This Saturday is World Compliment Day, an international celebration of positivity and promoting the self-esteem of others. Sounds like a pretty easy (not to mention wonderful) event in which to participate, right? Well, if you’ve ever been the recipient of a backhanded compliment, however well-intentioned, you know there are definite “do”s and “don’t”s of complimenting another person. To help you out in this weekend of selfless positivity, we’ve broken down the guidelines to issuing a genuine statement of appreciation.

DO make it specific and follow through

Saying “You’re a great cook” is nice, but saying “I loved that peach cobbler; can I have the recipe?” is even better.

DON’T compliment one thing while degrading another

A classic backhanded compliment is “You’re smarter than you look,” which proves that complimenting one part of a person should never come at the expense of another aspect.

DO compliment the way someone looks, but stay within the limits of polite society

Do her eyes warm your soul? That’s a beautiful sentiment and you should let her know how you feel. But do those eyes make you so amorous that you feel like a character in 50 Shades of Grey? Perhaps keep that emotion to yourself.

DON’T feel that you need to compliment absolutely everything

Hearing that someone appreciates a meal that you’ve made for them is wonderful, but if they compliment your ability to perform every step of the process (from grinding the pepper to setting the over timer) it begins to sound condescending.

DO learn to accept a compliment with grace

World Compliment Day isn’t, of course, only about giving. On a day such as this, you’re bound to receive a few thoughtful sentiments yourself. While a desire to appear humble may compel you to try and deflect the compliment, that’s actually almost as rude as shouting “Of course I’m gorgeous!” Accepting a compliment with grace means a simple “Thank you.” If the conversation leads into a further discussion, that’s great, but there’s no need to deny the compliment (which is insulting to the giver) or immediately pay it back (which seems disingenuous and will make you both feel awkward). Allow yourself to feel warmed by the nice thing the person has said; that was, after all, their intention in saying it.

DON’T leave anything open to interpretation

Do you admire someone and aspire to one day hold similar accomplishments to them? Don’t say, “I want to be just like you when I’m old.” No matter how well-intentioned your desire to grow into the type of person they are, you can be guaranteed that the only part of that sentence they are going to hear is “old.”


Of course, the last thing this day should be about is attempting to follow a rigid set of rules (a rehearsed compliment rarely sounds sincere, anyway), so the most important thing is to let your heart lead you when spreading your messages of joy.

What’s the best compliment you’ve ever been given?


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