Thoughts of an introvert – Socially awkward complimenting

Complimenting other people on their appearance, success or any other aspect is part of people’s daily life. Well, it should be. It makes the receiver of the compliment feel special and appreciated (in most cases). I see people who compliment all the time and about the smallest of things from nice trousers and beautiful haircut to a great strength. Most often the compliments bring joy, however, sadly there are occasions when they are placed to butter somebody up or in a sarcastic tone. Then there are those people who never really say any true compliments, other than the agreement with others “yes, it really is beautiful”. The reserved type who almost seem rude.

Let’s think about it like this. What goes in their head? It could be something like this:

Oh wow, I really like her top. I should probably say it, but not now, now is not the right time. When could be a good time? Well, she is speaking to somebody else just now. She probably isn’t even interested in my opinion, why would I bother her with it, no point in saying it out loud. But then, it could also make her feel great or make her day… or she will think I am saying it sarcastically and laughing at her. If I do it genuinely she shouldn’t feel like that, though. But whenever I open my mouth I sound strange and awkward. Oh, but now it’s been too long and it would be out of context if I’d compliment her now, I do not want to seem stupid and awkward.

All of this might be going in somebody’s head while others see a girl standing there staring at the top with a strange expression and wonder whether there is something wrong with it.


Well, this is me. Being an introvert socialising with people feels very awkward and most of the time I end up analysing situations and my behaviour rather than actually socialising, especially if it is with strangers or less familiar people. In addition, after I have opened my mouth and said something I end up analysing it afterwards and scrutinising myself over how awkward I sounded. This year I finally made a goal to get better at socialising with people (yes, that does sound cringe even to me). I decided to start complimenting people. It shouldn’t be such a complex task and it something positive. It is now August and we are nearing the last 4 months of this year. What is my progress in this task I set out for myself?

As always I do try to smile to most people I meet. Whether it is the bus driver, the cashier or somebody at work, to most of them, I also say hi. This has backfired a little, though. On my way home or away from there I usually walk this one busy street where this younger man was nice enough to say hi to me once or twice. He is a complete stranger and I thought I was getting better at this. Until I realised that he was standing at different points of the street almost every single time I walked there and only said ‘hi’ to me. I felt a bit creeped out and have been keeping an eye that he is not following me home. Maybe, I shouldn’t be saying ‘hi’ to every single person.


What comes to complimenting, on the other hand, I found it to be more difficult than I thought. I’ve made one compliment to a stranger in the whole 8 months. Even then I was cringing and pondering on it for a while whether I should say it. At a coffee stand, I ordered coffee from this girl with bold and colourful nails. She worked there alone and people passing by were always very busy. I complimented her on the nails on the very last second before I left the stand and after I thanked her for my coffee and she did smile. I don’t know if I made her day just that bit better or not, but I like to think that I did. I was genuine in my compliment. I did analyse the situation for a while afterwards, but it didn’t make me feel any worse and it certainly didn’t make my day any worse. I should definitely work on complimenting more!

The point of this is, I guess, that those of you who feel awkward talking out loud, you are not alone. There are many others who do as well. Who over analyse situations and feel awkward next to their bubbly amazing friends. But then, I do look behind those other people too who might not say so much and I understand them. I do not compliment often, even my friends and family, but when I do, I really really mean it and it makes it more special those times. And to those who think quiet people are rude, they might not be. It could be just that they are over analysing things in their head. I would still take a genuine compliment from a person rarely than feel that it is ingenuine and mocking.


How do you feel about complimenting people?

With love,


2 thoughts on “Thoughts of an introvert – Socially awkward complimenting

  1. Great article. As someone who is going through the same mindset and making the same changes described in your post, I can definitely relate. I would also like to share a recent “compliment” story.

    Earlier this month I was in line at my local bank. There were two tellers serving face-to-face (F2F) customers and one serving drive-thru (DT) customers. You could tell the two F2F tellers did not want to be there, and the line quickly grew. Because of the line, the DT teller began serving F2F customers whenever she could in addition to her DT customers.

    I was fortunate enough to be served by this teller and told her I appreciated her hustle. She thanked me. As I was leaving, I asked the receptionist to tell the DT teller that the “man in the black shirt” said she did a great job. Of course I over-analyzed my actions the moment I left the bank… in hindsight I should have written a note and left it for the receptionist to give to the DT teller. However, instead of beating myself up, I accepted that my actions were noble and now I know what to do the next time I am in this situation.

    I see this article was written a year ago, and I hope things have improved for you since this entry was posted!


    1. Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment as well! A year later I can say that complimenting is still difficult to me and I get startled when a stranger talks to me, but I am getting better at socialising, which is something. I know it is a long road to feeling comfortable with it, but I am sure I will get there some day. I hope things are improving for you as well 🙂


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