Friday, September 6, 2013

Our Guide to Accepting Compliments Without Sounding Like an Asshole

As you have probably noticed, we’ve been undergoing all kinds of turmoil here in at Minds Melding Central. We’re working on figuring out a schedule that we can handle with the new city and new job situation. If you hadn’t guessed, we had PLENTY of time at our jobs in the Small Town to brainstorm, collaborate, quote, and otherwise spray our creative juices everywhere while still doing a stellar job at...well, our actual jobs. Here in the Big City, we thought that might not be the case. So far we’re trying to stay on top of moving, living, functioning, working, and blogging at the same rapid pace we did before, but forgive us if the schedule starts to slow down a bit.

You know how it goes.

Anyway, as we’re doing all of those things, we’re also trying to catch up on all of the comic gold surrounding our last week in Small Town, and at work. Our families, friends and co-workers were very busy making sure that we had everything we needed (or that they had everything they needed out of our brains) before we ventured off into the wider world. Amidst all of the “Where are all of the newsletters saved?!” “In the “Newsletter” folder…” type nonsense, we got a lot of nice, if strange compliments.

As you may have sensed from the tone of our blog, we’re not historically stellar at giving or receiving compliments. We get that there are lots of reasons why people don’t want to accept compliments: you don’t want to appear conceited, you don’t trust the motives of the giver, you generally have low self-esteem, etc. Unfortunately, this is one of those areas where you just have to suck it up and put on a brave face (unless it’s a thinly-veiled critique masquerading as a compliment from your mother/frienemy) and shove all your neuroses into a corner. For all of you awkwards out there like us, please see below for our Guide to Accepting Compliments Without Sounding Like an Asshole: All We Can Hope For, Really.


1) Smile.
No matter how much it hurts your face/pride, you need to arrange your face into something that looks less like a scowl. We know how Bitchy Resting Face goes, but you do need to acknowledge a compliment with some sort of change in expression that does not head into the grimace territory. Try.

2) Say something.
Preferably “Thank you!”, but almost anything will do. Anya’s mother has had to remind her more than once that “I know” is not an acceptable response to a compliment, but even that is better than silence.
“Oh thanks, I got them for like $6!” is an awkward response to “I love those shoes!” but acknowledging is the key here. Don’t make them repeat themselves and don’t pretend like it never happened. However...see below for responses that are even worse than not speaking at all.

Do not:

1) Argue with the giver of compliment.
These people are the worst. We hate, hate, HATE talking to strangers, making small talk, admitting that other people are winning at something and the like, so we recognize that giving a compliment can be an ordeal in and of itself for people like us. If we make the Herculean effort to squeeze out an “I love those pants” to a stranger, we had best not be rewarded with an “Oh, really? I think this pattern is really weird, I just have everything else in the wash.” I SAID SOMETHING NICE AND YOU IMPUGNED MY TASTE? Keep it.

2) Respond with another compliment.
This one is tricky because it could be coming from a potentially good place. Maybe you genuinely did admire your co-worker’s perfectly coiffed hair, but were too shy to say anything until he initiated the conversation and complimented you on your fashionable boots. However, a compliment does not open the floor to a narcissistic circle jerk of homages. Any attempts at boomeranging it back to the giver makes you appear not only ungrateful, but also rather insincere. Not to mention you run the very real risk of looking like you’re making a veiled criticism. As people who have semi-accidentally done such a thing, we’re warning you now. Don’t!

3) Completely ignore the compliment.
This is probably the rudest (non) response you could possibly give, an absolute refusal to acknowledge the fact that a compliment was given. Almost any poorly delivered deflection would be better, as long as it recognizes that a compliment was given. Observe:
CLASSMATE: You kicked ass on your project presentation today! You blew everyone else out of the water.
YOU: There were a lot of presentations in class today… Uh, I’m getting hungry, do you want to grab something to eat?
You don’t want to sound like a mega-prick, right? No matter how strange and complicated they can be, compliments are nice gestures that you just need to learn how to deal with. Sorry, not sorry, just whip out a smile and a “thanks,” and move on.

What are the best/worst compliments you have ever received? Your best/worst reactions? Hit us with some comments!


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