What’s The BEST Compliment You Could Get?

Posted on August 9, 2011


This post is based on ad hoc research conducted on Facebook. The idea is to make myself and my friends think. I put up a status message, “What’s the best compliment anyone could ever give you?” and hoped that people would reply sincerely.

A Few Responses From Facebook Friends

I have always believed, and you might agree, that we feel most appreciated by a compliment based on what we consider as most important at any particular point. And I wanted to find out what are the common things people consider as important.

Why? Well, I find that all of us are fretting constantly. Over this thing or that. To buy a house, to get thinner, to get that raise – basically- to succeed in life.

And that made me think, are we really justified in making ourselves miserable! Do we even really want the things we think we want? I am not saying we shouldn’t want the things we want. But I just want us to be able to move in the direction that truly makes us happy!

I got a record 78 responses on my status and through email and chat pings. Unfortunately, I am unable to tabulate them all and present the findings in a more statistically organized way.

But I am going to tell you what I analysed based on the wonderful responses I got.

Summary of Responses:

1. Most people hold “relationships” as most important. They want to be thought of as “great partners”, “good moms”, “good people”.

2. What people hold most important could be dependent on their age and current circumstances.

  • The respondents who wanted to be thought of as “different” or “intelligent” were below the age of 25. 
  • People who had become parents in the last few years, wanted to be good mums and dads. Or liked it when people said their kids looked like them. Or when their kids expressed their gratitude and love for them.
  • People in their mid-20s to late 20s and early 30s, mostly in the early stages of their careers, wanted to be thought of as inspiring.

3. Few to negligible people mentioned compliments related to their physical appearance or body image.

4. Some people mentioned compliments based on talents that they (self) hold very dear – “good singer”, “good writer”.

What Our Responses Say About Us:

1. Compliments we receive or like to receive reflect our achievements and aspirations and indicate the levels of our self-esteem.

2. Qualities on which the compliments are based and those we consider important tell us what we base our self image on. For e.g. career, beauty, talents

Just collecting these responses made me think about the people responding. I know many of them closely and I was like, “Hey! See, I told you not to worry too much about that thing-you-almost-killed-yourself-over!” Hell, it made me think of all the things that I worry about – being too fat, not getting promoted fast enough, not being where I wanted to be at this point in time…and the list goes on. Writing this post, made me stop and think. I understand that the things we fret over are not always unimportant. But what I’d like to be conscious of, and would like my friends to be conscious of, is this – “While this is important, it is not MOST important. It needs my time and attention. But NOT ALL of it.”

I am sure all of us know the things I have mentioned in this post. Or do we? I am just trying to provide a reminder based on evidence. So what’s the biggest compliment you’d like to get? Any guesses about what I think is the biggest compliment I could ever get?

Posted in: self awareness