Love Hate Relationships With Compliments

Giving them is easy, whilst receiving them is not

Agustinus Theodorus
4 min readJun 30, 2020


Having met a lot of people in my life. I have met my fair share of comments good or bad. It has been a real ride at times. Some people take you on an emotional ride, confusing you with their nice comments while having a complex attitude towards you. You never know how a person would be from their words. I have met the nicest and sweetest friends with a questionable reputation. You can never trust what come out of their mouths is true, rather who can you trust?

Photo by Osman Rana on Unsplash

Even the most truthful friend among you might lie one time or another. So what makes you think you can hold their word for it? This uncomfortable reality sometimes passes through my mind. Making me trust people that might not deserve it. A deep reflection to my inner-self show that I actually like nice sweet words, don’t we all? But it is not a good indicator of how we should perceive the people around us. Nice and sweet doesn’t mean it is good for us. This made me think about a lot of things. A whole lot.

I begin to unravel my perceptions regarding words being said to me. A cynical attitude emerges every time someone says something compliments me. One of the first thing I thought about is, “Do they really mean it?”, “Is this how I really am?”. This is not to say that I reject the compliments fully since in my opinion it would be an impolite thing to do so. I always give a regular thank you to the person who gave a compliment, but I always criticize it with myself after the fact.

I don’t want to get delusional on how good I seem to other people. I truly believe that I have to judge myself thoroughly to have a conclusion to that question. Rather I first evaluate if the person that said it really meant it or if it was just a wishy-washy nice thing to say to me as the conversation rolls on. Obviously, I don’t pain myself to think about compliments like this every time. It’s a waste of time to try and figure out every compliment thrown at you, at least I think I have better things to do than that.

A whole range of compliments taught me a lot, a few of them was that people don’t really know what is going on in our lives before and after the fact. They just see through peepholes of their perceptions trying to understand ours. If they find a worthy, and righteous thing to commend they will. Even though that’s just part of the fact not the whole of it. I am just trying to say that compliments like critique should not be taken frankly. Moreover, it is more important to understand how we are perceived by others, not how to get compliments from them.

Ever had that friend who says good things to you every time they start to contact you then asks you a favor in the end? Well, I’ll assume you have. This is an example of how nice things upfront can really mess up your mind afterwards. It has become this distrust when people compliments you and it no longer feel genuine.

This is one of my major problems with compliments. It gets worse in this digital day and age where some of your actions are shared through di internet. I had a friend who recognized me on a event poster. Of course, he congratulated that I was invited to the event — and so on. Saying that I’m cool and what not, then asked for a favor. I can’t say that it is an ingenuine comment, but it felt like it. Maybe I was being too sensitive, who knows. This is my personal opinion but compliments like these feels ingenuine.

Though there are moments when I feel happy receiving a compliment. As I reflected on it, it may be a little bit subjective rather than objective. I do love it when a significant other compliments or notices my work. I also like when a colleague I have been working with for a long time acknowledges my work. It brings me a sense of joy when I am being noticed by people that I either admire or that understands me.

Compliments from complete strangers also can get me in a good mood. As far as I understand, if a stranger goes out of their way to compliment your work — maybe my work is good? I don’t know. Anyways it is a weird feeling otherwise. Thus the love hate relationship I have with compliments. It is interesting when we try to understand how we ourselves feel. Regardless compliments are subjective outright and a subjective feeling regarding them is expected. In the end, you know who you are. Always take good or bad critique with a grain of salt.



Agustinus Theodorus

Loves to share his thoughts and opinions on the internet.