Good news: Holiday season is not quite over yet!  Actually, according to Hallmark’s Ultimate Holiday Site, the festivities never stop and have been relentlessly ongoing all through the year.  With everything from Strawberry Ice Cream Day (January 15th) to Squirrel Appreciation Day (January 21st), January is rife with reasons to celebrate.

However, a special relatively new holiday is too often overlooked…probably because it’s nestled between the 8th’s ever-busy Man Watcher’s Day (how did we miss that one?) and of course the official Opposite Day on the 25th (I think you can leave these decorations all the way up until Backward’s Day on the 31st).

National Compliment Day has been officially celebrated for fourteen years and is now just around the corner.  The holiday was founded to encourage the sincere giving and receiving of one of the most desired gifts of all- flattery.  Luckily this gift is free, and with a little preparation and some thoughtful consideration, you can be a sensation at all of those Compliment Day parties.

Here are just a few compliment tips to brush up on before you embark upon your festivities:

1. Accept with gratitude: If there is one thing an enchanting, accomplished young June should be accustomed to, it’s taking compliments.  This should be the easy part- all you need to say is “thank you!”  Just take the compliment and move on. However, some people can make an awkward mess of the whole situation by trying to deny it.

EXAMPLE: If someone says, “You’re hair looks nice,” you say, “thank you,” even if you don’t think it looks nice. You don’t say, “are you kidding me? I need a haircut so bad!” People don’t say random nice things about you, they actually think your hair looks nice, you played a good game, you hosted a nice party, whatever. Appreciate their sentiments and take them at surface level.

2. Don’t automatically reciprocate:  Ever have those times when someone gives you a compliment and your automatic response is, “you too!”  Sometimes it  fits, but most of the time, it just seems insincere, especially when that compliment has nothing to do with the giver.

3. Don’t fish: Fishing for compliments doesn’t really make you any more confident and it’s no fun for the person you’re forcing into giving it. Sometimes asking for feedback can be confused with fishing for ocmpliments.  If you want honest opinions, ask open ended questions or look for evidence, but don’t put your words into someone else’s mouth.

EXAMPLE: ask “How did the fish taste?” not “Did you like the fish?” “How amazing was that fish?!” or just look and see if all of the meal was eaten.

4. Be sincere: Giving compliments is easy if you can identify things you like.  Just recognize a quality you appreciate, and let it be known. Just be honest and sincere so you don’t end up like Mr.Collins with obviously forced flattery.

5. Don’t be shy: Sometimes we hold back complimenting because we’re afraid of what others will read into it.  He may think you have feelings for him, they may think you’re kissing up, etc.  However, I’ve only known one person who didn’t like recieving compliments and thats only because she didn’t know how to take them.  As far as I’m concerned, that’s a problem that can be remedied with more practice, ergo more compliments.

“Why thank you!” A little flattery can go a long way

Also, take a look at the different kind of compliment technniques and identify the most effective ones to use.

Compliment Sandwich This technique may not necessarily come up on compliment day, but it is a valuable tool to have on hand.  The compliment sandwich is a constructive criticism maneuver where you give someone a compliment, offer your need or criticism, and then end with another compliment.  If executed correctly, the reciever of the sandwich will feel good about the feedback and respond appropriately.

EXAMPLE:   (I always use this in sports) “Good job getting back on defense! Be sure you’re finding your mark! Way to get stuck in!”  It all happens so fast, that they hardly notice the middle comment could be construed as negative.  By starting and ending with a positive, you set the tone of approval, and your criticism is taken more as helpful direction.  It works with everyday stuff to.  “Thanks so much for going to the store! I think we still need toothpaste, but you were so thoughtful to pick up these flowers.”

Steering compliments These may seem tricky, but really, it’s just a really nice way of letting people know what you want more of.  Ulterior motive? Maybe. Positive outcome? Probably. Any harm? No. Steering compliments are what you say to reinforce good behavior in hopes that it will overtake an unwanted behavior.

EXAMPLE: My friend was dating a girl who always wore t-shirt and sweats and didn’t often wear make-up unless they went out dancing.  He said he thought she was always pretty, but wished she’d do a little more in the area of personal upkeep.  I’m not saying any of this is right or wrong, it’s just the scenario. Anyways, he would never say any of that to her, but when she did fix up, he’d say “You look gorgeous!” or “That dress is so nice” or “You’re eyes look so pretty.” All of these things were absolutely true, he was only saying them more so that she’d be more inclined to elicit the same response again.

Backhanded compliment- This is the only bad compliment.  It’s a compliment for someone else with a dig at the same time.  “You look good for your age.” “You may not be the smartest guy, but you’re the nicest.” “I wish I had your curves.” If you’re giving these compliments stop immediately.  No one likes it.

Underhanded compliment- This is a sneaky compliment that is the reverse of the backhanded compliment.  It’s pretending to be upset about something that you would never be upset about because it’s a good thing.

EXAMPLE: “You are just too handsome for me,” or “where are you disappearing to?” when someone lost weight.  These are some of my favorite because I think they seem clever.  Sometimes people twist these into jealousy too. “Oh my gosh, I am so jealous of your curls,” or “Can we trade legs? I want yours.”

Genuine compliment- The least complicated, and often times most appreciated of all the compliments are those that are straight forward and spoken earnestly.  “I like your shoes” “Your hair looks gorgeous” or “You did a phenomenal job.”

Make a habit out of saying nice things about people to those people, and you’ll makes someone’s day. You may even inspire them to do more things you like.  Compliment Day is truly universal, and by making an effort to appreciate those around us, we can make a positive holiday season that inspires us in the new year.