch - Thanks so much for letting me know that you liked my hub. (Tough topic to write about.) I'm glad to hear that it will help others. That is my intention. Hugs ~ Audrey

mckbirdbks - Always such a pleasure to see you Mike. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this topic. I sincerely hope that someone will find this information helpful. Happy days ~ Audrey

Eiddwen from Wales on January 31, 2014:

What a great hub Audrey and how nice to be back reading your hubs again. I seem to have lost track of you and I don't have notifications when you have published either .I'll have to check if I'm still following you. Again my dear friend i compliment you on this brilliant article and lots of love from Wales.


Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on January 30, 2014:

cclitgirl - Thank you for appreciating my hub. I'm so glad that receiving compliments is getting better for you. I'm sure you more than deserve them. Don't forget to compliment your self once in a while:) ~ Audrey

Faith Reaper ~ You bring tears to my eyes with your kind and beautiful words. You have so much love in you! I'm thrilled that you found your way to this hub. I value your comments.

Thank you for enjoying my personal photos too.

May this New Year bring you all that your dear heart can hold.~ Hugs ~ Audrey

Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on January 28, 2014:

hhunterr - How nice to see you here. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this topic. ~ Audrey

FlourishAnyway - So glad you shared your story about your boss. You've pointed out that we have to learn to "soak in the good stuff and the not-so-good stuff." I really like that. A big thanks! Audrey

Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on January 27, 2014:

Jackie Lynnley ~ You've come a long way baby :) Very glad to hear this. Thanks so much. ~ Audrey

always exploring ~ So nice to see you. There was a time when I, like you, would feel weird when a compliment came my way. I too, used "This old dress" to help me feel worthy of being complimented. But look at us now! Learning to love ourselves and all :) Thanks my friend ~ Audrey

Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on January 27, 2014:

I was never fond of compliments, felt uncomfortable receiving them until a wise woman (Oprah) suggested we embrace compliments and be thankful for them. I gave that a shot and it worked! I now appreciate compliments :)

Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on January 27, 2014:

WillStarr - It's called 'humility.' (Feeling uncomfortable when being complimented.) A magnificent trait to possess. You are 'teachable.'

I want to thank you my friend, for your comments. This country was indeed built "by those rugged individuals." Thank you ~ Audrey

cat on a soapbox - Thanks for your well, thought-out comments. Modesty is a beautiful thing to have. Today's generation could sure use some:) Take care ~ Audrey

bravewarrior ~ I do hope that readers of this post also read your comments. There is much to be learned and valued in what you have said. I respect you so much! Thank you my friend ~ Audrey

Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on January 22, 2014:

billybuc - You, my dear friend, receive more compliments on your brilliant hubs than anyone else. And each is so rightly deserved. You sincerely care about the success of every writer, bending over backwards to help, support and inspire. Yes, this is a compliment, but it's also a truth and one that we writers here on hubpages all agree on:)

Much love to you dear Bill ~ Audrey

kidscrafts - You have brought out some fine points here! There is no 'black and white' rule on why some accept compliments easily and others have a hard time doing so. Many factors enter in to this process. Your points are well taken and I appreciate your comments so very much. Thank you - Audrey

timorous - Glad to see you my friend. I want to thank you for your 'written wisdom' regarding both accepting and giving compliments. Right on! So appreciate your taking time to read and comment. Happy days to you - Audrey

Audrey Howitt from California on January 22, 2014:

Such an important hub for so many reasons. I do think many of us (notice that I include me) see all the things we do wrong--not what we do right--and so complements feel uncomfortable in the dissonance between what we perceive and what others perceive--but a complement is a gift--and to accept it with gratitude validates the person giving the complement and ourselves in the process--

John Adams from Austin, TX on January 20, 2014:

I've always had a hard time with compliments, but like a previous poster, I grew up learning that compliments should be turned aside because it was always better to be humble. Only half of that stuck, because I'm not really humble at all. Friends have finally learned that you just don't bother to give me a compliment, because I won't believe it and I'll try to minimize it.

Dianna Mendez on January 19, 2014:

Most of the time I can accept a compliment but I feel a bit humbled when hearing them. I love your post and message to readers on accepting who you are.

Nell Rose from England on January 15, 2014:

Its funny you should write about this because I have never been good with compliments, they always make me squirm! the reason being I think is because of being bullied so badly at school, I know, long time ago, but it sticks, and then of course after finding out about my husband I always feel that people are taking the micky out of me, great thoughts on the subject Audrey, and something that I really should read again, nell

mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on January 15, 2014:

Hi Audrey - You certainly know how to select a topic of interest. Your article will be of help to all those who stop by for a visit. We all would appreciate more genuine compliments. Shared.

Marcy Goodfleisch from Planet Earth on January 14, 2014:

This is an excellent article, Audrey - so many people are uncomfortable with positive feedback, yet they have a hidden hunger for it (or for the ability to believe it). Thanks for writing this - it will help many people!

Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on January 14, 2014:

Hi Audrey...

This is a wonderful article. I have always felt a little uncomfortable with compliments, but this largely depended on who the compliment was from. Perhaps this is because I’ve run into a few people who are sometimes disingenuous with their compliments, which I will never understand. This well written hub certainly gives us all food for thought. Thank you! :-) Voted up and shared.

Jayme Kinsey from Oklahoma on January 13, 2014:

This was a very interesting article, and definitely a unique subject matter. Compliments can be very tricky things. Today, it takes a bit of practice to determine whether or not compliments are genuine or simply issued to serve a purpose. And I don't mean that from the "distrust in a person's motives" department. Sometimes you know when a person's motives are a bit sketchy! For example, whereas I enjoy compliments on my writing and my artwork, I am very uncomfortable when someone ignores both and offers a spontaneous compliment about how I look.

I still say thanks, though, because I know that there are tons of people who are fishing for just those types of compliments. (I think we have all seen the Facebook personalities that post hundreds of photos of themselves everyday...) A compliment give out of context is sometimes odd, however, a person rarely has anything to gain from giving it, so of course, it is always polite to say thank you. Even IF you are mentally beating yourself down at the same time.

Sharing this hub!

Faith Reaper from southern USA on January 13, 2014:

Wow, Dear Audrey, what a great topic and you have provided such great insight as to why one would reject or feel unworthy in accepting a compliment. I don't know how I missed this great piece here, but I am glad I found it. I saw one of your comments on another's hub and I thought, well, wonder what Audrey has been up to ... and the answer is, writing wonderful and useful hubs, as always!

I just love your personal photos, so dramatic as illustrations!

Up and more and sharing.

Hugs and Happy New Year to you dear lovely lady,

Faith Reaper

Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on January 13, 2014:

diogenes - What marvelous comments. "But a compliment should be enjoyed and filed away, not mulled over and its validity dismissed or gloated upon." This is my own personal feeling as well and I thank you so much!

Martie - My beautiful and dear friend, you have such a gift for being able to write just the way you feel. You've been my hero (heroine) for years here on HP. When I think of courage and a woman of daring action and bravery, I think of you. It's an honor to be called "your friend."

Cynthia Calhoun from Western NC on January 13, 2014:

"Compliments" to you for such a wonderful hub! I've gotten better over the years accepting compliments. It's not always easy, but I'm getting better. Nicely done. Thank you for sharing this! Voted and shared. :)

FlourishAnyway from USA on January 13, 2014:

One of the best bosses I've ever had was good at giving negative criticism so you didn't feel like an idiot. But she was even better at giving positive feedback. She'd tell me on the spot and in front of whomever happened to be there specifically what I did right and she did it so directly and effortlessly that it made me feel like a million bucks. The first time she enthusiastically called me a "rock star" (for crunching some complex data, no less) I about died. I wondered if I heard that right? There was no way i'd reject positive words like that; no one else in my life has ever called me that. You have to know how to soak in the good stuff and the not-so-good! I love the positive nature of this hub, Audrey. Voted up and more.

Bob Bamberg on January 13, 2014:

Agreed, Audrey, but it doesn't always work that way. Because of their high profile we're aware of it, but certain politicians, actors and athletes, for example, certainly love themselves, and are so full of themselves they make life miserable for those around them and are laughing stocks to bystanders. This happens in everyday life, too. Personally, I'm comfortable with who I am, and I also have the approval of those around me. Without that approval I'd feel isolated, no matter how terrific I perceive myself to be.

As you point out, people with low self-esteem often are uncomfortable with compliments because they don't feel they deserve them. Most people wouldn't consider that a healthy position. People with high self esteem can sometimes develop an unhealthy position as well.

I believe that how those around you relate to you should be an important factor when self-evaluating. If one thinks he's terrific and that others just doesn't understand him, self evaluation isn't really working. Sort of a "beauty is in the eyes of the beholder" thing.

The bottom line is, you wrote a terrific hub that spawned a most interesting exchange of ideas, and that, to me, is the beauty of this site. We can put our ideas out there, get them validated or kicked around a bit, and come away all the better for it. You done good, vocalcoach!

Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on January 12, 2014:

Hi Bob - I appreciate your thoughts and comments. You provided me with some things to think about. Thank you for a 'thumbs' up and an appreciation for my hard work.

Jodah - You have a good outlook about compliments. I agree with you especially with "If someone goes to the trouble of telling you how well you did at something the least you can do is take it seriously, and not call them a liar by denying it." Thank you so much!

Hello again Bob - It is your right to disagree. But do consider this: Life is exactly all about you - it begins with the choices you make, your principles, willingness to accept responsibility and your perceptions. It's nice to receive validation from others, but the strongest validation comes from within.

hhunterr from Highway 24 on January 12, 2014:

Very thorough. Very needed. Compassion on display.

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on January 12, 2014:

There was a time when it was difficult for me to accept compliments, ie, oh this old thing, i've had this dress forever. Now that i'm working on my perfectionism, i really like a sincere compliment. You notice i said " sincere " so i'm not totally there yet. Ha..Great topic and tips Audrey! Thank you..

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on January 12, 2014:

I, too had to learn to take compliments because I could never believe I deserved them so it was very hard to say thanks! Now I can say thanks, whether I believe them or not, lol.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on January 12, 2014:

Audrey, I was raised by parents who supported me and constantly told me I was pretty, intelligent, versatile, creative, independent. When I was in high school I was shunned for my intelligence. I was an awkward teenager with long hair, unplucked eyebrows (I wasn't allowed to wear makeup until I was 15) and that's all my peers saw. As a result, I took my parents' praise as biased opinions. Once I graduated high school and busted out on my own, I did everything I could to be popular - and believe you me, I was popular, but maybe not in a commendable way.

For the longest time, I would respond tocompliments with a remark that boiled down to my not feeling worthy of the compliment. I always had a rebuttal. I was very hard on myself and never felt I was at my full potential. After decades of hearing, "why can't you just accept a compliment?", I had to take another look. We never see ourselves as others do, especially when we are very critical of ourselves and have high (unrealistic?) expectations.

I now accept and thrive on the compliments that others send my way. Now I say, "Thank you. That means the world to me." And it's true; compliments I receive truly mean the world to me. They keep me moving forward.

Bob Bamberg on January 12, 2014:

Right, Will. Sorry, Audrey (see what you started :) ).

Catherine Tally from Los Angeles on January 12, 2014:

Hi Audrey,

You've made some really good points, and I find myself falling into some of those compliment dismissal situations even though I never felt a lack of love or acceptance in my family. I guess I grew up with the belief that it is better to be modest, so I preferred to downplay compliments in social circumstances. I know I have some self-esteem issues which many of us baby-boomers have, and I can see how it plays out a bit in accepting praise. I love both giving and receiving genuine compliments, but am wary of gratuitous praise. I see too much of it. Nevertheless, I always try to accept it graciously. Engaging hub- thank you!

All the best,


WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on January 12, 2014:

Hi Bob,

Individual self interest (not selfishness...there's difference) is the driver for all successful societies, and a free country like ours seeks to protect that individual self-interest because successful people benefit all of us. A successful society will promote the good of the individual, not the other way around.

But I don't want to hijack Audrey's Hub!

Bob Bamberg on January 12, 2014:

Point well taken, Will. I wasn't suggesting that individualism isn't important or that we should let society define us. Indeed, I march to the beat of my own drummer and am comfortable in my own skin, but I'm also cognizant of a responsibility to good citizenship. How I fit in, how I impact others and how others relate to me matters.

I agree about the rugged individuals, but feel the end result of their labors wasn't just infrastructure, but a in diversity while establishing American customs, traditions and culture.

WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on January 12, 2014:

I'm always surprised and uncomfortable with compliments because I feel a little unworthy, but in the end, I do like them.

I don't at all agree with Bob B. that we are just cogs in the wheel of society, or that individualism is not important. This country is the result of the rugged individuals who built it. It was not built by 'society'.

Excellent and thoughtful Hub, Audrey!

Tim Nichol from Me to You on January 12, 2014:

The other side of the coin, is that some people can also hesitate in giving compliments..unsure how they will be received. For the giver, it's sometimes hard work. You should appreciate the effort it took.

It's absolutely true, that you need to know yourself, and be confident in your own skin, and not listen to your ego. That's the main problem with not accepting compliments.

The first of those quotes at the end is bang on. It's none of our business what others think of us..that's their choice. If you have a good self-esteem, you won't need the approval of anyone. You can take the good with the bad, and with grace.

kidscrafts from Ottawa, Canada on January 12, 2014:

In your three reasons behind not liking compliments, I think the first one can bring on the two others. I am sure that I became a perfectionnist because I grew up in an over-critical family where nothing would never be good enough. It took me decades to recover from that.... but I will stay forever a perfectionnist. I learned slowly to accept compliments but it doesn't come naturally. And you are right that we have to take the compliment as a gift; a beautiful gift.

It's a well known fact that when people who receive compliments abouth their clothes for exampleoften they will dismiss it with a "these are old clothes" for example instead of saying simply "thank you".

I am still learning... and consciously place myself in a receiving mode.

Thank you for writing about this important subject; it's a good reminder.

Have a nice day!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on January 12, 2014:

Well my friend, I can't say I hate compliments, but I certainly don't feel comfortable with the. Thanks for writing a hub about me; I hear everything you are saying and I will reflect upon it as the day goes on.

Have a marvelous Sunday my dear friend.



Martie Coetser from South Africa on January 12, 2014:

Excellent hub about compliments and how to handle them. They are hot potatoes for most of us, just like insults, when they don't meet our own beliefs about ourselves. To handle them with style is certainly an art to master.

Down here in SA most people can criticize and insult others without a second thought, while they refuse to honour others with compliments.

Many-many years ago I have decided to allow compliments to roll off my tongue - because I have seldom if ever received them as a child. So when I think you look awesome in your red blouse/shirt, I say it right there and then. What you make of it is your business. I have also learned to say 'thank you' when someone honours me with a compliment. If they think my dress is beautiful, it is really not their business how old the dress is, or how I hate it because it is not creaseless. (Although from time to time I still fall into this trap: trying to explain that I, or the dress, don't really deserve the compliment!)

Vocalcoach, you must be the most wonderful friend - my kind of friend :)

diogenes from UK and Mexico on January 12, 2014:

As I am a member of the invisible ageing now, I don't get many compliments, except the few from writing. But a compliment should be enjoyed and filed away, not mulled over and its validity dismissed or gloated upon.

A compliment is a positive action and we easily differentiate between the real and the phoney.

I skimmed over your article which seemed very good.


Bob Bamberg on January 12, 2014:

Oh, and I had an afterthought. I don't agree with the three quotes at the end. They sound narcissistic to me. Life isn't about me. It's largely about my place in society. I'm a cog in the wheel, and how I fit in, how I impact others and how others relate to me matters. Just sayin'

John Hansen from Australia (Gondwana Land) on January 12, 2014:

Wonderful hub vocalcoach. i agree many people just don't know how to accept compliments graciously. I am often humbled when receiving a compliment but always accept it with a thank you.

If someone goes to the trouble of telling you how well you did at something the least you can do is take it seriously, and not call them a liar by denying it. Great advice here, voted up.

Bob Bamberg on January 12, 2014:

I had never given this subject much thought, Audrey, but now that you mention it, I recall how so many people act embarrassed by compliments. I enjoy being complimented and assumed everyone does, but there are some people who make you feel like you're exaggerating by complimenting them.

All my life has been spent doing my job dealing with the fact I now have three part time jobs that involve dealing with the public. To me, compliments are like evaluation reports from the people I'm actually working for...not the people who pay me. Of course, compliments from the people who pay me are important, but coming from the people I work in front of, compliments are more meaningful. They validate my work.

Don't be offended or embarrassed, Audrey :), but this was a real interesting hub. You did a lot of work on it, which resulted in an article that is useful and interesting. And that's how I voted after I gave it a well deserved thumbs up!