Parents can help their children learn the important skill of giving and graciously receiving compliments.
When someone offers you a compliment, such as "You look pretty in that dress," the appropriate response would be: "Thank you," as you smile and show appreciation by your facial features.
An inappropriate response would be: "This old thing! I hate it but I couldn't find anything else to wear." Or: "It's not mine. I borrowed it from my neighbor."
Not accepting a compliment shows disrespect to the person who complimented you. Just as bad as not graciously accepting a compliment by saying "Thank you" is accepting a compliment by saying "I know."
For example: "John, you played a great game Saturday night."
This response is the same as clapping for yourself or drinking a toast to yourself when someone is honoring you for an achievement. Always smile and respond with a genuine "Thank you."
One last note: Be selective when passing out compliments. Make sure that they are sincere, not patronizing. If you give someone a compliment and then proceed to give the next 10 people you meet the same compliment, it lacks sincerity. Remember that a compliment should not be used as a space filler when there is nothing else to talk about.
Diane Gottsman is a nationally recognized etiquette and protocol expert who leads age-appropriate etiquette programs for children as well as adults striving to fine-tune their skills. She has a masterís degree in sociology/education. For more information, check out www.protocolschooloftexas.com.
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