You’ve gone out, maybe to a show, convention, party, or perhaps to work. Danger could even be lurking in your own home with friends, family, partners, or guests. The worst has just happened – someone has GASP praised you, your work, something you’ve done. They have given you a genuine, heartfelt, compliment.
How dare they?
Now you feel awkward and weird and even more introverted and want to curl up and hide and you don’t believe it.
YOU BETTER DO WHAT? I GOTTA BELIEVE!
Yes, Naruto and Parappa the Rapper and smashing together in an unholy metaphorical mess today.
Time to start believing, growing that self-belief and confidence.
HOW DO I RESPOND?
You probably want to come across as humble and grateful, though FUCK YEAH I’M THAT GOOD! Might be an appropriate response, depending on the circumstances.
There are loads of ways to deflect praise and compliments, how many of these do you recognize?
Being needy and wanting more reassurance
Them: “Your stream of The Outer Worlds was awesome last night.”
You: “Do you really think so? I felt like I was a mess.”
Them “I love your hair! Even without product, it gives an element of style that most haircuts don’t once you get past the ‘week 1’ stage.”
You: “Shall we get some food?”
Them “That suit looks great on you”
You: “The cummerbund helps cover up how fat I am”
Questioning their experience
Them: “You SLAYED on karaoke!”
You: “You mustn’t have heard many people sing live then”
Firing one right back
Them: “This report is incredible, really detailed, great job”
You: “Yours is much more user-friendly and readable, brilliant stuff!”
Devaluing the compliment
Them: “That crocheted Pokémon you made me was perfect”
You: “Oh I just followed a pattern and used old wool”
There are plenty of ways to raise your deflector shields to a compliment, arguing with them, passing the praise on to someone else, denying it – people get really creative in ways they don’t accept praise.
And d’you know what? It does you no favours at all. It harms your self-belief stat, which has a knock-on effect on your confidence, resilience, and everything else.
It also kinda makes you look like a prick. It’s insulting to the person who gave the compliment, you start devaluing yourself.
So you get less praise, fewer compliments. You miss out on the serotonin hit of someone saying something good about you and your work.
The spiral has begun.
STEP ONE – ACCEPTING COMPLIMENTS WITH GRACE
You don’t have to start believing them just yet, but you do have to pretend.
THE BEST RESPONSE IS….
That’s it. It’s easy to remember, fits any situation, and can’t be misinterpreted.
ADD A MULTIPLIER FOR BONUS XP
You can amplify the effects with one of these handy dandy bonuses:
“I appreciate that”
“Thanks for noticing”
“I’m glad you enjoyed it”
“Pleased I could be of help”
ADVANCED SKILLS FOR POWERLEVELLING
If it meant a lot to you, tell them.
“That really means a lot to me”
“That’s really cheered me up”
Now you’re a master of responding to compliments. BELIEVE IT! That doesn’t get through the cognitive dissonance – when you don’t believe the compliment and the brain leaps to the easiest pattern – the deflection.
It is going to feel a bit weird for a while, your brain will probably tell you that they’re being insincere, taking the piss, being sarcastic, got an ulterior motive.
The more you accept the compliments, the easier it gets; you’re creating new patterns of behaviour, laying down stronger pathways in the brain, making new habits to replace the less useful habits you’ve spent a lifetime honing.
Strap on a booster by paying yourself some compliments.
I am doing the best I can.
I look good today.
I did well at that job.
I managed to overcome that challenge.
I finally beat that second fucking boss in Persona 5.
Start with the most believable compliment you can pay yourself and work your way, up the ladder, to bigger compliments and higher praise.
You did ok there!
That wasn’t bad at all.
You made them happy.
You smashed that job.
You massively over delivered!
Start building it in, say it in your head. Face a mirror and tell yourself.
The more you do it, the more you believe.
Awesome job writing this blog Robin, now go beat that third boss in Persona 5…