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Dave P

Also, people get upset when you give them a "left-handed" compliment or sometimes if you refer to a "left-handed" compliment like you are ripping on left-handed people.

Many do not know the distinction between compliment and complement and mix them up.

This post will be one my students can easily comment on.

Mallorie Lemon

I found this post to be very amusing because every situation you wrote about I can relate to. I find it very funny when people think they are giving a complement I it comes off as an insult. My best friend is very good at this. He once told a girl that her shoulders looked defined that particular day. He means well but just doesn’t get it all the time.

Jenna Peace

I love compliments. It is nice to receive them and sometimes it makes you feel good to give them. Although with good, there is bad. In high school there was this girl who gave out compliments so much it was irritating. I soon realized she stopped giving compliments when I stopped returning the compliment. Sometimes i feel bad for people like that, but most of the time just annoyed.

Dave P

If someone gives out compliments all of the time, are they really worth anything? There is a saying about those who hand out compliments infrequently. It is said that they throw out compliments like manhole covers.

Ellie Hittinger

The most annoying thing is when someone compliments you just because they expect a compliment in return (you can always tell). I like to only compliment people when it is genuine, however I don't think you can compliment "too much". If the compliment is deserved, why not say it? I don't necessarily think someone is not being genuine because they give out lots of compliments. I also think that constructive criticism can go along with a compliment as if to say, "this is what you SHOULD be doing, but you're doing this alright."

Dave P

I agree with your points, Ellie. It depends upon the situation. That is an interesting point about blending a compliment with a criticism.

Miles M.

This shouldnt be, its simple, if you like something someone is wearing or what they did, compliment them, if you dont, keep it to your self. unfortunatley, people add "feelings" to it; they're to shy, they maybe are afraid of rejection of reciprication or maybe they dont want reciprication. its stupid, people should just compliment or not

Erik Taurence

A compliment is a compliment and you take it for what it is. Some people compliment people more than others and that is just the way they are. I’ve never received a compliment and felt offended. That just sounds crazy to me. In America today there are some very sensitive people and there are people out there that will do anything for money. Such as making a comment on how someone looks and taking it as sexual harassment and suing. America is touchier now of days and as Americans we have to now even second guess complimenting someone.


All your comments show that there are various ways to look at compliments. Whether we are sensitive about them or not, we have to consider that others might be. It would be great to always do what we feel like in terms of offering compliments or criticisms, but with families and in the working world especially, we have to be careful what we say.

John F

When reading this post, I began thinking about the nature of the complement in the light of power. Power is exercised through relationships, not force, as many people believe. This applies in politics, the work place, or even in our daily lives.
It seems to be, that in forming any power based relationship, a certain amount of flattery is necessary. However, It is in the way you compliment the person, which may or may not win their favor. As mentioned above, you would never tell your female boss she looks hot in that suit: However, complimenting the make of the suit maybe be the right way to win her over. Maybe complimenting her work would be the best way to go. The point is, if you wish your compliment to be effective you must analyze them psychologically, finding the best way to compliment them.

Ryan Karol

I believe compliments should be frequent to others. This helps people feel better about themselves and helps to promote a higher self-esteem environment around you. Whether you know the person receiving the compliment or not, helping others feel better about themselves is quite important. However, you should always mean what you say and not have personal agendas. For example, expecting a compliment in return is selfish and should be avoided.

Debra Preston

First of all Dave - I never noticed the difference between "compliment" (an expression of praise, admiration or congratulation) and "complement" (something that completes, makes up a whole, or brings to perfection). Yes, I looked them up in the dictionary.

About compliments: I think the one who is giving compliments is revealing more about his/herself, rather than revealing something about the one who is receiving. By this I mean insecurities or securities in the giver, or the type of compliments being given. I often find when I am complimenting someone, I am pointing out things that I like about a person, the things I find wholesome or nice, as opposed to trying to make a person feel good about themselves. I find in doing this, a person usually does feel good about what I say to them, as well as discover the types of things I enjoy: such as certain clothes, a hairstyle, music, etiquette, or actions. If people would look at it this way, they might discover they have something in common with someone they don't know too well.

On the receiving end, I am quite shy myself, and find myself feeling slightly awkward at how to respond.

Edward T.

I think that compliments are good if they are not given too frequently. They may get annoying if given or taken to often. I think if you are offended by a compliment then that means you are just emotionally instable. Compliments should make you feel good about yourself and nothing differently. People should never take one negatively.

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