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"You Have Beautiful Eyes": Do's & Don'ts for Creating a Superb Compliment

Flattery is one of the best ways to make someone feel special; particularly the one you love. Telling our partners that we like what they have done, how they look, or what they have said affirms their sense of self-worth. Sometimes when we see our partners day-in and day-out, we may forget to tell them that they look beautiful or that they're great at doing whatever it is that they do so well. This lack of complimenting can cause our partners to feel self-conscious about their abilities or maybe even feel like they're useless from time to time. Think about it. If you (the one person who is supposed to like your partner more than anyone else) don't think that your partner is great, who else will? And, if you never tell your partner that you love his hair or that you think she's really good at math, how will he or she ever know how you feel?

Research has shown that both men and women highly value compliments int heir romantic relationships (Prager, 1995). Many researchers (Doohan & Manusov, 2004; Prager, 1995) have even claimed that complimenting can significantly add to the intimacy and relationship satisfaction that you experience with your partner. When your mate compliments you, you feel loved and valued, which can intensify the bond that the two of share. Drs. Eve-Ann Doohan, Ph.D., and Valerie Manusov, Ph.D., of the University of Washington, have concluded that if you're satisfied with the complimenting that is occurring in your relationship, you're also more likely to be satisfied with your relationship as a whole.

Interestingly, a study by Wolfson and Manes (1980) revealed that two-thirds of all compliments include the adjectives nice, pretty, beautiful, good, or great, and 90% of compliments include the verbs like or love. Go against the grain and try to be more original by using other adjectives such as outstanding, magnificent, gorgeous, amazing, delightful, superb, marvelous, or impressive and other verbs like admire, respect, enjoy, or adore. Using these unique words will help your compliments stand out from the rest.

Need some more help? Follow these do's and don'ts...

Doohan, E.-A., M., & Manusov, V. (2004). The communication of compliments in romantic relationships: An investigation of relational satisfaction and sex differences and similarities in compliment behavior. Western Journal of Communication, 68, 170-194.
Wolfson, N., & Manes, J. (1980). The compliment as a social strategy. Papers in Linguistics: International Journal of Human Communication, 13, 391-410.
Prager, J. K. (1995). The psychology of intimacy. New York: Guilford Press.

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