Giving compliments, like crafting the perfect text or creating the perfect day of meals, is a fine art. It’s never easy (read: possible) to mind-read and know exactly what someone wants to hear or may consider as a “good” compliment. While you may not be psychic, you can most definitely up your odds of establishing yourself as a good complimenter — and match — by relying on ones that tend to be pretty well-received. These six are nice, respectful, and most definitely not creepy (don’t be that person, please!).
But first, some general ground rules, compliments (lol) of Cher Gopman, NYC Wingwoman and dating coach:
- Give non-general compliments.
- Keep them short and sweet.
- Be sincere.
- Don’t only compliment someone’s physical appearance.
1. “Wait, you like Leon Bridges? He’s soooo good, you have great taste in music.”
If the other person says something that resonates with you, make your move. Whether it refers to a tidbit in their profile or something that came up in your messages, everyone likes to be told they have good taste in something. Note: Don’t say this just to say it or if you don’t know or don’t like the band. That’ll eventually come back to bite you.
2. “You have the mind of a Fortune 500 CEO. It’s terrifying.”
Lauriel M., 27, received this compliment from someone she had just started talking to. “It was flattering, because it felt really honest,” she says. “A lot of men [I engage with] think it’s not OK to admit that they don’t totally know how to feel about a woman who operates on their wavelength or at a higher level.” Acknowledging that something impresses or scares you leads to honest conversations and the opportunity to get to know someone else better.
3. “That shirt in your second pic brings out your eyes. Wow, I think blue is my favorite color now.”
“This shows you are actually paying attention, and this is not a compliment you can just say to anyone,” says Gopman. Pointing out something someone else may not have noticed personalizes your statement and signals to the other person that you actually took the time to look at their profile.
4. “All of your messages are so witty. I’ve gotta up my game.”
Listen to what the person is saying (or typing), says Gopman. “If you’re speaking online, you’re relying [primarily on your words] to paint the picture,” she says. Since words are much of what you have when you’re chatting on Tinder, it makes sense to call out their skills. It won’t come out of nowhere, and it shows you’re enjoying the conversation.
5. “Why haven’t you started your own YouTube channel? You would get a ton of subscribers for your looks alone.”
Xavier P., 25, heard this from someone he just started seeing. “It was really flattering, because I had mentioned to them how I would like to stream video games on Twitch. It was a nice two-in-one compliment — they complimented my looks but also made an encouraging and supportive statement about pursuing a hobby.” It’s OK to speak kindly of someone’s appearance, but calling out another quality while you do it strikes a safe balance.
6. “It’s really cool how you do so much volunteer work with [insert organization]. This city could definitely use it.”
A compliment is, by definition, a way to make someone feel good about themselves. When you comment on a cool hobby they have or the awesome volunteer work they do, you’re noticing them for who they are. You don’t have to make your compliment a giant expression of admiration — a little praise for what they do that makes them unique gets the job done. “Don’t quote something you heard from a movie. Don’t repeat the same things your friends say,” says Gopman. There are so many better and more original ways to let someone know you’re into them.”