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Ladies, Find It Hard To Accept A Compliment?

Check in with your inner voice

BY Agnes Amondi

Sep 29, 2021, 08:12 AM

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When was the last time someone complimented you only for you to shoot their compliment down, degrade it or immediately, offer one back just to do away with the awkwardness? You are not alone. Most women find it hard to accept compliments from their fellow women and from men as well.

According to this article on Psychology Today, only 22 per cent of compliments given from one woman to another were accepted. When they came from men, they were received only 40 per cent of the time. If you think about it, acknowledging a compliment shouldn’t really be a big deal. So why do women find it hard?

Well, part of it is in the way women have been conditioned to behave. Growing up, young girls are socialised to be gracious and not project an air of confidence because it's perceived to be rude and unfeminine. Thus, whenever they are praised, they are keen to tone down or undermine the praise. 
 
The other reason they could be uncomfortable with receiving compliments is because they haven’t received any before. You know how African homes can be, right? Some are not as expressive. Hearing a compliment is something that hardly happens. Due to this, young girls coming out of these homes might not be in a position to welcome some of the most well-meaning thoughts attributed to them. It'll throw them off balance and they won't know how to react. They will feel awkward, particularly with the attention that accompanies such acts.

Then there is the perception that anyone sharing a compliment must have an ulterior motive. Honestly, you can't fault women for this. Particularly when they are coming from men. Sometimes, you can’t tell whether they mean it or are being sarcastic. Plus, some men are just weird. Just because you accept a compliment from them, they think they own you. So, we'd very much not blame any woman for being a little bit hesitant about taking compliments especially when you feel that it might be back-handed. Also, depending on the person sharing it, we are allowed to give it a yeah or nay. 

That said, if it’s from well-meaning people, please smile and be grateful. We all know how good it feels to be recognised, obviously for good reasons, for just about anything.       

Know What To Do

The good news is that all is not lost. Receiving compliments is something you can work on. No one, even the women who’ve perfected this art, is a natural. Forget that. It’s a skill that can be learnt. It will make you and the person giving the compliment feel good. You'll be able to strengthen your bond and strike good and memorable conversations. So here are a few, very easy and practical things you need to practise to start appreciating the value of compliments.

Show gratitude. Surely, it’s not difficult to say thank you. That’s all you need to do, especially at first when you are trying to get used to such situations. This will feel good not just to you but to the giver of the praise. And what is always advised is that, when in doubt, perhaps tongue-tied, a simple thank you will go a long way.
 
Relish the moment. Yes! This is your time. Don’t do anything to cut it short, water it down or deflect the praise. Let everyone else appreciate you. They want to do it, believe it. The truth is, people long to be praised but are shy to receive one when dished out. Forget about looking arrogant and retreating back to the "I'm humble" cocoon. No girl! Accepting praise is not bragging. If someone thinks you deserve it, you should too. 

What not to do is return a compliment back just because you think that you are being offered a favour. We are here to tell you that you don’t have to do this. Because at times, it comes across as disingenuous.   

Praise yourself. Who said this is an ego trip? No. Simply, add to the compliment that someone has offered you. Talk more about the shoe, haircut, bag or whatever it is about. This can provide a good base for a conversation. Obviously, it's easier said than done because we are afraid of coming across as arrogant. But understand that if someone deems you worthy of a compliment, then they really mean it. So take it.