Tonight, Steve complimented me on twitter:
You know who’s great? @Stv is and not just because his name rules.
— Steve Fisher (@hellofisher) July 11, 2014
And I replied:
@hellofisher thanks, man. You’re pretty swell yourself.
— Steve (@Stv) July 11, 2014
Which is true – he really is a super-great guy. But here’s the thing. When someone pays me a compliment, I have 2 conflicting immediate reactions:
- I joke it away, denying it, essentially.
- I respond immediately with a compliment of my own.
Both of these things feel like their diminishing the original sentiment. If I joke it away, perhaps with self-deprecation, then I’m not really letting that nice vibe linger in any way. I’m just swatting it away because I’m uncomfortable.
But if I just respond with one of my own, does that lessen both? Particularly if I don’t really mean it? or mean it as much? (This is sort of like automatically saying “I love you too” when someone says they love you – without considering your truth of that emotion there).
So – and let’s be clear. Steve is a swell guy. But I maybe, instead of responding immediately, should I have just said “thank you?” – which does two things itself:
- makes me uncomfortable, because apparently at some level I just don’t believe that this could be true.
- Makes me feel like I “owe” Steve a compliment at a later date.
What’s completely ridiculous is that when I compliment someone, I’m never (ok, rarely – I will admit I have done this on occasion) “fishing” for a return compliment. I try very hard to be genuine in my praise of others – I don’t do it often, and I want it to be meaningful when I do (see, above, why a knee-jerk response is not so good).
What is the proper etiquette to receive a compliment? In a way that makes both the complimenter & complimentee feel good? I think perhaps I should try just letting it linger a while. Acknowledge, thank the person, move on. Maybe blush & bat my eyelids shyly?
Who knows. This human interaction. It’s hard I tell ya!