Psychologists have identified five types of compliments that can cause negative emotions. What is the right way to emphasise a person’s uniqueness?

Compliments are important and necessary, but they must be done correctly so as not to cause an excuse or a puzzled eyebrow to be raised. “You’re adorable!” and “You look nice today!” – are two compliments so similar in sound, but so different in meaning. It would seem, what’s the difference? Psychologists Arkady Bondar and Yulia Kuznetsova have found the answer to this question.


Of course, everyone reacts differently to similarly flattering remarks about them, as one likes to be noticed for their looks, another for their achievements and still others for their personality. However, there are compliments that will cause unpleasant emotions in most people. To these psychologists have attributed:

1. Compliments-comparisons .
For instance, with father or mother, friend or girlfriend, former partners and so on.

Arkady Bondar explains that in such compliments one usually hears an implication, even if it was not actually intended. For example, in the compliment “You’re so wonderful/beautiful/great, not like your ex!” you hear, “Are you still thinking about her/him?

And the subtext in “That dress slims you down” could be: “You mean I’m fat?!”. With the phrase “You look good today”, it’s also obvious: “And yesterday, you mean you looked bad?!”.

2. Inappropriate compliments
Psychologist considers as such compliments that emanate from negative stereotypes, contain hints of sexism, ageism, lack of physical or intellectual data.

For instance, “You drive very well for a woman,” “You look good for your age,” “You are too smart for a girl,” “But you are kind.

3.Insincere compliments
The expert notes that these are trivial, “just for the record” and ironic compliments. “You have beautiful eyes”, “Doesn’t your mother need a son-in-law?”, “You look like a hundred!” – sounds like something incredibly hackneyed.

4. Compliments that devalue achievement
Yulia Kuznetsova gives an example of an unfortunate compliment: “I know you can do better! The speaker is usually trying to encourage the other person in this way. But it sounds like a devaluation of the path you have taken.

5. Compliments that emphasise change.
A psychologist advises to avoid the context of comparison altogether. Instead of ‘You are so beautiful today’, just say: ‘You are charming’. On occasion, such compliments may be appropriate, but they should always be approached with caution.


Anna Zhustal, psychologist, business coach, author of the book on self-development, “Inevitable happiness”, notes that it is not so important what to say, it is much more important – how, how sincere, with what intonation and facial expressions. Psychologist says that we are like a sensor, read emotions and attitudes towards us, so it is not important wording, and sincerity.

A final piece of advice: to make sure that compliments are always appropriate, you must learn to accept yourself as you are, to admire yourself. Only then will you be able to explain to others how to praise you sincerely and wholeheartedly.