Accepting a Compliment

Sunday, January 21, 2018 | Uncategorized

“That was such beautiful playing…”

“Your have such a great sound!”

     Making the most of a compliment for both parties

Compliments are something we prefer to receive, so why are most of us so bad at accepting them? We know that the most gracious response is a simple “thank you!” But often, we can’t help ourselves, and end up stammering out a clumsy response that just makes things awkward. “Uhh…thanks…but I was sooo nervous…did you hear my sound shaking?” Even if we’re being honest, responses like these can make the complimenter feel uncomfortable and maybe even a tad foolish, since we’re essentially telling them that they don’t know what they’re talking about. And by dismissing sincere compliments about our playing, our confidence stays kind of stuck too.

How can we take in a compliment, and get better at internalizing the nice things people say?

1. Accept: Take the compliment. Offer a sincere and heartfelt “thank you!” instead of trying to deflect, redirect, or minimize the feedback.

2. Amplify: Take it in and savor the nice sentiment for a moment. Avoid scrolling past it like an unwanted ad in your Facebook feed, and burying it under the pile of imperfections you’re already starting to dwell on.

3. Advance: If the compliment comes from a colleague, ask for some concrete feedback about one thing they feel you did particularly well – so that you could either do it again, or make that part of the performance even more awesome the next time. Interesting, right? Most times, I think we automatically look for feedback on what we did poorly.

Accept. Amplify. Advance. Not the way most of us typically respond to compliments, but much more productive from the sounds of it!

Thanks to Dr. Noa Kageyama and James Pawelski for information contributing to this article!