Why It’s Important to Accept a Compliment

What is your initial response to someone giving you a sincere compliment? Do you say “thank you” or brush it off? An area of etiquette that many people struggle with is correctly responding to compliments. They have given me every excuse in the book – they feel that saying “thank you” makes them seem egotistical, they disagree with the person, they think the person may be teasing them, etc. The list goes on and on and on.

A little secret to etiquette is to focus more on the other person than yourself. You don’t have to justify why you’re dressed up or wearing make up. You don’t need to give a 20-minute monologue on where you found the top and the spectacular deal you got. Don’t fret over the fact you’re not where you want to be. You just need to say thanks. Genuine thanks.

We’re taught to keep to ourselves and to look out for ourselves. However, I truly believe that we are meant to be with others. We are meant to have relationships of all kinds and learning how to correctly interact with others is a key part of that relationship flourishing.

I encourage you to accept the compliment when someone steps out on a limb to give one instead of dismissing it, essentially dismissing their opinion and thought. It isn’t always easy to get out of your comfort zone and say something kind to a stranger. You are who you’re meant to be.

Mass Thank You Notes

Today’s post is brought to you by a reader’s comment from this post. I thought it was such an important topic, and I couldn’t believe I hadn’t already touched on it!

A common trend to escape actually writing thank you notes is for the recipient of a gift to send a group email or send a thank you note to everyone from work/church/etc. This, though, defeats the purpose of the thank you note, which is to express genuine thanks specifically to a person or family. The most people you should include on a thank you note would be everyone who resides in a single home. So, sending one to Uncle John, Aunt Sue and cousins Mark and Maggie is acceptable. Sending one to all 15 members of the IT department is not.

One minor exception would be to send a group email expressing thanks before following up with a hand-written note.

Ideally, a thank you note is physical (not electronic); it is to one person or family; it is handwritten.

The note doesn’t need to be lengthy. Let the giver know how the gift will be used and that it is appreciated. I always suggest adding in that you appreciate that they attended/missed them and one other personal thing in the note.

Thank you for the topic suggestion!

The Problem With “No Problem”

This is actually a follow up post to one I posted a while back. The premise of the original post was the difference between “you’re welcome” versus “no problem” in response to someone’s thank you. I had someone follow up with an email stating that saying “you’re welcome” sounds too formal to them. However, in a world where everything goes, a little formality isn’t a bad thing, and it’s a mindset I hope to change. That being said, there isn’t actually anything formal about saying “you’re welcome.”

Responding with “no problem” indicates you feel the thanker thought him or herself to be a bother or problem to you. You’re consoling them. This can put the thanker on the defense, wondering if he or she was truly a problem and you’re simply being kind. It’s a negative response. Let’s think of the alternatives: You’re welcome. It was my pleasure. I was happy to do so. These are all responses in the positive form, leaving the thanker with a pleasant memory and experience of the interaction. If you’re in the business world, this is vital. If you are in the social world, it can make or break you.

I speak from experience when I say that people will take you more seriously when you give a more sincere, positive response to their thanks. I hope this summarizes up enough for most readers to understand the importance of a positive response that they will reconsider the passé “no problem.” As always, thank you for reading!