How do you compliment a women - how do women like to be complimented?
However we had an intriguing debate about how women like to be complimented. So much so that one of the participants - who had made a great contribution throughout the evening - felt inspired to clarify her thoughts on paper and said I could use them as I thought appropriate.
So I'm curious, what are your thoughts on complementing women or as a women on being complemented?
RE Cambs NLP Group event 12 September 2006.
At the end of last night's enjoyable session on seduction techniques, some comments made to me by men in the audience made me realise that men really struggle with the nuances of giving a compliment to a woman. Who can blame them - it is a minefield! We could have usefully spent another few hours debating the issue.
So, Caroline's thoughts on the giving and receiving of compliments.
I'm inevitably generalising from the particular here but I think I'm on fairly safe ground in saying that women find it hard, on the whole, to accept compliments. How many times do you hear a woman saying "Oh, this old thing " when complimented on something she is wearing. It's not our fault. We can't help it.
I remember being asked to speak to a male colleague at work who was upsetting his female staff by complimenting them on their appearance. He really couldn't understand why they were so offended. I know from personal experience that although I have schooled myself to accept compliments gracefully, it does require schooling and nothing can prevent the instinctive (but hopefully hidden) recoil from an inappropriate compliment. It is an utterly instinctive reaction.
I have tried to come up with some rules to help people avoid making terminal (as far as seduction goes) mistakes.
Compliments are acceptable when they are on a topic that unites the giver and recipient in some sort of relationship. For example, at work it is perfectly acceptable for a man to compliment a female colleague on a piece of work well done. At home, it is fine for a neighbour to compliment you on something you've done to your house or garden. The big problem area is personal compliments on your appearance, taste or behaviour. I am only really comfortable receiving such compliments from my close friends and family. With people I know less well it is a bit of a grey area. I may instinctively feel a bit uncomfortable but can control that reaction as long as it is given in a non-threatening way. From anyone else it is pushy, seeming to assume an intimate relationship that does not exist.
A straight personal compliment made by a stranger can be experienced by the recipient as aggressive and offensive. It also demonstrates a lack of understanding and empathy, which is not attractive and not likely to prove a successful seduction technique. The same can occur with a compliment made by an acquaintance in inappropriate relationship context eg a personal compliment made by someone you only know through work. In this case, it depends really whether you like the person or not, how well you know them and what the hierarchical relationship is. These days it's better to be safe than sorry and restrict the compliments to non-personal issues.
Seduction techniques are essentially techniques for giving a compliment in a way that is non-threatening.
A compliment must be freely given and it must be clear that nothing is expected in return. The walking away technique scores well on this one. The ambiguous compliment given while walking is even less objectionable, even quite welcome!
Humour can help a lot. I think this is a variation of Michael's ambiguity technique. A compliment given in a joshing way is a bit ambiguous. Is it really a compliment or not? OK, I'll accept it as a compliment but the doubt is enough to make me not react negatively. In fact, this is a great technique because it not only gets the compliment across but it also sends the message "I understand that this compliment business is a bit tricky so I'm doing it in a way that you won't object to and that makes it a little joke between us." Brilliant! This is the NLPers way of giving a compliment, I have noticed.
I'm sure some of you have other ideas about this but I hope it helps. When it comes to women complimenting men, I'm afraid I haven't a clue.
12 October 2006
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