The Two-Step Process to Giving Good Compliments

Hint: “Nice shirt” does not cut it.

Zulie Rane
5 min readMar 8, 2019


Image by ijmaki on Pixabay

So someone you know, or know of, has just done something amazing. You want to tell them! You want to let them know that you like what they did. Not for any personal gain, but just to share your appreciation.

That is a pure, wonderful compliment.

What is a compliment? You might think it’s just a nice thing to say to someone. That’s true, but in my opinion, it goes a lot deeper than that.

A compliment is unsolicited, positive feedback. Nobody asked you for a compliment, but you’ve gone right on out there anyway, and told them that they’re doing something — be it dressing, writing, or just living — really well.

But what you shouldn’t forget is that you’re commenting on an aspect of someone’s life. You’re giving them your approval of something, whether they want it or not. So it’s worth making sure that you set it up correctly, so you don’t come off as insincere or even insulting.

I’ve been paid some wonderful compliments, some of which I still think about to this day. And I’ve been given some well-intentioned compliments which have really upset me, insulted me, or made me laugh because they were so ludicrous.

Compliments are often given without thought but they have a lasting impact. Here’s the two-step process to do them right.

1. Pick a relevant situation.

Giving compliments in a specific situation is ideal. When you see someone doing something that you like, the compliment comes across as far more genuine when it’s delivered immediately rather than later on.

Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

If you’ve been thinking about someone’s amazing quality for a while, you might be tempted to just drop it in randomly. Don’t. Wait until they display the trait again, and then compliment them.

For example, when someone compliments me out of the blue, I assume they want me to do something for them related to that compliment. It can make me feel uncomfortable or like I’m being manipulated.



Zulie Rane

Content creator, cat mom, 6-figure entrepreneur. She/her. Get 2x weekly emails on how to make money writing online: