“You’re Just Saying That”

My recent forays into another level of social media have exposed me to all sorts of articles, blogs, Tweets, etc pertaining to personal success, branding, and networking. Most of them are valid. (Even some of the ones I don’t do for various reasons.)

I think I have found one very simple act that can greatly improve one’s brand, chance for success and one’s network. There aren’t a whole lot of books about it, as far as I know. I don’t believe the concept has been studied. It also lacks profundity, (unless you find the simple to be profound.)

Accept a compliment.

No, I didn’t make a mistake. I realize that giving sincere compliments is useful when it comes to adding to one’s network. But it doesn’t do much good to give them if you can’t recieve them.

I am not talking about yes men that indiscriminately kiss your ass. I am talking about people in our lives, strangers, new contacts, friends, lovers, whatever, that pay you appropriate compliments which you find the need to deflect.

I’m not sexy, I’m overweight.” “You’re only saying that because we are friends.” “You tell everybody the same thing.”

Think of the two main messages you are projecting when you deflect a compliment.

1) I don’t trust that you are telling me the truth.
2) I don’t have confidence in myself enough to believe that what you say about me might actually be true to someone.

This isn’t to say that we are going to agree with every compliment we are given, even if they are sincere. You might not like the new haircut you got, even if your friends do. But this isn’t about agreeing. This is about accepting, preferably with a simple, “Thank you, that’s kind of you to say.”

If what we project to other people is as crucial to networking success as all of the gurus say it is, perhaps we should keep this in mind the next time we are complimented, instead of giving in to a trait that seemed ingrained into us by society itself; rejecting those who compliment us.

How good are any of you at accepting compliments? How do you feel when you are complimented and why?

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1 Comment

  1. I would also suggest that a third possible message is sent by rejecting a compliment:

    “Yes, I think that I'm super amazing too, but I hope you will think even better of me if I appear humble as well as talented.”

    And a fourth:

    “I know you really think what I did was great, but I don't respect your judgment enough for your opinion to be of value to me.”

    Or even possibly:

    “Well, I thought I did ok, but because I think so little of you and *you* like it, now I feel kind of bad about it.”

    I highly agree with your post! I might also add that this is not just a good consideration for career networking, but also friendships and dating as well.

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