Is is hard for your man to hear a compliment, and receive it gracefully?
What to do when he rejects or can’t accept your heartfelt compliment…
You already know that many women struggle with this, but it’s not as well known that men have trouble accepting compliments, too.
The reasons are subtly different, but once you understand what’s going on for him and how to respond to it, you can reclaim your power to build him up and make him feel deeply loved.
I recently started dating a man, we have both been married for 24 plus years and are now both divorced. He is a sweet man but has absolutely no clue how to take a compliment. He says that he is not used to receiving them and rejects them and shies away. What a total role reversal. How can I help him hear and believe the things I say to him? He is a gorgeous man and I’m a smokin hot woman. Help me get through. Thanks Claire! – Sahara
I’m SO glad you emailed me about this one, Sahara, because very few women realize that guys can even have issues with accepting compliments.
And guess what? This one is going to be so smooth and straightforward for you. How nice is that for a change? 🙂
WATCH VIDEO: Eric Charles’s 7 Tips to Make a Man Love You
Here’s WHY Some Men Have Trouble Accepting Compliments
The real issue here is wrapped up in low self-esteem, which we don’t often associate with men. But they have to deal with that just like women do, even though it plays out in slightly different ways.
Low self-esteem is a LEARNED behavior. There are almost always particular experiences that play into a man’s shyness or embarrassment around accepting compliments.
And since you said he’s divorced – and it was a long-term marriage – he may be feeling like he failed himself and his family in multiple ways. He may have unrealistic expectations or habitual reflexes formed over the length of his 24 years of marriage that he’s working to heal.
When you have something going wrong for a long period of time, you tend to try and grow yourself a Teflon coating to protect your heart and soul.
Instead of being a contented love sponge (lol), you’re more of a non-stick surface that nothing can penetrate… Not even a sincere, loving compliment.
Here’s what you can do…
3 Starting Points for When a Man Has Trouble Accepting Compliments:
1. Dial back the intensity
Intense or gushing compliments, even when they are sincere, can come across as needy. Sort of “I said this about you, now you tell me something awesome about me.”
They can also feel fake (even when they aren’t), and nobody wants to be given false praise.
So keep from hitting his deflect-the-compliment switch is to be much more casual about your compliments to him. Slip ’em in when he hardly even notices so that they don’t feel so much like an elephant in the room.
The next idea works even better…
2. Shift OUT of “compliment” mode
One easy way to avoid triggering his adverse reaction to accepting compliments is to change tactics completely.
For example, if a big project or conflict is happening in his workplace, try offering a listening ear or a stress-relieving hug and shoulder rub rather than telling him what a great job he’s doing.
3. Try building him up to other people
One of the most effective ways to give a compliment to a man (or to anyone, for that matter) is to tell someone ELSE about them. Brag about him to other people, either in his hearing or not. What you say is likely to get back to him and make him feel good without having to hear it directly from you.
And the SINGLE BIGGEST THING you can do…
Is put on your sleuthing cap and figure out what it is that makes him feel loved, then DO THAT. This means discovering his “love language.”
Men have several possible love languages. Author Gary Chapman has narrowed it down to:
- Words of Affirmation
- Quality Time
- Receiving Gifts
- Acts of Service
- Physical Touch
Giving and receiving compliments or admiration is best for a man whose love language is Words of Affirmation. That may or may not be what your man needs to feel loved.
If you don’t know his or your love language, you can both take the assessment online for free, and discuss the results together. Knowing each other’s love language can be the “Super Glue” of love!
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