How to Give Compliments |Speak New York

Compliments are a universal way of expressing appreciation and admiration for others. They can help strengthen relationships, boost self-esteem, and make people feel valued and appreciated. However, not all compliments are created equal. Some can come across as insincere or awkward, while others can sound natural and genuine.

If you want to give compliments that sound like a native, there are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind. In this blog post, we will explore how to give compliments effectively and sound like a native in the process.

Be specific
One of the most important things to remember when giving compliments is to be specific. Don’t just say “You’re great” or “You’re awesome.” Instead, try to focus on something specific that you appreciate about the person. For example, you could say “I love the way you always come up with creative solutions to problems,” or “You have a great sense of humor, and you always make me laugh.”

Being specific not only makes your compliment sound more genuine, but it also shows that you have been paying attention to the person and their qualities or actions that you admire.

Use the right tone
The tone of your voice can also make a big difference when giving compliments. If you sound too formal or stiff, your compliment may come across as insincere or forced. On the other hand, if you sound too casual or flippant, your compliment may not carry as much weight.

The key is to find a balance between being genuine and being appropriate for the situation. If you’re complimenting a coworker, for example, you may want to use a slightly more formal tone than if you were complimenting a friend.

Be timely
Timing is everything when it comes to giving compliments. If you wait too long to give a compliment, it may lose its impact or relevance. On the other hand, if you give a compliment too soon or too frequently, it may come across as insincere or desperate for approval.

A good rule of thumb is to give compliments in the moment or shortly after the action or quality you are complimenting. For example, if you’re impressed by a friend’s dance performance, you could say “That was an amazing performance! You really killed it out there!”

Be genuine
Perhaps the most important aspect of giving compliments is to be genuine. If you don’t truly mean what you’re saying, your compliment will come across as fake or insincere. This can do more harm than good, as it can damage trust and undermine the relationship.

To ensure that your compliments are genuine, focus on qualities or actions that you truly appreciate about the person. Avoid giving compliments just for the sake of giving compliments, and don’t try to flatter someone in order to get something in return.

Pay attention to cultural differences
When giving compliments, it’s important to be mindful of cultural differences. Different cultures have different norms and expectations when it comes to giving and receiving compliments, so what may be appropriate in one culture may not be in another.

For example, in some cultures, it may be considered impolite to directly compliment someone’s appearance, while in others, it may be expected. Similarly, some cultures may value modesty and downplay individual achievements, while others may value self-promotion and individualism.

By paying attention to cultural differences, you can avoid accidentally causing offense or coming across as insensitive.


Practice active listening
Active listening is a key component of effective communication, including giving compliments. When someone is speaking to you, make sure to give them your full attention and listen actively to what they are saying. This will not only help you understand their perspective better, but it will also help you find qualities or actions to compliment them on.

Additionally, when someone is speaking, make sure to use verbal and nonverbal cues to show that you are listening. This can include nodding your head, making eye contact, and asking follow-up questions.

Be humble
When giving compliments, it’s important to strike a balance between expressing admiration and being humble. If you come across as overly self-promoting or arrogant, your compliment may be perceived as insincere or manipulative.

Instead, try to focus on the person you are complimenting and their qualities or actions, rather than bringing attention to yourself. For example, instead of saying “I’m so impressed by your work,” you could say “Your work is truly impressive and inspiring.”

Use appropriate language
The language you use when giving compliments can also impact how genuine and effective they are. Avoid using overly complicated language or slang that may be unfamiliar to the person you are complimenting.

Instead, use language that is appropriate for the situation and the person you are complimenting. If you’re complimenting a colleague, for example, you may want to use more formal language than if you were complimenting a close friend.

Avoid backhanded compliments
Backhanded compliments are compliments that are disguised as insults or criticism. For example, saying “You’re so much smarter than you look” or “You’re pretty good for someone who’s never done this before” are both backhanded compliments.

These types of compliments can be hurtful and damaging to relationships, as they undermine the person’s confidence and suggest that you don’t truly value or respect them. Instead, focus on giving genuine and sincere compliments that are free of any hidden criticism or negativity.

Practice, practice, practice
Finally, like with anything, the more you practice giving compliments, the easier it will become. Make a conscious effort to give at least one genuine compliment every day, whether it’s to a coworker, friend, or family member.

As you become more comfortable with giving compliments, you will also become more adept at delivering them in a way that sounds natural and genuine, like a native speaker.


Giving compliments is an important part of building and maintaining relationships. By following these tips and tricks, you can give compliments that sound like a native and come across as genuine and sincere.

Remember to be specific, use the right tone, be timely, be genuine, pay attention to cultural differences, practice active listening, be humble, use appropriate language, avoid backhanded compliments, and practice, practice, practice.

With a little practice and mindfulness, you can become a master at giving compliments that uplift and inspire those around you.

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