Compliments come in all shapes and sizes. They can range from commending coworkers on their hard work, to telling your significant other how good that shirt looks on him or her. It’s the little things like sincere compliments that can change how people view and relate to you, and just one good compliment can make someone’s entire day better.

Compliments, no matter how small or how grand, can make anyone feel good. It doesn’t matter who the person is or what your relationship is, because no one is exempt from the feel-goods that come with good compliments. Next time you want to dole out some acclaim, keep these six tips in mind.

1. Tailor your compliment.

Compliments are designed to make people feel good about themselves, so make sure the compliment is all about the specific person you’re speaking to. Mass-produced compliments lose their meaning pretty quickly because the more personal the accolade, the better. People feel much more appreciated when you say exactly why you think that person deserves some praise.

2. Include examples.

If you just say, “Good job,” that’s all fine and well, but it’s not nearly the compliment it could be. Back your compliment up with examples of why you think that person did do a good job. Including examples makes your compliment seem more sincere, and is therefore much more effective and convincing. In a work situation, it might also help the person realize what he or she did, and how to better accomplish that task in the future. While work relationships are certainly different from others, it’s still important to let coworkers know that they’re appreciated.

3. Don’t put it off.

Too many people wait until what they think is the perfect moment for a good compliment. Don’t be one of those people! What you have in your head as a perfect moment may never happen, and unless you’re willing to single-handedly create that moment yourself, don’t delay the compliment. If you feel that a compliment is appropriate, the best time is now. Sincerity has a lot to do with timing, and if you feel it, you should say it.

4. Include the other person.

Compliments don’t have to be a one-way street. If you think someone did something particularly well and compliment him or her on it, include that person and make it a conversation. Try, “How do you think it went?” The last thing you want is to seem patronizing or condescending, and including the other party can help offset that and make them feel even more appreciated.

5. Make it 100% compliment.

Don’t ever tell someone that something they’ve done is great…because what he or she was doing beforehand wasn’t so great. Compliments are meant to make people feel good, and that’s it. Don’t bring other things into it, because comparing the now and the then can just make someone feel bad about themselves. Do not negate a good compliment by making it back-handed or rude. That accomplishes the exact opposite of what a compliment should do for a person.

6. Be selfless.

Never compliment someone because you want a compliment back. Not only is this a very selfish thing to do, but it sucks all of the sincerity right out of the compliment. If you think someone’s hair looks nice, say so — but don’t do it just because you’re having a bad hair day and want some validation for your own look. Many people might return a compliment with another, but you shouldn’t go into the interaction expecting or even hoping for that. You’re doing this because you think someone else should be praised, not you.  

Featured photo credit: Daniel Lobo via photopin.com

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