The only thing that might be as bad as a person who can't give a compliment, is someone who can't take one.
Some people just don't know how to take a compliment.
"Wow, you're really talented!"
"Look at those muscles!"
"You have an amazing smile."
It seems like these are things anyone would love to have someone say to them. But some people honestly don’t know the appropriate way to respond to something nice being said about them.
The worst thing to say? “Shut up. No I’m not.”
Why argue? Whether from embarrassment, real modesty or false modesty, some people respond to compliments by disagreeing. Agreeing may make them feel vain. Or they may feel as though they don’t deserve the praise. It may be a ploy to get the person to give additional compliments or say the compliment more forcefully.
What people need to realize is that by arguing over a kind statement, they’re making the person who paid the compliment feel bad. Or possibly even angry. It’s almost an insult to not accept a compliment. It’s as though you’re saying: “You’re wrong. I don’t trust your judgment. You don’t know what you’re talking about. You’re stupid to think and say that.”
If you wouldn’t really say that, then don’t fight the compliment either.
This isn’t one of those times you can just smile and nod though.
The best thing to say: “Thank you.”
An alternative that: “Thanks, that makes me feel good.”
Even better: “Wow! That’s the nicest thing I’ve heard in a long time.”
A few more suggestions:
“That’s incredibly kind of you to say.”
“I appreciate hearing that.”
“Well thanks, it takes one to know one!”
If the compliment just seems too extravagant to believe (“You’re the best _________I’ve ever met!”) then just make your response more extravagant too.
“That’s a really generous compliment.”
“You’re crazy if you think that, but I like your crazy.”
“Now you’re just trying to make me blush!”
The main thing is just to accept an act of generosity, with generosity.
Pretend you’re giving that compliment to someone else. What would you like to hear them say back? That’s what you should say.
Learning to accept compliments seldom happens overnight. It takes practice.
If you’re not someone who usually gets many compliments so you can practice accepting them, start giving more compliments. Then watch and listen how other people respond to them.
A rule of thumb about compliments is only say it if you really mean it. No one appreciates a fake compliment. It might take a moment to think of something to say about someone that you honestly like, but there is bound to be something you can say and truly mean.
But remember this:
An honest compliment never gets old to a person who is genuinely please to hear it and not so vain that they expect it.