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.
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!