10 October 2009

Just Stop It!

Okay, ladies. Enough is enough. I've had it with the humble mumble. Why are most women incapable of graciously accepting a compliment? Why do we feel the need to blush, act coy, or belittle ourselves in response to a little verbal affirmation?

"Um, yeah, uhh, well, uhh, thanks..."

"Oh, this old thing?"


"But it makes my ass look fat."

Seriously? Women fought for decades to have a voice - to earn the right to stand up and be counted, to be loud and proud and worthy of respect. And this where we are? Really? We can't even accept a stinkin' compliment?

Every where I turn I see this behaviour - from teenage girls to professional women, from my close friends to strangers in line at the grocery store. When did we get the message that it's unseemly to be prideful? I'm not talking about vanity or narcissism, I'm talking about simple acceptance and love for oneself.

So, I propose a revolution. Next time someone gives you a compliment on your hair, your dress or your exquisite sense of style, simply say "thank you." Don't run down a laundry list of why you shouldn't be praised and don't act like you're amazed that anyone would notice you.

Better yet, try this one on for size: "Damn straight I look good today - thanks for noticing!"

25 comments:

Sher said...

*whew* you said it!

Trudy Callan said...

I like the "Thanks for Noticing." That would shock them.

Kristine said...

Point well taken! I've been guilty of this, and will graciously accept the compliment next time! Thank you for the reminder!!!

Michelle said...

I love this! I work in an office full of women who are constantly critical of themselves, and I am going to print out the "free compliment" page and put it up on my office door!

Dana said...

Ditto! I learned that very lesson long ago when someone complimented the color of my eyes. Well, I'm not responsible for that, what do I say? Her advice, "Just say, thank you!" And that's what I've been saying ever since.

Jenny said...

Hi Shannon,

I'm writting from Spain, here, a land where women keep their names after the marriage, we teach our daughters to say thank you when they hear a compliment, so I really support your inniciative!!! Go girls!

Very nice blog, it's the first time I write something on it but I'm reading it since 2008.

Linda said...

Interesting post. It is something I have to constantly work on. I am doing much better at saying thank you and leaving it there. Old habits are hard to break.

gwensews said...

Ditto !!

Elaray said...

You are absolutely right. I'm going to take you up on your challenge!

aurelia.donka said...

My hair is getting very long, much longer than fashion dictates, especially for a woman my age. I usually wear it up but when I wear it down I hear "Your hair is so long!" in a shocked tone.

It's not a compliment. People often say the first things that come to mind when confronted with something new or unusual. Some people take it as an insult. I think that's ungenerous.

"Your hair is so long!" "Wow, that dress is really red!" "Your shoes are so high!"

Treat these as compliments. "Thank you for noticing" is most appropriate here and puts people at ease.

Carol said...

My mother always taught me to accept a compliment this way and I've noticed that some men seem a little taken aback when you just thank them. Sometimes I think they were expecting praise for noticing! As an aside to this positivity, a few weeks ago I wore a new dress to work. During the day I was complimented by several people (strangers and colleagues) and wolf whistled by a man in a car. One woman stopped me in the middle of a pedestrian crossing to tell me I looked like Jamie Lee Curtis (I wish). I was feeling pretty good. When I got home, DH, who had not seen me when I left in the morning, looked me up and down and said by way of greeting, 'that dress does nothing for you'. I think you know what I said to him!

cindy said...

I use to stumble on compliments and have to admit at times I still do. Although it is to a lesser exent because recently I have made so many of my clothes that I don't want to go into the whole sewing thing so I just say "thanks" and leave it! It is very liberating!

mermaids said...

yep. i definitely struggle with this one. i am trying very hard to simply say "thank you." it's not that easy. :) i remind myself that when i shoot down the compliment, it is kind of like saying the person giving the compliment doesn't really know what he is talking about. "nice dress"
"what? this old thing?"
well, that is sort of saying "how could you be so foolish as to compliment this old dress. you must have no taste if you think this is a nice dress."

debbie said...

For years it was very hard for me to accept an apology without the buts, no's and this old thing replies. Insecurities rearing their ugly head. Somewhere along the way I finally learned to accept a compliment with a hearty Thank You! (and a big smile) And you know what? It feels sooo good.

Great post!

kiltsnquilts said...

I have learnt to say 'thank you' when receiving a compliment, that and a smile is all that is needed :-) Likewise I give compliments to others and much prefer it when someone responds with a 'thank you'. Good post.

SewingLibrarian said...

My mother taught me this when I was a teen and going through the awkward stage. Another thing she taught me was to always say what my preference was when asked. One of her pet peeves was a girl simpering, "Oh, I don't know. Anything is ok for me." I shouldn't be referring to her in the past tense. She's 91 and still with us. And still full of good sense.
Linda

Karin said...

You are so right. I just wrote a post about dressing up, I feel it touches the same subject of women trying to not stand out in some way, or being scared to look too proud or something like that. Anyway, graciously accepting a compliment, that's a skill a lot of us should re-learn I think.

Pam~Off The Cuff ~ said...

WELL SAID !

Sheila said...

I will admit I was a victim of saying this ol' thing...blah.. blah and while in a reflecting mode realized my faux pas in forgetting to say thank you.

Now I graciously accept compliments with a smile and thank you.

Since friends and coworkers know I sew.. they often say "I know you made that" when its a rtw and now respond with thank you, but I purchased it.

Great post.

Nancy K said...

LOL. I learned to say thank you many years ago from a very beautiful woman who had given me a complement on what I was wearing. After the usual long story by me, she said, just say thank you. I do.

Digs said...

In public, my family all simply say, "thank you" - standard, boring social etiquette. Amongst family however, our typical playful response is "but of course!".

(As for my threads - they're one off, in fabulous fabrics, they fit, and they don't look like they came from Sears. I'd be frankly amazed if people didn't notice that once in a blue moon. But I don't expect any daily applause, either.)

Marie-Christine said...

Now you know, response to compliment is not just subject to a male/female cultural difference, there's a lot of variation due to place too. It took me years to learn to not put myself down in the French/US direction, but now that I'm back in France I've seen real shock if I forget myself and say thank you. It's unspeakably rude here, for everyone, not to just denigrate the thing complimented, as a kind of evil-eye repellent or something. So don't be too hard on the girls who haven't made the transition..

amber said...

Lovely post and so spot on.

Tobi said...

Hi Shannon - I was just acquainted with your blog and I love this post. I printed this out and hung it up in my cubicle for all my fabulous lady co-workers to grab one. Thanks for passing along!

Reanimated Rags said...

This cuts like a knife. I don't get compliments all the time but doggonit if I don't do the same silly stuff you mention here so articulately. Way to preach it! Sorry for the second comment in 5 minutes but your blog is great! (this is a trick...you can just smile and accept, no need to reply just accept it) :)
RR