A new study reveals that nearly half of Brits (49%) prefer giving compliments via social media rather than face-to-face. Not only this but half of Brits (55%) feel awkward when receiving compliments, and searches for ‘deflecting compliments’ have risen by +100%1, indicating Brits don’t know how to react when flattered!
Polling Brits across the UK, greetings card company, Thortful, looked at Brits’ gratitude habits, from how they feel when receiving compliments, to what they’d like to be complimented on.
Alongside this, Mairead Molloy, relationship psychologist and global director at Berkley International offers tips on how to receive compliments. She also answers the important question: Why do Brits hate compliments so?
How do Brits receive and give compliments?
On receiving and giving compliments, 75% of Brits say they love giving compliments, but on the flip side, 55% admit they feel rather awkward when receiving compliments from someone, and over a third (35%) say they have rejected flattery in the past.
Almost three in ten Brits admit they find it embarrassing to compliment someone in person, and nearly half (49%) claim it’s quicker and easier to compliment via social media channels!
By gender, 60% of women admit to feeling awkward when receiving compliments, while less than half (49%) of men think the same. Two-fifths of women (40%) claim they reject flattery, while only 37% of men admit to the same statement.
What do Brits want to be complimented on?
Over three-thirds (34%) want to be complimented by their partner, while 16% want to be flattered by their friends and 13% by their family members. One in ten (11%) would also love to be complimented by complete strangers!
The survey also went on to reveal that only 4% of us wish to receive compliments from our parents.
The three most important traits Brits would like to receive compliments on are personality (53%), intelligence (46%), and age (34%). For women, the top three follow the overall traits, while for men, number three on their list is happiness (31%)!
People in London are the ones who prefer to give compliments via social media the most (56%), with Manchester and Leeds coming second and third. The cities where you’ll most likely be complimented through social media are as follows: :
- London – 56%
- Manchester – 54%
- Leeds – 54%
- Newcastle – 53%
- Bristol – 50%
Expert comments on Brits’ gratitude habits
Commenting on the science of gratitude, and Brits’ habits around receiving and giving compliments, Mairead Molloy, Relationship Psychologist and Global Director at Berkley International explains why we feel so awkward when receiving compliments.
“You can often respond to a compliment by returning the compliment. “Oh, thanks very much! You look very nice too – I like your coat”. In the UK, it is very common to respond to unexpected compliments by suggesting that the person paying you the compliment wants to ask a favour!
“All this to say, many of us respond awkwardly to compliments as an unconscious act of self-protection. Unfortunately, this unconscious self-protection often robs us of human connection. It keeps us from letting in the kind words and gratitude of others.”
Molloy shares tips on how to stop yourself from feeling awkward when receiving a compliment from somebody:
“Express your gratitude. Any time you receive a compliment, reply with “Thank you.” It’s a simple, but powerful phrase. The person bestowing the compliment will be most receptive to a humble response. Say something like, “Thank you, that’s very kind of you,” or ”Thank you, I appreciate the compliment.”
“Share the credit. If the compliment is regarding a team effort, acknowledge the contributions of your colleagues. Some powerful executives reach a point where they no longer publicly recognise or give credit to those who helped them succeed. This is the quickest way to lose friends. Instead, share your positive feelings. Respond with something such as, “We all put in a lot of effort; thank you for acknowledging our hard work.”
Commenting on the findings, a spokesperson at thortful says, “Although it can be difficult to express and receive gratitude, it can make a person’s day by you complimenting them, whether it’s their intelligence, attire, accomplishment, or a lovely smile! We at thortful want to celebrate and encourage everyone to show and practice gratitude and to be thoughtful of the people around you.”