It’s the classy thing to do.
I married into a family with terrific manners. They are all graceful and polite in almost any situation. I grew up in a family where a nice dinner was a potluck church supper, and after I got married, I found myself trying to fit in at fundraiser events where the signature cocktail costs $18.
Because they are so polite, they were even patient with me as I learned not to eat an embarrassing number of cocktail shrimp and how to make the same dress look like a different one by adding fun accessories.
The best lesson though, by far, is how to accept a compliment. There’s no magic to it, but it’s something many of us struggle with.
The secret is this: Just say thank you.
Without realizing it, I had spent the better part of my second and third decade deflecting compliments. Whenever someone gave me positive feedback about the way I looked, work I did or how I handled a situation, my immediate response was to self-deprecate and explain why I didn’t deserve the compliment.
You’ve done it too — when someone says they like your dress, you point out how it makes your arms look, or if you get a compliment on food you prepared, you say that it’s too dry, or that you should have taken it out of the oven sooner.
Accepting a compliment without downplaying feels boastful. I grew up in a reserved and modest family. We were and are not gushers. But the longer I spent with my husband’s family, the more I learned to accept and appreciate compliments.
I also learned that it takes a certain degree of confidence to accept a compliment. Like a lot of working moms and women in their late 30s, I feel disheveled about 95% of the time. At my very best, I am about presentable enough to go to the grocery store and maybe grab a happy hour drink at Applebee’s.
So when someone tells me I look nice, it’s not an act for me to respond with shock and disbelief. But what I have learned from the classy folks that are now my in-laws is that when someone tells you that they like your style, it is swanky and respectful to accept their opinion as fact and just move on to the next topic.
You can do this too. It’s easy.
The next time someone gives you a compliment, show some damn respect:
Say “Thank you!”
And move on.