Unique Ways to Give Compliments

Use sign language to convey a compliment in a unique way. Getty / Fabrice Lerouge

If you want your compliments to stand out from the crowd, consider offering them in unique ways. Compliments delivered in unusual ways will be remembered, and showcase your ability to think outside the box.

1. Choose Unique Words

People tend to overuse the same bland words when giving compliments. Allow your message to really stand out by choosing unique words that you don't hear every day. Examples might include that your husband looks "dapper" or you girlfriend is a "phenomenal" athlete.

Just be sure that your words are genuine—otherwise your compliment may come across as over-the-top and not sincere.

2. Pick Up a New Language

What could be more fun than learning a few words in a new language so that you can use them for a compliment? Adjectives from other languages are particularly useful. For example, "guapo" means handsome in Spanish. If the person you are speaking to has a native tongue other than English, choosing a compliment in that language will win you many points, both for originality and thoughtfulness. Finally, if a foreign language seems daunting, how about trying your hand at sign language? Find a video tutorial on Youtube, and then share what you have learned with friends and family so that they will understand what you are signing.

3. Put an Inside Joke to Use

Tailor the compliment to the individual, using inside jokes that only the two of you will understand.

For example, once you've learned those sign language maneuvers, use them to give compliments to family members that only they will understand. They will feel special knowing that the compliments are designed just for them.

4. Make a Celebrity Comparison

If you have a favorite celebrity, consider telling your significant other how much more attractive he is than that person.

For example, tell your husband that he is "better looking than Tom Cruise" or "funnier than Adam Sandler." In these situations, it is okay to stretch the truth a bit—your boyfriend will still appreciate knowing the qualities in him that you find attractive.

5. Send a Compliment in Writing

Not everyone feels comfortable sharing compliments in person—especially those who suffer with social anxiety. Don't feel that you can't share your compliments if you are too nervous. Instead, take the time to send a handwritten note (in a timely manner) to the person you wish to compliment. Write a note to your aunt telling her how much you enjoyed your last visit. Send an email to a coworker praising a job well done at the office. Send a card thanking a person who gave you a gift. Compliments offered in writing have just as much impact—and often more.

6. Compliment Using a Stare

Not a creepy stare, but a complimentary one. These types of stares work best if you are out on a date. In essence, you are communicating the idea that you can't take your eyes off the other person.

Be sure only to use the stare type of compliment when appropriate, such as when you are with someone who you know is also attracted to you.

7. Compliment by Text

Can you compliment by text? Yes of course. Just keep them fairly short, and avoid the use of text speak. Be aware that not everyone checks their phone regularly, so don't feel bad if you don't get a reply right away. Remember the golden rule of compliments—they aren't given to receive anything in return, just to make the other person feel good.

8. Ready-Made Compliments

Are you experiencing a drought of compliments in your household? Make it easier on everyone by having ready-made compliments for people to grab and share. The "Dating Divas" have a printable tear-off sheet with compliments that you can share (see the sources section below). Or, you can create a compliment jar, with ideas such as "You are amazing," "You are inspiring," or "You are wonderful." Customize them for your family and you will have a fun time sharing the compliments that you devised together.

9. Technology for Compliments

There are even apps for giving compliments! The "Kindr" app allows you to share compliments with other users of the app. Or, you can try sharing compliments on social media sites. If you post a compliment on the wall of a Facebook friend, all of her friends will see it, giving it that much more weight.

10. Ask Someone for Help as a Compliment

One of the easiest and most impactful ways to offer a compliment is to ask someone to help you do something. In essence, you are telling the person that you value their skills and abilities, without having to directly tell them. Ask for an opinion, help with technology, or advice about a troubling situation. The other person will be flattered that you thought to ask him.


Psychology Today: 9 Types of Compliments and Why They Work (Or Not)

Psychology Today: The Art of the Compliment

Thought Catalog: 19 Rules for Texting Your New Crush

Dating Divas: Printable Compliments

The Media Psychology Blog: The Kindness App: Send Compliments With ​Kindr

Video Jug: How to Compliment Someone Using Sign Language

Slideshare: How to Give Compliments in Russian

The Art of the Compliment: Using Kind Words With Grace and Style; Christie Matheson

University of Minnesota: American Compliments

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