The Art of Giving Compliments

The honest truth is most of us are better at delivering bad news and criticism than we are at delivering compliments. I want to share a few thoughts in this blog that will help you become a more effective giver of compliments.

First, let me share a few thoughts on what compliments do and why they are so important in relationships. Compliments provide feedback that you are still happy with your partner and still find them desirable. This is important to understand because too often we accidentally remove compliments from our dialogue once we have been together for a while and begin to only talk about daily life tasks and problems. This is a mistake and sets the environment for problems to arise. Feedback must be exchanged and we have to ensure some (or even most) of that feedback is positive. Here are a few tips to ensure you deliver compliments that keep positivity as part of your relationship.

  1. True and positive. In order for a compliment to be meaningful it only has to be true and positive. Most people have a tendency to over think this. They think we have to be telling our partner something they didn’t already know. This is not true; redundancy is not bad, as long as it is true and positive. Also, don’t worry about sounding silly or hokey, just be sure you mean it.
  2. Be personal. Make sure your compliment is about something personal about your partner. Think about arguments for a second, personal comments hurt a bit more. Well, the opposite is equally true. Personal compliments mean more and elicit a different level of happiness. Don’t compliment on your partner’s parenting or their ability to provide for the family, this will not add to your relationship. It has to be about them and the way their lives and function day to day.
  3. Be Meaningful. Make sure you are complimenting your partner about the meaningful parts of their personality. If they take pride in the way they look, compliment their looks when you notice. If they take pride in being organized, then compliment their organization skills when appropriate.
  4. Be a detective. Constantly be on the lookout for things to compliment about your partner. People can tell if they are around someone that is looking for the best of them and we typically enjoy being around those people more. It is hard to be around people that only notice our problems and mistakes. Don’t be that person; keep looking for your partner’s success and letting them know you see it.
  5. Be Frequent. The problem with problems is they make us talk and force us to communicate about them. This means we have to work to make sure we are spreading compliments at least as frequently as we are talking about problems.  Success and happiness don’t have the same, “we need to talk” power that problems do so couples need to create a habit exchanging compliments routinely. Hint: there is ALWAYS something to compliment.


I hope this helps you and you and your partner and that you are able to create the habit of exchanges meaningful and effective compliments in your relationship. I promise it will make a big difference.


Elliott E. Connie



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