How to Respond to Compliments

Friday, January 27, 2012

You might have known that I love giving praises to other people. However, it is a different case when I am the one to receive them. Yep. Getting praises or compliments - as flattering as it is - is one of the most awkward situations for me. Not saying that I'm not happy to receive them, it's just... I don't know exactly how to respond to them.
The right and elegant way to receive compliments is, without doubt, by saying thank you. However, this simple way just doesn't work for me HAHA Somehow I feel that... if I say thank you, it means that I am elevating my own self. An alternate way of boasting. So I always respond, awkwardly, by saying, "Ah, kamu nih bisa aja, gak sepintar kamu lha." or "Ah, kamu juga pintar." or "Ah, kamu juga cantik banget tauuu!" or "Ah, masa sih, pasti kurang asin yaa masakan aku?". *For you who don't speak Indonesian, those just basically say "Ah, you too are very smart/beautiful!" or "Ahh, not as good as you lah!".

I've always taken this way of responding for granted. Never really think it through of what it implies of me. Well.. Something happened to me last week that made me start to think about it more seriously.

Here goes. I'm taking Conflict Resolution class this semester, which is taught by the same lecturer I had two semesters ago in my Indonesian Politics class, Mr. Mangadar. I happened to have the highest score in the previous class taught by him, which was 90. He said that for 20 years he's been teaching, never had he granted anyone a 90 or above score. But he did to me. And apparently, he remembers me since that day forth. Which... brings me to the event I was about to tell you.
Last week, in the first meeting of my Conflict Resolution class, Mr Mangadar began with an introduction of the course. Then he recognized me and Lydia (she was in my Indonesian Politics class as well, and she got the second-rank) sitting on the front row, and said to the whole class, "I had these two amazing ladies in my previous class two semesters ago. They are very active in class, and they managed to get very good marks. I am so glad to have you two again in my class, and I expect the same from you two this semester, or even more! *chuckles*" Then the whole class applauded.
I blushed so hard that I looked like a boiled prawn. Lydia took the compliments and the applause beautifully: laughing, saying thank you, and waved a little. I, on the other hand, could only look down, smiled shyly while moving uncomfortably in my chair, managed of saying nothing. HAHA very contrast, no?

Well, it got me thinking ever since. I will be working in the field of International Relations. I just can not get into that field not knowing of how to respond to a simple compliment!

So I did a little reflection.
My inability to receive compliments by simply saying thank you, I found out, shows a hint of low self-confidence that occasionally takes place in me, and a trace of my tendency to think too much of what people think of me. Why so?
Well. If I can't accept compliments for what I've achieved, then it means that I don't believe in my self that much. I can't take my achievements as the result of my work (even as I write this I still feel that I am boasting of my work and that I deserve a good result) hhas it's wrong, I know! It's a very twisted way of thinking that needs some fixing! It is made worse by my worrying that if I merely say thank you, people will think that I take the compliments so easily, as if I do think so highly of myself. SEE? It's very sick the way I think, right??? hhas

And therefore, I have made some resolutions to myself.
1) To respond to a compliment with casual laugh and 'thank you'.
2) If it's still difficult for me to do, I will throw back a compliment to accompany my 'thank you'.
3) When I have reached 'higher level' (:p), I would only throw back a compliment if I really feel it in my heart - not just as an automatic response due to my awkwardness.

It's hard, I know. But I believe that the way we respond to things shows the real us. And if it's me, I want it to show that I have the confidence, but I'm not such a big-head. I can accept compliments elegantly, but with great humility as well. (:

Do you have that kind of awkward response to things? I'll be more than happy to know your story! :D


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