How To Reply To A Compliment In A Relationship?


In a relationship, getting compliments (especially if you’ve never received them) can sometimes feel a little odd. Still, feeling good about meeting compliments with acceptance and grace is something that can foster connection inside of a romantic relationship, and it is, in fact, a great social practice for all people to run a little extra of in their encounters, whether or not they are flirting. What comes next is a guide that displays ways to answer to the complements received from your partner

Compliment Response Statistics

Response Type Resulting Impact on Relationship
Deflecting or denying the complimentCan make your partner feel unappreciated or discourage future compliments
Overly enthusiastic or exaggerated responseIt may come across as disingenuous or fishing for more compliments
Giving a compliment in returnShows appreciation and fosters reciprocity in the relationship
Saying “Thank you” sincerelySimple yet powerful acknowledgement of your partner’s sentiment

Why Proper Compliment Response Matters

Why Proper Compliment Response Matters

Receiving compliments may feel embarrassing, but responding to them respectfully is important for building intimacy and trust in a romantic relationship. Some key reasons why learning how to reply to compliments matters include properly:

  • It shows you care about your partner’s feelings: Dismissing or refusing a compliment can come across as ungrateful and hurt their feelings. Responding respectfully validates their sentiment.
  • It encourages more compliments: Partners who feel appreciated by your response will feel motivated to continue complimenting you in the future. This nurtures positive feelings on both sides.
  • It strengthens emotional connection: Exchanging compliments and responding to them respectfully allows both partners to express affection and admiration for each other openly.
  • It’s a relationship skill: Like other social skills, accepting compliments gracefully improves how you interact with your significant other and maintain closeness.
  • It boosts your partner’s self-esteem: Sincere, thoughtful responses let the compliment-giver know you value their perspective on you. This reflects positively on them as well.

With practice, you’ll learn to respond naturally in a way that expresses gratitude and keeps the compliment conversation flowing positively between you.

Common Compliment Response Mistakes

Common Compliment Response Mistakes

Before looking at better response options, it’s helpful to identify some typical mistakes or ineffective responses people often give:

  • Denying or dismissing the compliment: Saying things like “No, I’m not” or “You’re exaggerating” negates their kind words.
  • Changing the subject: Swiftly steering the conversation elsewhere without acknowledgement is dismissive.
  • Cracking a self-deprecating joke: While humour has its place, joking in response to a sincere compliment can undermine the sentiment.
  • Overly exaggerated response: Gushing profusely or acting flustered may seem disingenuous and like you’re fishing for more compliments.
  • Focused on physical appearance only: If complimented on intelligence or character, don’t just fixate on your looks as the response.
  • Expecting/demanding more compliments: Replying in a way that hints you feel owed further flattery is a turn-off.

Avoiding these pitfall responses and learning more affirmative techniques helps you make your partner feel appreciated for their thoughtfulness.

Effective Compliment Response Strategies

Effective Compliment Response Strategies

Here are some recommended strategies for responding well when your partner pays you a compliment in the relationship:

1. Say Thank You

A simple yet sincere “Thank you” is often the best response and cannot really be faulted. It directly acknowledges their kind words with grace and gratitude. You can also smile warmly when saying thanks to make it more heartfelt.

2. Provide a Brief Explanation

If a compliment catches you off guard, you can explain your reaction briefly before saying thank you. For example, “Aww, that’s really sweet of you to say. I wasn’t expecting that compliment, so thank you!” Keep it short so the focus remains on their sentiment.

3. Compliment Them Back

Responding to a compliment by also complimenting your partner in return is a nourishing way to continue the compliment exchange. Say something you genuinely appreciate about them to foster reciprocity, e.g. “Thank you, you look so handsome today too.”

4. Ask for Clarification

If unsure how to reply, you can ask them to elaborate, e.g. “That’s kind of you, what makes you say that?” Engaging politely conveys interest versus dismissing the compliment out of hand.

5. Reference a Specific Trait

If the compliment pertains to one of your qualities or gifts, acknowledge that trait specifically before thanking them. For instance, “Aww, thanks for noticing how hard I work. I really appreciate you saying that.”

6. Show Modest Appreciation

Acknowledging the compliment humbly without false modesty is preferable over unnecessary deflection. Say something like, “You always know how to make me feel special. I’m flattered, thank you.”

7. Smile or Make Eye Contact

Non-verbal cues like smiling warmly, holding eye contact briefly or giving them a quick hug/kiss can also help sincerely convey your appreciation for the compliment beyond just words.

Maintaining the Compliment Conversation

Maintaining the Compliment Conversation

Once you’ve thanked your partner for their kind words, consider ways to keep the compliment dialogue going in a natural, positive manner:

  • Ask them what made them say it to learn their perspective
  • Relay something specific you admire about them in return
  • Discuss a related memory the compliment brings to mind happily
  • Inquire about their day or interests to smoothly shift topics
  • Show displays of affection like holding hands as you converse

With practice, you’ll feel more comfortable fluidly accepting compliments while nurturing an uplifting exchange between you and your loved one. The key is responding respectfully without dismissiveness.

Dealing with Unexpected Compliments

At times, your partner may compliment you out of the blue for something you weren’t prepared for. In such scenarios:

  • Briefly explain your surprise before thanking them sincerely
  • Ask for a moment to process it if caught really off-guard
  • Promise to think about it positively rather than denying or doubting it
  • Try not to be overly analytical about their motives in the moment
  • Focus on the thoughtfulness behind the compliment primarily

With practice responding gracefully comes ease in accepting compliments, expected or not. Your partner wants to express affection for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What if I don’t feel deserving of the compliment?

A. Avoid denying or dismissing it. You can thank your partner respectfully for their perspective while internally deciding what to work on. Compliments are a kindness, so accept them in that spirit.

Q. What if I feel my partner is just buttering me up?

A. Accept compliments at face value as caring gestures Unless you have reason not to trust them. Questioning true motives risks undermining the relationship unnecessarily.

Q. Is it ok to genuinely disagree with a compliment?

A. You can disagree politely by thanking them for their view, then mention your self-assessment differs without self-deprecation. Focus on expressing appreciation for their good intentions.

Q. Do I always have to compliment back right away?

A. No, but do reciprocate before long so they feel their effort was acknowledged and appreciated. You don’t have to immediately, but replying in kind fosters stronger bonds overall.

Q. How do I respond to an inappropriate compliment?

A. Express discomfort politely while making clear inappropriate comments won’t be condoned or encouraged. Set boundaries firmly yet respectfully if needed to establish what is acceptable.


Learning to receive and reply to compliments graciously is an important relationship skill. With practice handling compliments respectfully through thanking sincerely, reciprocating affection, engaging thoughtfully and focusing on your partner’s good intentions, you nurture intimacy even in small moments. Compliments are opportunities to express and receive care. By responding properly, you cultivate closeness and help your loved one feel appreciated for boosting your spirit with their kind words.

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