27 Compliments You Haven’t Been Giving—But Should

Which would you prefer: "Those pants make you look skinny" or "The world is a better place because you are in it"? Here's how to give a compliment people will truly treasure.

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These are the most underrated compliments

Who doesn’t love getting a compliment? But when you think back over your life’s Compliment Hall of Fame, what are the ones you remember the most—you know, those compliments you replay over and over again when you’re feeling down? Chances are it wasn’t the time someone said your shoes were awesome or your pants make you look thin or your eyes were a lovely shade of green. It definitely wasn’t the time someone leaned out of their car and yelled what a smokin’… bum you have. When you really think about it, the most meaningful compliments aren’t the ones that focus on your appearance (especially parts you can’t change), they are the compliments that highlight something deeper about yourself—like these Doctor Who quotes to live your life by.

Science agrees: Children who were effusively flattered with shallow compliments ended up feeling worse about themselves overall (perhaps because it emphasized the importance of surface traits, like looks), whereas those who were treated “warmly” and with true affection thrived, according to a study done by the University of Amsterdam. And if children can detect fake or shallow compliments, surely adults can as well.

To give a great compliment, skip the surface chatter about their weight or hair and go deeper. Praise the person’s values, achievements, morals, or positive impact on the world and those around them. Not only will it make them feel happier, but it will also help them see you in a more positive light as well because taking the time to give a thoughtful, sincere compliment shows how much you think about and love them. (Just make sure you’re avoiding these 16 compliments that aren’t really compliments!)

Need ideas? Try one of these gems:

  1. You’re in my top five starred contacts on my phone.
  2. You are strong, inside and out.
  3. My favourite memories have you in them.
  4. Dear Abby ain’t got nothing on you, you give the best advice.
  5. You make me happy every time I see you.
  6. Your kindergarten teacher wasn’t wrong, you are an excellent sharer.
  7. Your joy is contagious.
  8. You inspire me to be a better person.
  9. You are always so on top of current events.
  10. No one can make me laugh like you.
  11. You are one of the helpers Mr. Rogers talked about.
  12. I love how well-read you are.
  13. You are the kindest person I know.
  14. I love that I can tell you anything and you won’t ever judge me.
  15. The world needs more people as passionate as you are.
  16. You are the first person I think of when I have good news to share.
  17. You work so hard and never give up.
  18. Just talking to you makes me feel peaceful.
  19. I love how you can always find the silver lining.
  20. The heart eyes emoji was invented for you.
  21. I know you’ve always got my back, no matter what.
  22. Your opinions are always so thoughtful and considered.
  23. You’re better than Google at helping me find the answer I’m looking for.
  24. Whenever I’m having a bad day, you know just what to say to make me feel better.
  25. I love how you always think of others first.
  26. I admire your grit and dedication to your dreams.
  27. You have the warmest smile.

Next, check out the 27 things only sisters can understand.

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Originally Published on Reader's Digest