learn how to take a compliment.

9 Jun

Coworker: “Wow, nice job on that presentation today – you really killed it! I especially liked the comparison between the EU economic crisis and the dissolution of the WWF. Comparing Greece to Greg “The Hammer” Valentine was nothing short of brilliant!”

You: “Oh man, gosh, I don’t know, it wasn’t that good. I totally forgot to mention The Honkey Tonk Man as part of the overarching narrative and what role Turkey (Miss Elizabeth) played.”

Coworker: Geez, well I thought it was good.

You: Whatever, thanks.

RIP Miss Elizabeth


Do you see what happened there? First, I tried way too hard to make old WWF references. Second, in your attempt to be humble, you deflated your friend and denied yourself the pleasure of success.

Here’s the problem, men see humility as a virtue, and pride (the obnoxious kind of pride) as being a detriment to our character. So, in typical dude fashion, we take our feelings way too far and don’t stop to see balance. We are so hung up on not being perceived as arrogant, that we don’t allow others to affirm positive actions or behaviors they see in us. What would it look like if you simply accepted the praise? Would people think you’re completely full of yourself? I don’t think so.

Here’s what you do when someone affirms you – look them in the eyes and say thank you. Don’t talk for hours about how rad you were. Don’t be awkward about it and beg for more by saying things like, “Really? You liked it? I thought the tie-in with “Mean” Gene Okerlund and Sarkozy was too much.” (It was, by the way) Just simply thank the person and move on. You’ll feel good, they’ll feel affirmed – everyone’s a winner! If you’re not an arrogant person, you don’t have to worry about how you are perceived – just be humble and gracious.

Having said all of that, there are two kinds of compliments. One is an affirmation of some aspect of your abilities (we just talked about that one), while the other is praising some characteristic of your appearance. The response of an “appearance” compliment is on a sliding scale and must be handled appropriately. For instance, if your broseph says, “Hey man, that’s a cool shirt, is it from REI?” You say, “Thanks man, I appreciate that. It is from REI.”

However, and here’s where you need to pay attention, if a lady-friend says to you:

“Grown Man, you’ve got amazing forearms. I mean really, they’re so strong! Also, they have the perfect amount of hair – somewhere between Robin Williams and E.T. Have you been working out, Grown Man?”

Don’t say thank you, say:

“Grown Woman, that was a nice compliment. I’d like to take you out to the finest Italian restaurant in all the land. Following our dinner, I’d like to take a walk in the park. When we find a quaint bench by the lake, I’ll pick up a heart-shaped rock and put it in my pocket. That rock will be given back to you in two years – on the day we get engaged at that same, exact, spot. Next, I’d like to treat you to a TCBY frozen yogurt with unlimited toppings. Upon filling our bellies with all the manna our fair city has to offer, I’d like to hear you talk for hours about your hopes and dreams. When you are done talking and can’t stay awake any longer, I will let myself out, make sure the door is locked, and leave you with dignity and respect. And if I may, I’d like to call you in the morning where, upon you answering the phone, you’ll hear me singing a song for you that encapsulates our first date together.”

Or something like that.

25 Responses to “learn how to take a compliment.”

  1. kH 9 June 2010 at 3:02 pm #

    AAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHHAHHAHHAAAA!!!
    He DOES have nice forearms! And they DO have the perfect amount of hair! (Enough to be manly, not so much to be werewolf-y.)

    • You're a Grown Man 9 June 2010 at 4:43 pm #

      That’s a lot of freaking A’s and H’s…I hope you mean every one of them.

      Thanks for reading and being supportive, kH

  2. jameskaufholz 9 June 2010 at 3:28 pm #

    This post is definitely the highlight of GM so far. Specifically: “I’d like to take you out to the finest Italian restaurant in all the land.” Perfect.

    James
    http://www.folkwaysmagazine.com

    • You're a Grown Man 9 June 2010 at 4:43 pm #

      I feel like you’re saying this because of all the WWF references.

      Thanks a ton for reading, James.

  3. pbandchutney 9 June 2010 at 3:55 pm #

    HAHA that is absolutely hilarious. Can you please say that line(s) to a grown woman next time (for real) and please tell us what she says. Because this is just awesome.

    • You're a Grown Man 9 June 2010 at 4:44 pm #

      Oh yeah, I’m pretty sure any fair maiden would be wooed by this – it’s almost a guarantee. I’ll let you know how it works for me.

  4. lookingforsomethingtofind 9 June 2010 at 4:15 pm #

    That was great, funny, I’ve always been awful with compliments, I find personally the best way to respond is something humorous. Good advice though, well done.

    • You're a Grown Man 9 June 2010 at 4:46 pm #

      Ah yes, the classic humor deflection…guys do this so well.

      Coworker: “Hey, nice job today on the presentation!” You: “I’m sure you were just staring at my butt the whole time.” (snicker, snicker, snicker)

  5. perpetuallypeeved 9 June 2010 at 5:20 pm #

    In addition to another wonderful post, today you have also provided me with an awesome idea for next Halloween’s outfits. I am hitting the thrift stores for a purple leopard/zebra tank for hubby right now!

  6. drumstudent81 9 June 2010 at 7:15 pm #

    Right on GM! Often times in an effort to avoid looking arrogant, one becomes exceedingly prideful–when shooting down a compliment it’s almost as if one said “I actually can do a lot better and if you think I was great just now then you must really have low standards.”

    • You're a Grown Man 16 June 2010 at 11:17 am #

      Exactly! Well put, drumstudent81. The humility ends up having an opposite effect.

  7. KRomano 9 June 2010 at 9:19 pm #

    Fantastic advice! Although I’m not sure I would be entirely comforted if Grown Man began his reply to my praise filled compliment with “Grown Woman…”. However, the heart shaped rock and TCBY make up for it.

    • You're a Grown Man 16 June 2010 at 10:53 am #

      Solid point, KRomano. Maybe he should start out with, “Delicate fem. flower…” or “Future Mrs. Grown Man…”? Maybe not.

      Thanks for reading, KRomano – if that is your real name.

  8. alaskanarcticexpeditions 9 June 2010 at 11:13 pm #

    I love this blog.

    Grown Man, I wish every boy and man-child would read your posts and heed the wisdom.

    -Andrea

    • You're a Grown Man 16 June 2010 at 10:49 am #

      Thanks, Andrea! You know what I love? Arctic Expeditions! Your site is so cool and makes me want to catch the next flight up north – way up north.

      Stay warm.

  9. Ashleyhh 15 June 2010 at 11:17 am #

    Amazing. I would fall for that response in a nanosecond. I love this blog. Thanks for giving guys the advice they need to be hearing!

    • You're a Grown Man 16 June 2010 at 10:47 am #

      Guys, you know what to say to Ashleyhh now! I’m really glad you like the blog, thanks for saying so. Do you blog?

      • ashleyhh 18 June 2010 at 4:12 pm #

        Not very often. I am getting into it though. And your page is on my blog roll. =)

        I have to say that I have been showing this blog to as many people as possible. Especially this post. I just reread the response and for some reason in my head I heard the Old Spice comericial man. Very fitting.

  10. smallbutvaluable 15 June 2010 at 12:08 pm #

    The WWF references made me happy, but the response to Grown Woman’s hypothetical compliment is even better. Unlimited toppings? Really?! Seriously though, I think we could all use some practice in graciously accepting compliments. Thanks.

    • You're a Grown Man 16 June 2010 at 10:45 am #

      I’m glad you liked the WWF references. Also, I love the design of your blog. It’s really clean and the photography is tremendous. smallbutvaluable.wordpress.com*

      *Thanks for reading and being kind enough to comment.

  11. One Fair Summer Evening 16 June 2010 at 8:40 pm #

    That is exactly what we want to hear! How did you aquire such insight into the female mind?
    Birdie

    • You're a Grown Man 18 June 2010 at 3:25 pm #

      What can I say, One Fair Summer Evening, I’m a romantic.

      You’re awesome, and you have a cool name!

  12. Tom Dupree 24 August 2010 at 6:02 am #

    The only part you left out is, “…and it’s nice of you to say so.” (Not the hair kind, the other kind.) You can flip a little bit of the love back onnem if you try.

    I love your blog, your attitude, and your writing chops.

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