How to Give a Sincere Compliment to Your Friend

Giving Genuine Compliments to Friends

Best pals spending a day together.
Complimenting a friend goes a long way to nurturing your friendship. Lianne Milton/Getty Images

When was the last time you gave your friend a compliment? It's really easy to get too comfortable with friends and forget that they need to hear some nice things about themselves once in a while. Our pals are just like everyone else and they just want to feel validated and appreciated. One way to do that is by offering a compliment. But it has to be genuine and specific in order to make your friend feel special.

The more you can personalize the compliment, the better it will be received.

No Fake Compliments, Please!

Your friend will know when you're lying or fudging the truth just to make them feel better. It's important to be honest and kind with friends, so never give a fake compliment. People can read insincerity a mile off, so keep your words genuine. If you truly don’t believe what you’re saying, then remain silent and wait for another opportunity to compliment your friend.

Be cautious about your motives, too. Never give a fake compliment just to get a friend to do something for you. That's a power play that never works, and leaves lasting resentment behind.

Timing Is Crucial

The best time to compliment your friend is in the moment or when they don’t need to hear it. When you see or hear them doing something great, speak up and let them know. Friends will be pleasantly caught off guard when you give them kind words without expectation.

If you offer compliments all the time, it can actually offend your friend because they'll think you're toying with them, so be careful of how and when you say something.

Also, don’t make them fish for compliments. Say something nice before they’re upset and require comforting. If they have to prompt you, the effort won’t be as appreciated as if you’d complimented them all on your own.

How to Personalize Compliments

The best compliments are the ones that are individualized. So give as much detail as possible when you say something nice to a friend.

Examples:

Instead of saying: “You look nice.”

Say:

“You look nice in that color. It really highlights the green in your eyes.”

“That color goes so well with your red hair.”

If a friend did something you appreciated, you can combine a compliment with a thank you.

Instead of saying: “Thanks for picking the kids up for me.”

Say:

“Thank you for going above and beyond. You have been such a great friend to me in times like this and I want you to know I don’t take it for granted.”

Here's a few more tips on how to find the right compliment for a friend.

Be Careful of How You Say It

Never give a back-handed compliment, where you start off saying something nice and then end up insulting your friend when you’re finished.  Pay attention to your tone and attitude when you’re giving a compliment. The negative thoughts you might be thinking can come through in your words, and your friend will notice.

Compliments in Cards and Letters

Nice things can be written instead of said aloud. Often the words you pen in your own hand have special meaning for a friend.

They may keep your card or letter for years to come so choose the right compliment for the occasion.