We're Now On Telegram

It’s really weird, but as a millennial in her early twenties, I am used to receiving and giving compliments on social media. Someone clicked “like” on my photo? That’s cool. Someone called me “Cute” on Instagram, oh shiver-me-timbers! Absolutely flattered, thank you! But the moment someone comes up to me in real life and comments that I’m looking very good today or maybe my eyes are pretty, and I suddenly find myself slouching and fading into the background like a wallflower, almost afraid to receive it. The discomfort is real.

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Compliments on social media are easier to accept.

I’m not sure if it’s because I’m female or if it’s more cultural, but I can’t help but feel that compliments are a little bit frivolous. While I don’t think I’m undeserving of them, I feel that I shouldn’t show such open acceptance of them because it isn’t “modest” (which is model behaviour… of a woman in the 1600s, I’d suppose – so why am I, a Gen Y lady, getting so uneasy about receiving or giving one?)

In this case, I have to agree that it’s hard to understand my own psyche as a woman! I obviously enjoy being complimented on, especially by people I love and adore, but I definitely shy away from receiving them still, sometimes even returning a sweet compliment from my boyfriend with a nonchalant, self-deprecating quip like, “Where got?!” or a more wary, “Why (are) you (being) so nice today?” Perhaps, it is my own self-defense mechanism, in case the compliment was not a genuine one.

These days, I put on my big girl pants and receive them readily in real life, face-to-face. Instead of giving a sheepish half-smile and retreating from the person who just gave me such a kind compliment, I now try my best to not flinch and bravely accept it, thank them and even return one. This is a habit I had to practise getting into, but it’s getting much easier.

But of course, keep ‘em likes on social media coming, because for all the real-life compliments I’ve rejected or looked over, I obviously still need my dose of praises to make my day – so long as I don’t have to immediately respond to the person like I have to offline… I guess!

He Says, She Says is a monthly column by Kenneth (he) and Carrie (she).

This month they talk about the 'dilemma' of giving and receiving compliments. This is one of the rare occasions where they agree on several things. Click this box to find out what a man thinks.