Giving compliments to others is a great way to build relationships and strengthen bonds between friends. People tend to enjoy receiving compliments because kind words and positive feedback are encouraging and motivating, and they boost self-esteem. In addition to making a person feel good about themselves, flattering words also have numerous health benefits for the recipient. People who receive positive words frequently are shown to higher levels of productivity and decreased levels of stress, and they experience the same emotional payoff as they would have if they received a tangible reward instead. Researcher Norihiro Sadata, one of the creators of a study about the benefits of receiving compliments, says that getting a compliment is “as much as a social reward as being rewarded money.” With the evidence of how money is a key motivator, it is no surprise that people who receive praise have high levels of performance.
Although the recipient of kind words seems to benefit the most from compliments, giving compliments can be equally rewarding. However, while everyone loves to receive accolades, praising others does not always come easily. Sometimes giving compliments can be intimidating because people are not sure how their words will be received, or they are afraid they will come off as disingenuous. It can also be difficult for someone who has social anxiety or someone who is nervous around others to approach someone and commend them. If you struggle with any of these insecurities, giving a compliment might be a challenge, but with practice, you can become skilled in this area and reap the benefits of boosting others up with kindness. Here are some tips to keep in mind as you work on becoming more confident when giving compliments.
Avoid giving compliments randomly or without meaning. Compliments come across better when they are sincere and the recipient knows you truly mean what you are saying. Always make sure that you are being moderate with your praise. You do not have to be over-the-top with your compliments to be genuine. Inflated praise will make your comments seem insincere and might make the recipient uncomfortable. Take the time to truly acknowledge someone’s strengths and approach them with genuine kind words. A genuine compliment will go a long way because it will be more significant to the recipient.
Make sure your motives for giving the compliment are pure so that you do not give backhanded compliments or seem like you are giving praise for your own benefit. Empty flattery and kissing-up are not helpful for you are the person you are complimenting. Make sure you are not offering your words in order to receive a compliment in return. When you offer words of admiration, you should be doing it solely for the benefit of the other person.
Regardless of how sincere your intention is, a general compliment will not be as significant as one that recognizes something specific. Instead of praising someone for doing good work, praise them for the specific action or project they completed that demonstrated their good work and include examples. Saying, “Your presentation was great” is not as meaningful as saying, “The information you shared in your presentation today was insightful and well-organized, and I learned some helpful new skills I will be sure to implement.” Try and focus on character traits and behaviors rather than physical attributes, and be as specific as possible when highlighting these characteristics.
There is nothing more sincerely flattering than knowing someone sees you and that they can specifically pinpoint something they appreciate about you. Take the time to pay attention to those around you so that you can notice their personal strengths. As you focus on others and their positive qualities, genuine compliments will come to you more naturally. Make it a priority to be present when you are spending time with others and actively look for opportunities to offer praise.
Many people are afraid to praise others because, in their mind, they see compliment giving as ambitious, grandiose gesture. Giving a compliment does not have to be complicated or overly formal. When you see an opportunity to offer someone a genuine compliment, simply walk over to them and casually give them your positive remarks. Notice and offer admiration for small actions. If someone has a new haircut that looks good on them, let them know. You do not have to wait for someone to do something major or for them to have some sort of big accomplishment in order to recognize them. It will be less intimidating to give compliments when you see them as quick, casual remarks rather than grand gestures.
Be Open to Receiving Compliments
If you are not able to receive compliments well, you might struggle to give them to others. Learn how to take a compliment in stride. When someone praises your work or offers you a positive remark, smile and say thank you. Resist the urge to diminish their compliment by denying or negating their kind words. Do not automatically return a compliment unless it is sincere. When you receive a compliment that is truly flattering, consider the way they gave their compliment to you and allow that experience to influence how you give compliments to others.
For help communicating and building positive relationships with others, contact Oakville Wellness Center and visit their blog.
Giving is an essential component of a positive relationship, and those who give to others regularly often feel more positive and have higher self-esteem (Weinstein & Ryan 2010) than those who do not give. When you are generous with your time, energy, or money, you not only benefit the person to whom you are giving, but you also experience benefits yourself. One major upside to giving is that your feelings toward and connection with the recipient of your gifts are often strengthened. Giving in a relationship can often be more satisfying and rewarding than receiving because it builds intimacy and provides advantages for both the giver and the taker.
While generosity is great, in order for a relationship to be successful there needs to be a balance of giving and taking. This is because receiving a gift can have negative feelings associated with it like a feeling of obligation (Goes & Boster, 2005). When a member of the relationship gives too much without receiving, or takes too much without offering anything in return, the relationship can fall apart. Although giving and taking often will not be an even, 50-50 split between two people, it should always feel mutual, and no one should feel like the other person is taking advantage of them. This article will explore ways you can give in your relationship without sacrificing yourself, and how you can set boundaries to make sure no one takes too much in a relationship.
One of the most important ways to make sure your relationship maintains a proper balance is to communicate with your partner. Communication is essential to healthy relationships, and without it you will find your partnership will begin to suffer. Have a conversation with your partner about what healthy giving and taking looks like. Explain what you want to see from the relationship and listen when to what your partner wants. Make sure there is adequate time and opportunity for both of you to speak, and come up with strategies that address both of your needs.
If your partner communicates that he or she is feeling like they are doing the brunt share of giving in your relationship, do not get defensive. Take the time to have a productive conversation where both of you are listening to one another and truly considering what the other has to say. When a relationship feels too one-sided, it is destined to fail. Prevent this from happening by having regular conversations to express feelings and solve issues regarding giving to one another.
If your partner is not using the strategies you developed together and you are beginning to feel like you are giving too much in the relationship, set boundaries. Setting boundaries is key to having a healthy relationship, but it can be tricky. In order to set effective boundaries, it is important for you to be self-aware and communicate clearly with your partner. Take a look at yourself, and make note of your thoughts and feelings and the actions that trigger them. It is okay to have problems with different aspects of your relationship and to convey your feelings to your partner.
Unhealthy taking occurs when a giver feels overwhelmed or pained by the amount of time or energy they are sharing, or they do not receive anything in return. When the give-take balance of your relationship shifts in a way that is uncomfortable for you, present your boundary in a loving, but direct way. Telling your partner, “I love spending time with you, but I cannot stay up until 3 a.m. talking to you when I have work in the morning. I would love to dedicate time in the evening instead” is a way to reassure them that you care for them while expressing a clear boundary. If you do not set boundaries in your relationship, you will find that instead of receiving joy from giving, you will feel resentment. Set boundaries to preserve the relationship and to prevent losing your sense of self and happiness.
Diversify Your Giving
There are many different ways in which you can give to your partner. If you make sure you are giving in a variety of ways, you will not only help your partner feel loved, but you will also keep yourself from being overwhelmed. Here are some of the ways you can give in your relationship:
When you are tempted to get angry or to judge your partner, pause and give them patience and love instead. This can help you to have more productive conversations and to address conflict in a positive manner.
Give Praise and Thanks
Noticing and speaking up about little things that your partner does that you love doesn't cost you anything, but can benefit your relationship. When you see them successfully complete a challenging task or activity, give them a compliment. When they go out of their way to do something for you, thank them.
Give Time and Attention
Show up for the events that matter to your partner. Dedicate time during your day to listen to how they are feeling. This is the lifeblood of a healthy relationship. Giving time and attention can exhausting if you give too much of it, so make sure that you are setting boundaries, too.
Sometimes each person in a relationship needs a little space to make sure they are able to re energize, practice introspection, and maintain their sense of self. Do not be afraid to give your partner a space when needed. They were their own person before you, and you do not want them to feel like they are losing themselves. Do not monopolize their time and prevent them from having their own life.
For more tips on understanding yourself, setting clear boundaries, and deepening your relationships through generosity, communication, and love, visit Oakville Wellness Center online today!
Goei, R., & Boster, F. J. (2005). The roles of obligation and gratitude in explaining the effect of favors on compliance. Communication Monographs, 72(3), 284-300.
Weinstein, N., & Ryan, R. (2010). When helping helps: Autonomous motivation for prosocial behavior and its influence on well-being for the helper and recipient. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 98(2), 222-244.
Sadness and depression are two terms that are oftentimes used interchangeably. And while it’s true that sadness and depression are in some ways related, there are important distinctions that you should be aware of if you think you may be suffering from depression. Some sixteen million people in the US alone have been affected by this condition -- so awareness certainly does matter.
Sadness and depression share a lot of qualities (most notably a sad mood). However, there are a few areas where they have obvious differences. Asking yourself the following questions can help you discern a sad mood from possible depression -- and empower you to make the decisions you need in order to feel better.
Can you see a light at the end of the tunnel?
One thing that characterizes depression over regular sadness is that those stuck in the depths of depression often feel a sense of unsettling permanence. To them, it seems that things will never change and that there’s no possible event or action that will help in any way. A typical period of sadness, however, is often accompanied by the knowledge that the sadness will end (think of someone who’s sad because they lost their job, but understands that they’ll soon find a new one).
Are you able to distract yourself?
Can your friends still take you out to get your mind off things? Does a random encounter with a golden retriever puppy still bring you a moment’s respite from your negative feelings? If so then true depression is less likely. Those who suffer from depression are often unable to find joy in their favourite things, and no activity is able to distract them from how they feel.
Are you experiencing physical symptoms?
Depression hits more than just a person’s mental wellbeing. Very often a host of physical issues come along with it. Left untreated, depression can take a significant physical toll on a person’s body. If you’re experiencing any combination of physical symptoms along with a depressed mood, then it is likely evidence that you’re going through more than a normal bought of sadness.
These are just a few of the most common physical symptoms that come with depression. The National Institute on Mental Health keeps a more complete list, which you may find informative.
Can you still see the good in yourself?
Regular sadness doesn’t usually lead to self-loathing. Sometimes a person may be feeling sad and guilty about a bad thing that they did, but the feelings are unlikely to be permanent or all-consuming. You may feel like a jerk for that fight you started with your spouse, but at no point would your guilt over that make you feel like even your own parents have no reason to love you.
Depression, on the other hand, does exactly that. It can convince a person that they have no redeeming qualities whatsoever, and that no one in their lives truly enjoys having them around. An intense self-loathing can be a very serious sign that not only are you depressed, but you need help fast.
Sometimes it can help to lay all your symptoms out at once, and see them all together to get a good idea of the scope of your situation. Depression screenings offered by hospitals or online resources are a good way of doing this. These are not a replacement for a medical diagnosis, but they can give you an idea of whether or not you should be seeking professional help.
There’s a wide array of options to treat depression. Sometimes changes in daily routine can be helpful. Other times, a psychotherapist or psychiatrist might need to come on board. Many people are reluctant to begin treatment for depression, but it is truly more effective the earlier you start. And remember that most treatments, including medication, do not need to continue for the rest of your life. Recovery time is different for everyone but most people can get better from depression, and get back to living their lives.
Oakville Wellness Center