What I like about you – women discover the power of complimenting each other

Living in a world where ‘next top models’ seem to be all around you would probably think that girls get more and more competitive. But instead they compliment each other daily with sentences like “I really like your shirt. Where did you get it?“ or “You look really pretty today“. Why is that?

Giving each other a thumbs up can boost relationships. (pic by Ambro)

It seems to be a real trend among females these days to pay attention to every detail of each others outfits, carefully picking out the special parts and pointing them out.

No matter if it is earrings, a shirt, shoes, hair bands, nail polish, a scarf or make up – girls openly compliment each other on everything.

Even total strangers standing in a queue in the supermarket or sitting next to each other on a train would point out what’s pretty about the other one.

But why do women do that lately?

Reasons for compliments

Cultural critic, Mel Campbell, says that compliments are “transactions in an economy of goodwill. Just as people earn money, they earn goodwill by complimenting other people“.

That means that women complimenting each other re-enforces harmonious relationships and also creates a basis for working together.

Campbell quotes a Kansas State University research which proved what everyone has long suspected: compliments boost female self-esteem.

“Much more than what we would expect for one compliment”, researcher Courtney Fea comments on the results of the study.

Therefore it seems that by handing out compliments about the other girl’s appearance (and hoping to get one in return) women try to make each other feel good.


In accordance with what has been said above, Monica Strobel, author of the book The Compliment Quotient, thinks that compliments are “relationship building, attitude adjusting, success boosting tools”.

But while women hand out compliments about each others outfits like candy, it seems to me that they still hold back with compliments about each others work.

Strobel believes that complimenting a co-worker means “momentarily letting your gripes fade to the background“.

With all the fighting about jobs, with all the talk about women being the weaker-sex and the ‘glass ceiling’ still out there, honest praise among female co-workers still is rare.

However, it might be a good idea to change that attitude quickly as Strobel points out that “criticizing reinforces incompetence whereas compliments help reinforce a positive self-image and create a encouraging place from which to move forward“.

Why complimenting is a fabulous idea

Strobel summarises that “a simple compliment embodies and transmits many fundamental qualities, including generosity, gratitude, appreciation, esteem, hope and more, wrapped up in an all-in-one, pay-it-forward comment“.

However, Life Coach Alvin Soon points out that compliments can only be credible if they are specific (singling out one particular feature) and backed-up (I like it, because…).

Even though women feel more comfortable complimenting on rather superficial features, it is a first friendly step towards establishing strong, harmonious teams in the future where everyone is genuinely appreciated.

So, don’t be “afraid of looking silly or coming across as “sucking up”, as Strobel puts it, when offering someone a compliment.

You might be surprised about the effects a genuine compliment can have – on others and on yourself.

This entry was posted in Findings and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to What I like about you – women discover the power of complimenting each other

  1. Pingback: A sincere compliment – look for the good « Oldentimes's Blog

  2. oldentimes says:

    I liked this post. It gave me some thoughts on the subject, so I wrote about it and passed on the link to your blog. Thank you for giving me an eye opener today. http://oldentimes.wordpress.com/2011/04/22/a-sincere-compliment-look-for-the-good/

  3. Miss GOP says:

    Such an interesting post and topic. I hadn’t thought about compliments in this way, but I’ll be sure to notice these kinds of interactions between women more and more.

    And can I also honestly say that I enjoyed reading your post. Your writing is clear and compelling. Thank you for sharing (from your newest follower). -Miss GOP

    • Hi Miss GOP, thank you sooo much for your kind words! You have no idea how much I appreciate your comment. 🙂 I really hope you’ll find my future posts interesting, too. I will certainly be thinking about you now while writing them. 🙂

  4. Pingback: Spreading It Around – It’s Contagious! | Fighting Monkey Press

  5. asdflksd says:

    lame article…just kidding, wouldn’t want to hurt your self-esteem 😉

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s