Why Compliments Can Be Hard to Swallow

Why Compliments Can Be Hard to Swallow
Why Compliments Can Be Hard to Swallow

Why it's so hard for some people to accept compliments

Receiving compliments can be distracting, and lead to a self-conscious state that's cognitively draining.

It's full of inspiration, but Eddie Brummelman doesn't find the Dutch expression "101 manieren om een kind te prijzen" very positive. The phrase, which is printed onto an educational poster, translates to "101 ways to praise a child", and contains suggested compliments like "you do that beautifully…" and "very good!"

The poster's message may seem innocent, helpful even. But Brummelman, an associate professor of developmental psychology at the University of Amsterdam, refers to this as inflated praise. And his research suggests that inflated praise can actually deepen a cycle of low self-esteem, even if it's intended to combat it.

It's not just exaggerated compliments that can cause discomfort. A German woman who dismisses a colleague's compliment on her appearance, or a Japanese boy who responds "No, no" when a relative calls him talented, might in some settings be conside

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