Why can't women take a compliment?
Hey there Beautiful!
I recently read that over 50% of women cannot take a compliment. I was actually surprised by that figure because I believed it should’ve been much, much higher, like around 85-95%. Women cannot accept a compliment without tossing it aside and degrading themselves to show how they’re actually not worth it. We will deflect the compliment like it’s an annoying mosquito, batting it away with our hand, instead of appreciating what was said and acknowledging the person who said it to us.
Here are some examples of compliments I have overheard:
“That’s such a pretty dress.”
“Oh I borrowed it from a friend.”
“Your hair looks so nice!”
“I just colored it.”
“I got them on sale at TJ Maxx.”
“You did a great job on that proposal.”
“Oh it’s no big deal. Just doing my job.”
“That’s such a great nail color.”
“You should see my nails with no polish on.”
What did you hear in all of those compliments?
You heard a person who was appreciating a woman with an expression of esteem, respect, affection, or admiration which is literally the definition of a compliment. And what did the recipient do? She gave an excuse, a justification, a deflection, or a degradation of why she isn’t good enough to receive the compliment.
Why do women do this?
Why is it so ingrained in us to disregard a compliment? Where did we learn to do this? I have to say it’s most likely a learned behavior, meaning that if our mom’s did it, that’s where we first learned it. As time went by and as young women we watched older women interact with their own peer group. We observed the same behavior, like our mothers, which was then reinforced over and over again. Do we do this because we’re embarrassed when someone draws attention to us that we have to shove the attention aside as quickly as possible so no one notices? Do we do this in order to help make the woman who gave the compliment somehow feel better about herself too? Someone please tell me!
And if a man tries to give a compliment, FORGET IT!
Those examples I gave are of women giving other women compliments. Don’t get me started if a man gives a woman a compliment especially if they don’t know each other. If it’s a man that I don’t know giving me a compliment my defensive instincts immediately go into action and I’m ready to verbally spar with him. I’m suspicious and my brain calculates the what’s-in-it-for-him factor to evaluate what he gets out of giving me a compliment. And that’s probably why not a lot of men give women compliments anymore because women instantly get suspicious. It’s like my “spidey” senses get kicked into overdrive.
So what are women supposed to do in order to receive a compliment?
So here’s what I want you to work on. I’m not going to lie. It’s very hard to break this vicious cycle of deflection when you hear a compliment coming your way. The only thing I want you to do is say this right after you hear a compliment, “Thank you.” That’s it. No additions, no excuses, no deflections, no demeaning yourself, nothing except the words, “Thank you.”
Just work on saying, "Thank you."
When you’ve finally got the two words, “Thank you,” down only then can you add a phrase afterwards such as, “I appreciate it.” So it would sound like, “Thank you. I appreciate it.” But the most important part is to get the “Thank you” down perfectly first. Don’t move on until you do. This is a huge mindset shift to just stop talking after saying, “Thank you.” You will want to keep talking but don’t do it! The first couple of times I tried this it came out as, “Oh this is old th . . . , I mean, thank you.”
Practice, practice, and more practice.
If you have a friend who is willing to try this with you, test it out on yourselves for a while. Throw a compliment at her when she least expects it and make sure her response is only the words, “Thank you.” Make it a game for one month and score one point every time someone says, “Thank you” and lose a point when there are embellishments and explanations instead of just, “Thank you.” The winner gets to be treated to a mani/pedi by the loser. Just make it fun.
Give more compliments than you receive. But watch out . . .
Once you begin noticing it with yourself, you will then notice it when you are with other women at work, at parties, or even the doctor’s office. I complimented the technician at my mammogram because her wrist watch was really pretty. What else do you do when someone’s squishing your boob and you’re trying to fill in the silence with small talk? I mean she’s doing that up to eight hours a day, five days a week and if I can brighten her day just a little, I’m darn going to try. Plus I really did like her watch. You want to know what she said? She said, “My ex-husband gave this to me and I don’t know why I wear it other than I got it in the divorce settlement.” Where was I supposed to go with that response? “Uh sorry I said anything?” I think I just said, “Oh.” And then the conversation immediately died after that.
So what's the most important thing to remember in order to receive a compliment?
So remember, when you get a compliment just say “Thank you,” and then full stop. It will get easier and easier as you fully receive the compliment and enjoy it for what it is, someone appreciating you. Allow them to give the compliment, you respond with, “Thank you,” and then take a moment to let it sink in. And most importantly smile when you say, “Thank you.” Oh and there’s no question mark at the end of the “Thank you,” like “Thank you?” The only time you should say it with a question mark at the end is if your brother or sister is attempting to compliment you on your new haircut and you can’t tell if they are being serious or not. You can also narrow your eyes at them at the same time while figuring out a way to get them back.
I’ll talk to you later Beautiful!