- Chapter 7 -
ACCEPTING A COMPLIMENT
friend told me that years ago she found a bargain, a piece of costume jewelry, at Sears. She has worn it over and over and received many compliments. When a person expressed admiration for her pin, she used to say, "$2.98 at Sears." Someone pointed out to her that this was an inappropriate response. Perhaps the other person thought the glass stone was real, and felt foolish when learning it was costume jewelry from Sears. In any case, the response depreciated the compliment. My friend was advised, and has followed the advice, that on such occasions, one should reply in a positive manner. If someone says she likes your earrings, a good reply is, "Thank you. I like them too." Or if there is something special about them, a good reply is, "Thank you. They were a gift and mean a lot to me."
Some people do not readily accept a compliment. They have some need to deflect it, downgrade it, or transfer the credit to someone else. This may be because of lack of self-esteem, the "I don't deserve it" feeling, or it may come from a kind of false modesty. An extreme example, and you probably have heard such remarks, occurs when a woman is complimented on a dress and the response is, "Oh, this old thing. It is 8 years old." After a retort of this nature, the person trying to say something nice doesn't feel very good about having admired an "old thing."
Among men, it is considered the modest response when someone is congratulated on a good tennis shot, or a long straight golf drive to say, "It was just luck." But when I told a man how much I admired his three children and asked him how he accounted for having turned out such fine kids, I thought his remark, "It was just luck." was a bit light. At least he could have thanked me for my remarks about his children.
It may be more blessed to give than to receive, but if there is no receiver, where is the joy of giving? When a person pays you a compliment, accept it graciously and with enthusiasm, as a verbal gift, which indeed it is. Enjoy it. And let the donor experience the joy of giving.