Do Compliments Make You Cringe? Here’s Why. - Deepstash
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Receiving a compliment

Receiving a compliment

Many people squirm in their seats when someone's compliment catches them off guard.

A study of more than 400 people showed that 70% associated receiving a compliment with feelings of embarrassment or discomfort.


1.56K reads

Why we feel discomfort when receiving praise

We most often feel uncomfortable if compliments catch us by surprise. When we're surprised, we move through the following sequence:

  • Stage 1: We momentarily freeze. Rising dopamine levels may cause the heart to start racing and palms sweating. This intense emotional experience can feel uncomfortable.
  • Stage 2: We find an explanation for what is happening.
  • Stage 3: We shift the new information so that it fits our existing schema about ourselves. This means we may try to deflect the compliment or shut it down.
  • Stage 4: We share our experience.


872 reads

How to trigger joy instead of anxiety when we receive praise

  • When you receive a compliment from someone, understand that it is **their** experience of the situation, not yours. Simply accept their perspective. Start by saying "thank you."
  • Reframe your experience. Think of your vulnerability not as a weakness but as openness. See it as an opportunity to connect with someone else. "Wow, that is such a different perspective."

Nobody is able to change their first response to compliments overnight. It takes time and practice.


869 reads

Slow down conditioned responses

Learning to take a compliment well starts with self-awareness.

Get curious about your learned behaviours and how they impact your response to a compliment.

  • In your culture or faith, were you taught just to say thank you, praise God, or divert the compliment with your head down?
  • How abundant or scarce was praise in your childhood?
  • Did your family have unspoken rules around praise?
  • Did you hear statements like" It's not that big a deal" or "Don't let it get to your head?"


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