Why Can't You Take a Compliment?

Take it from a guy's perspective: next time, just say "thank you!"

It’s been our experience that about 80% of the time we pay a woman a compliment, it doesn’t go appreciated: from the dismissive wave of the hand and the rolling of eyes to sudden exclamations of “Hah!” to the self-deprecating “Yeah, right,” and the outright refutation (“Hindi nga eh!”). What’s odd is women complain when we don’t notice, but they dismiss us when we do.

Praise Is Just Praise
Maybe it’s just part and parcel of growing up Filipino, where more likely than not, you’ve been raised to be humble and modest, not vain and arrogant. There’s the tendency to overthink the compliment, trying to decode it based on who said it, what your shared history is, and whether he does it a lot with other girls. But you can relax, ladies. Sometimes, a compliment is really just a keen observation, and we hope the lying jerks of this world haven’t taught you otherwise.

Insecurity or Insincerity?
Are women really just unsure of themselves? “I just chalk it up to insecurity,” says Miguel, 30, a photographer. “I don’t know what makes them insecure though.” While this could be a plausible explanation, always remember that you’re not considered the fairer sex for no reason. Conversely, some guys read differently into a denied compliment. “Women know themselves best, so they can be dismissive of others’ opinions,” adds Jonty, 22, a writer. He quotes a bit of wisdom from the movie Mean Girls: “[women] also know how to give false compliments, so they might be more wary when they get some in return.”

What You’re Telling Us
When you brush off a guy’s carefully-worded compliment, you’re telling him that either:
a) he has no idea what he’s talking about or;
b) his opinion doesn’t matter. Neither of which we want to hear. No one likes to feel unappreciated, after all, and we’re just trying  to show our appreciation of you by showering you with sweet, truthful words! The compliment-disher will then come to conclusions such as a) you are insecure, and b) reminding himself that you don’t take compliments well, and to avoid dishing out any more in the future.

Just Say the Word
The easiest, safest way to accept a compliment is with a simple word: Thanks! Luis, 34, an editor, prefers “a slight, shy smile to go with it.” The compliment is a small token of our appreciation, and we want that token to be appreciated in turn. We pay you a kind word to see the involuntary blush or the casual aversion of the eyes that confirms that you did take your time for your appearance and are glad that we paid attention. Because we do pay attention. So when we say that you look like you were poured into that dress, know that it comes from the bottom of our heart, and that’s God’s honest truth. I mean, would we lie to you?

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