As long as it doesn’t come off as overtly insincere, you’re likely to enjoy someone else’s encouragement. Being well-known for what you do—or who you are—is an incredible feeling. It’s both reassuring and reassuring, and it’s great validation. Compliments and flattery raise our spirits, soften our hearts, and dispel old worries and self-doubts for the majority of us.
Yet there is a dark side to praise. It can be a form of verbal coercion, offered solely to serve the interests of the individual offering it, far more than we normally know. This article will address six ways that praise could be used to gain your approval or wrangle anything from you that you wouldn’t usually give.
If you’re insecure and depend on outside affirmation to feel important or good about yourself, you’ll be especially sensitive to dishonest praise that comes with secret conditions. There is a cost to such adoration. People with low self-esteem are preyed upon by exploitive praisers, who seem to have a radar for detecting them. They know how to instill trust in you and reduce your fear by flattering maneuvers that are ultimately designed for their own good, not yours.
This isn’t to suggest that if anyone compliments you, you shouldn’t be suspicious. However, it’s often wise to inquire if the person thanking you isn’t scheming for anything in exchange, or whether their gratitude is a “set up.” The possibility that they are attempting to take advantage of you should be investigated, particularly if their praises seem inflated.
Compliments are often insignificant, repetitious, and focused on the giver rather than the recipient. This type of compliment is popular, for example, when someone says, “I like your outfit.” You may believe you are helping the other person by complimenting their sense of style, but this is not the case. By starting your compliment with “I,” you’re implying that it’s about you: you’re making a statement about your taste based on what they’re wearing.
Other compliments don’t start with “I,” but for a variety of reasons, they’re counterproductive. You certainly wouldn’t hesitate to tell a coworker, “Nice job!” for example, but that statement is devoid of useful information. Consider this: if anyone said anything like that to you, wouldn’t you want to hear what you did well instead of making assumptions? Generic compliments like these are perfect for casual conversations, but they can come across as disingenuous in professional settings, and if you use them too much, you can come across as superficial.
Acknowledgements, on the other hand, go into greater detail, are more detailed, and are solely based on the recipient. They take more effort than casual compliments, but they are much more effective as a result. Acknowledgements strengthen bonds by making the recipient feel heard and valued. Giving the team members this kind of focused appreciation makes them recognize their own abilities and feel secure in using them. After all, the aim of praise is to provide useful information.
As a result, transform the phrasing into an acknowledgement by removing yourself from it. “You have excellent taste,” rather than “I love your shirt,” tell your colleague. “Your sense of style is ideal for you.”
To transform a compliment like “good job” into a solid acknowledgment, make it more succinct. Rather than making broad claims, focus on what the person did well. Replace “Good work!” with “You have a knack for handling tasks under pressure.” Furthermore, when you’re hyper-specific, they’ll remember not just what you said, but also how much you cared.
Unlearning lifelong patterns is difficult, but even small changes can make a difference–and not just to other people. It will make your day when you see others happy as a result of your skillfully delivered acknowledgement.
Check out my related post: Why do compliments make you feel embarrassed?