Wright Foundation | March 10, 2020

How to Attract Compliments

Do you want to attract more compliments? We all love compliments—valuable currency in today’s world.

Two women embrace, honoring each other's value while learning how to attract compliments.

The other day a colleague shared a video of people complimenting each other. At first, the two people didn’t really know what was going on. The filmmaker asked them to take five minutes and write down compliments for the other person.

Then they read the compliments aloud to each other. It was amazing to see the shift in their intimacy as they received these kind words. Each person lit up the moment they were complimented. It was so tender and beautiful to see their expressions change that I started to tear up.

The power of compliments is their ability to instantly shift our attitude and elevate our mood—so much so that it’s visible across our face. We’d all like to know how to attract compliments so we can receive more of these nourishing and kind words. Here’s why we love compliments and how to bring more good affirmations into our lives.

Scientific Reasons Why We Love Compliments

Compliments act as social currency to our brains. In fact, in scientific studies, participants increased their performance after receiving compliments. They found the compliments as validating and encouraging as monetary rewards. Compliments are powerfully motivating.

Each person yearns to be affirmed, to be valued, to matter, to be seen, heard, and understood. These yearnings are universal to all human beings, and they are powerful drivers in almost everything we do.

When we receive a compliment, it gives meets and validates our yearnings. A compliment tells us: You exist! You matter! You’re important! There’s something I appreciate about you!

Compliments are a beautiful affirmation of our self. They feel good. They warm our hearts and make the pleasure centers in our brain go off, like a hug, a kiss, a kind touch, or prolonged eye contact. In short, they make us feel special.

Our response to compliments goes back to our early childhood. Compliments play a role in how we form a sense of ourselves. We see ourselves reflected from others, and we develop a sense of who we are. “Amy is so resourceful,” or “Tim is so sensitive to the needs of others.”

When children hear these words from adults, they connect them to their identity. They think, “Oh, I’m very capable. I can figure things out,” or “I’m kind to others, and they enjoy being my friend.” Educational training for teachers now focuses on positive reinforcement in the classroom—using these tools of acknowledgment and complimenting to bring out the best in their kids.

Compliments, especially sincere compliments, are extremely powerful. When you really feel the affirmation from the person delivering it, it’s like a big volt from the universe for you and your values. They aren’t minor lip service—compliments are a really really important deal. They feel good, they have a positive effect on others, and they are even a positive power tool.

Compliments to Motivate

Want someone to do more of something you like? Compliment them! What you acknowledge and compliment, people will likely do more often. Compliments really help us influence others.

Most humans like to please others. While we can get too involved in trying to please those around us, at a minor level, it can help us build relationships and connections with others. “Oh, you like that? Well, let me do it again!”

When someone compliments your outfit or the report you wrote, you want to do it again because you received affirmation and reinforcement from the world around you. Compliments enforce behavior in the direction you might like it to go.

In the workplace, many people realize money isn’t always the sole motivator of behavior. Acknowledging good work is very powerful, especially when creating a team-oriented company culture. When we tell others what they do well, they want to keep doing it!

While it’s true, compliments don’t pay the bills; we can still shift the attitude and approach of our coworkers by speaking up and pointing out their good moves. It’s a motivational strategy that doesn’t cost money and pays huge emotional dividends.

Not only do compliments and positive affirmations make for a more pleasant work environment, but they help us feel more positive and motivated too.

How to Attract Compliments

So, now we know why we want compliments and how to compliment others and expand our connection and influence. But the question remains, how do we attract compliments ourselves?

If you want to attract more compliments, you need to engage more fully with others. Put yourself out there. Reflect on yourself more fully and see how others respond to it. It’s amazing how well engagement attracts compliments and affirmation.

When you get dressed in the morning, tell yourself, “I want people to see me today. I want people to know I matter!” How will you dress in a way that is likely to get positive attention? If you grab the least wrinkled, least dirty item out of the laundry hamper, you probably won’t get the response you really yearn for.

If you take the time to choose an outfit that reflects who you are, it’s really important. When you care for yourself enough to fix your hair and polish yourself up, you’re going to draw in compliments. When you receive these affirmations, it’s because you’re being you. It’s sincere, and the words reflect who you really are.

Each of us has beauty inside. When we take care of ourselves, we value ourselves. When we appreciate who we are—show ourselves compassion, kindness, and nurturing—it will show on our outside too.

So, how do you attract compliments? Shine! Speak up! Dress in a way that reflects you and your personality. Share your sense of humor. Tell a joke!

When we engage with life more fully, we will attract others to our joy, our aliveness, and our sense of flow.

How to Relish Compliments

Some people feel uncomfortable with compliments. They may believe that attention reflects how they’re “too much” or “not enough.” This aversion to compliments may reflect their mistaken beliefs about themselves.

You may feel like it’s not polite to attract compliments or that it’s bragging—you might be taking away from someone else or making them feel bad.

We examine this line of thinking in our personal growth programs. What are our stinking thinking patterns and mistaken beliefs that stand in the way of the affirmation we yearn for?

“Oh, I’m not valuable anyway.”

“My brother’s the smart one.”

“My sister is the pretty one, not me.”

“This old thing? I bought it on sale.”

“It’s not a big deal.”

The truth is, we ALL deserve affirmations and compliments. Your compliment doesn’t detract from someone else’s affirmation. It’s really easy to dismiss a compliment, but when we graciously receive the praise, instead, it sends a message to others to keep giving it!

When you receive compliments, accept them. More importantly, savor them! Spend a few moments taking them in. Think about what the person really said to you. You may even want to write it down (or print out a complimentary email)! Keep those kudos in a spot where you can revisit them as a reminder of what a gift you truly are to the world.

We are all so valuable to the world. There’s so much magnificence in each of us that we can put out and have reflected back at us. So go out there and give compliments! When you receive them, savor every last delicious drop, and remember, you absolutely deserve to feel amazing!

For more ways to discover your potential, please visit the Wright Foundation. We offer many of our courses online, including our personal growth courses at Wright Now. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn more about yourself and seize the opportunities in your life!

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Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.