The Truth About Compliment Seekers

If anyone has ever asked you the question “does this make me look fat?” you probably already know that there is no right way to answer.  This question can come in other forms, such as “do I look old,”  “does this color look good on me,” or “do you like this dinner?”  If you hesitate too long or answer too fast, you may be accused of not telling “the truth.”  You might even detonate an argument.  While I have realized that asking such questions is futile, I have, at one time or another, been on both sides of questions like this.

Even though you may feel trapped when someone asks you such compliment seeking questions, it’s normal to want approval from others and we can’t deny that it is nice to receive a compliment.  Some researchers argue that we are “pre-wired” to care about the opinions of others due to our nature as “social animals.”[i]  It’s not hard to notice that some people tend to seek approval more than others by asking pointed questions or posting on social media.  Not surprisingly, teenagers have a particularly sensitive need for social approval.[ii]  Instead of feeling annoyed with compliment seekers, maybe we should recognize that they are just seeking approval in order to satisfy their “pre-wired” tendencies.  If you interact with someone like this daily, try spontaneously complimenting them on a regular basis.  In my experience, this satisfies their need for approval and helps reduce the “do you think I look fat?” type of questions.

Giving genuine compliments or expressing approval is not always easy, but the effects on both the person receiving the compliments and the person giving the compliments are profound.  Compliments motivate people, increase self-esteem, and build trust.  A 2012 study of 48 participants found that receiving praise boosted motor skills by increasing motivation in participants.[iii]  The same study showed that receiving praise was as motivating as receiving a monetary reward.  There are also benefits to the person giving the compliments.  For example, giving compliments helps us take the focus off of ourselves, which can reduce our own need to seek approval from others.  It can also increases contentment if the giver recognizes they are contributing to the greater good.[iv]

I recently set a goal to compliment at least one person (not including immediate family) each day.  For immediate family members, who I see every day, my goal is to keep the ratio of positive to negative comments greater than 5:1.  I plan to keep track of the interactions I have and post an update showing different people’s reaction to receiving a compliment.  Please check back for updates and let me know if you have any comments…  I really want your approval.






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17 thoughts on “The Truth About Compliment Seekers

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  1. Its a positive approach and a nice idea. Complements dont harm but oir pointless ego hold them at times. So i am naturaly generous when it aboit giving complements because i actually know and have seen what it does for people.
    When we entered adolesence we had skills for adolescence classes in school at giving complements was part of an activity. It helped breaking ego of the givers and boasting confidence of the takers.

    Its a really nice post 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Interesting post. I work at an Optometrists and am always honest with people when they try on glasses, saying it makes them look older, pastier, face fatter etc etc. people realise I am telling the truth so ultimately are very happy when we find the right glasses! I hate nothing more when trying in clothes to have a sales assistant tell me it looks great when I know it so doesn’t!!! 🦉

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I completely agree. If I ask for someone’s opinion, I want the truth. The other night I asked my husband if he liked my flowy shirt and he jokingly said it looked like rags hanging on me. He always tells me what he truly thinks and I only ask for his opinion if I want the truth. I wore the shirt anyways! 😂 lol

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I think my writing style and citation to references comes from my experience with legal writing. In this blog, I want to convey credible information without sounding so formal. I love psychology and observing behavoir.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I love psychology too – I ‘minored’ (is that the term – the UK system is different to the US) in psychology and it was so fascinating. Plus, I love to watch people too … *hastily adds* … in public that is! 🙂
        I think that you achieved your aims with this article – well done.
        Kindness – Robert.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Absolutely true. My opinion is that we should never hold back genuine compliments, at the same time pause to think while giving a negative feedback, depending on the kind of person and your relationship with him/her. Thanks for the thought-provoking post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I completely agree. It takes effort to hold back on negative feedback sometimes, especially with those we are closest to, but I think it’s a goal worth working towards. Thank you so much for reading and commenting 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I have to admit that I am a compliment seeker too. I totally agree that it’s great to give compliments to people, especially to males. A random compliment will leave us confused but we’ll appreciate it later.

    On a side note: I love what you’re doing with your space here. You’re sort of combatting negative stereotypes with a positive perspective. That’s remarkable.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Since I wrote this post, I keep catching myself seeking compliments:) I’ve been keeping notes on my compliments experiment. As you said, many people seem confused at first when randomly complimented, but then they start to act a little more confident and friendly.

      Thank you so much for your comment on my blog! I try to write about topics that I find interesting that will also make people stop and think. Also, I hate stereotypes:)

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I have never asked anyone what they thought of anything regarding me. I don’t care. I freely offer my compliments to others, but only when I mean them. I see a lovely dress I have to say so. I like a hairstyle, I want to say how pretty it looks. I used to have a friend that was insanely vain and demanded compliments from everyone everywhere, strangers, at work, her friends. Her narcissism didn’t just end there and she ended our friendship because I disagreed with her about something petty one day. Did I mention she was from Germany?

    Liked by 2 people

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