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Words By Tara Wagner

How to Accept a Compliment LIKE A BOSS

You can get years into your business and still feel awkward as a mother lover, when it comes to figuring out how to accept a compliment from a client, a customer, or maybe other people in your industry.

I want to share some mindset shifts with you that are gonna help you with this problem, as well as four different ways that you can respond to a compliment (number four actually being a really clever business strategy.) But make sure you watch the end because I also have a bonus tip for you on how to respond to inappropriate compliments, as well.

Watch here or read below.

How to Accept a Compliment LIKE A BOSS Click To Tweet

One of the ways that I see our mindsets showing up in our business is how we respond to compliments.

Now, it’s very true that you can just have a bad habit around this.

Maybe you just learned that that’s the way that you respond.

And if you’re just here to learn some new ways to respond, we are definitely going to get into that.

But I also want to go through some mindset shifts that are necessary for a lot of us to be able to receive that compliment.


Healthy, gracious, positive responses tend to correlate to a really healthy mindset and emotional state. And the opposite is true, as well.

When someone is giving us a compliment, especially around our work, our own beliefs about our worth, our value, our abilities, our goodness, our sense of enough-ness, are gonna show up in our response, for better or for worse.

And that’s just because they’re poking at it.

They’re flipping on a switch and our little Self-Worth Room, which is gonna naturally expose what we got going on in there.

One of the reasons this is so important to address, is that how we respond to a compliment can build or erode trust in our clients or customers.

If they try to give you a compliment and you reply back with any version of the word “No,” it can lead them to start thinking like, “if they don’t even believe in themselves, should I?”

It also creates this really awkward situation, where they’re giving you a compliment, you’re pushing it back, they’re pushing it back on you, you’re pushing it back on them. And you have this really awkward back and forth exchange.

Drop a comment below with the word “awkward” if you’ve ever had one of those exchanges.


Now, when it comes to mindset, the first thing that I want you to remember, is that it’s not about you.

Our awkwardness comes when we are struggling to believe what they’ve just said.

It’s based around our own beliefs of what they’ve just told us.

But what they’ve just said – that compliment – is about them, and their beliefs, their perspective.

So when we try to deny it, we’re making it about us and what we think instead of just honoring what they think or their experience of something.

We don’t want to convince them that they’re wrong, because they’re not. We want to embrace the value of what they’ve just said, even if the only way that you can embrace it is as feedback, you want to embrace it and not make them wrong about it.

Now i’m gonna go through four different ways that you can respond to help you graciously accept a compliment. But the purpose here is to remember to be genuine in the moment and open to what it is that they’re offering you.

Woman working on silver Apple laptop


I want you to have a crutch phrase. This is the simplest and the easiest, and the whole purpose here, is for you to memorize it and practice it so that it becomes your knee jerk reaction.

A crutch phrase is short and sweet. It’s just a, “Thank you so much. I really appreciate that.”

If you have no idea what else to say, or you’re caught off guard, this should be something that you have so drilled into your unconscious, that you immediately respond with, “Thank you so much. I appreciate that.”Just a simple basic phrase.

Now, you can tweak this, you can make it your own, but make it short, simple and sweet, so that you’re not adding anything to it; you don’t have to worry about customizing it for the situation. That’s why it’s called a crutch phrase. You’re gonna lean on it when you’re not sure what else to say.

“Thank you so much. I appreciate that.”


The next step in learning how to accept a compliment is learning when to share some background.

For instance, if someone gives you a compliment, know when to offer a little bit of the backstory to it.

  • In other words, “Thank you so much for complimenting my necklace. I actually got this as a gift from so and so and I really love it.”
  • Or, maybe it’s, “Thank you so much for sharing that. I worked really hard on that aspect of it. It actually took a long time, and I really appreciate knowing that you loved it.”
  • Or it could be, “Thank you so much. There’s actually a really funny story that goes along with this.”

The purpose of sharing background is to bring that person a little bit closer or behind the scenes. It creates a connection between you. It also takes the awkwardness away from just saying, “Thank you,” and then getting a dead silence afterwards.

You’re going into a story and you’re giving them something to respond, to and you’re creating a dialogue and building a relationship between you.

I really love offering background as part of my way of accepting a compliment.


The third way that you can do this is by sharing the joy. This is just about sharing your emotions behind it, which is similar to sharing the backstory or the background, but a little bit different.

  • You might just say, “Thank you so much. I’m really excited about it, as well.”
  • Or, “Thank you so much. I’m really happy with how it turned out, too.”
  • Or, “Thank you so much. I’m a little bit nervous but I can’t wait to do it.”

Again, it’s about building that relationship, giving them something else to respond to, creating communication, but also just being authentic and vulnerable.

A lot of times we feel awkward because we feel like we have to present ourselves in a certain way, we can’t be open, we can’t be honest with what’s going on. So giving ourselves permission to share our emotions behind this thing is a really great way to help us get comfortable and take the focus off of that awkward compliment that you’ve just received that you’re not quite comfortable with yet.

I know for some of you, you are thinking, “yeah, and put it on my awkward feelings.” That’s not at all what I mean.

When you actually start talking about your emotions, they become less awkward, so you’re just shifting into something else. Ideally, you’re going to be shifting into the positive emotions.

I wouldn’t necessarily say, “Thank you so much. I really hate this.” That’s not what we’re talking about here, but we do want to talk about the joy, sharing that joy so that we can create more of it with people.


The fourth way that you can respond to a compliment is probably my favorite way, and that is asking for feedback, additional feedback.

This might sound like, “Thank you so much. I’m so glad to hear that. Would you mind sharing with me your favorite part?”

The reason that I love this is that you’re really using this to your advantage, and kind of doing a little bit of market research, right? You’re learning from your ideal client, the person who loves what you do, what they want more of or what’s best meeting their needs.

This helps you make sure that you’re creating more of the things that are gonna make your people happy.

I love asking for this feedback. It’s just a great way to gain more insight into what your clients or your customers are most needing from you.

Receiving compliments can be a great way to gain more insight into what your clients or your customers are most needing and wanting from you. (Tara Wagner) Click To Tweet

By the way, if you’re wondering how to respond to their response to that, just a simple, “That’s so awesome. Thank you so much for sharing that,” will suffice.

Man and woman with coffee at table, as woman smiles out the window


But what about inappropriate compliments or something that crosses a boundary for you?

I really encourage you to go back in these situations to have a crutch phrase; two or three statements at most that you can lean on when you’re caught off guard by these inappropriate comments.

  • And that might look like, “That leaves me feeling very uncomfortable.”
  • It might look like, “I’m not okay with that statement.”
  • It might look like, “I need to ask you to not make comments about my ass.”
  • Or, maybe you’re just diverting the conversation and saying, “So, what do you like about my work?”

Then the whole thing here is to pause, and put the awkwardness back on them.

This allows them to take ownership of what they’ve just said, and the situation that they’ve just created. And it IS awkward and it IS uncomfortable but it’s a really healthy way of stating your boundaries without being pushy, without escalating the situation, without letting things kind of spiral in a direction you don’t want them to.

Now, I want to add to all of these, whether it’s a compliment or an inappropriate compliment, it’s really important that you PRACTICE these things.

If you feel awkward receiving a compliment, practice the words, the body language, the facial expressions so that you can really start to write a new habit.

Even if you don’t feel awkward, it’s still gonna be about practice, so that you can overcome that old habit of responding with a new, healthier, or more helpful way.

The bonus to this is that any underlying beliefs that you might have that’s bringing up this sense of awkwardness around how to accept a compliment, start to get rewritten through our behaviors and the actions that we’re taking.

So the more you practice, the more you’re rewriting your underlying beliefs.


If you know that you need to uplevel yourself in order to feel comfortable or confident or uplevel your business, I really want to encourage you to grab your FREE copy of my Bottlenecks to Breakthroughs training.

This is a free 15-minute training, where I outline my exact belief breakthrough process.

And it will show you how to start changing how you think, feel, and show up in your business.

You can grab it for free by clicking the button below or click here to learn more.


I would love for you to leave a comment below, letting us all know your favorite crutch phrase or any tips on how to accept a compliment.

Then be sure to check out a video I did not too long ago on how to respond to rude comments.


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*This post may contain affiliate links and I may earn a small commission when you click on the links at no additional cost to you. You can read my full disclaimer here.


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Tara Wagner

I’m Tara Wagner, creator of the Breakthrough Boss®. I help small biz owners overcome burnout and create part-time schedules with full-time profits. Not with some new marketing strategy, but with a holistic approach to how you operate.
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How To Upgrade Your Business
So It Doesn't Burn You Out

(3 Mistakes to Correct Right Now)

How to Upgrade Your Business So It Doesn't Burn You Out (3 Mistakes to Correct Right Now)

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