Everyone loves a good compliment — even men. And the key to a good compliment is making it stick. With the help of two degreed relationship experts, we’ve come up with a solid list of do’s and don’ts to remember when sending some flattery a man’s way. Take heed, and you’ll surely earn brownie points — and you might even make him blush.
DON’T be impressed by his job, but DO notice how well he does it
While you might think drooling over his job title or salary is a great way to make a man feel worthwhile, expressing your interest in a guy’s career by saying, “Wow! That’s a lot of zeroes on your paycheck” is about as subtle as wearing a miner’s helmet and carrying a pickaxe. Frankly, it screams “gold-digger” to many of us. Instead, let him know that you’re a fan of how well he does at his chosen profession. “Guys want women to notice how successful they are, but not necessarily how much they earn,” says Scott Kudia, Ph.D., author of If This is Love, Why Am I Unhappy? “It’s always better to recognize the passion that exists within a man, rather than what he actually does or how much he makes,” agrees Allen Berger, Ph.D., author of Love Secrets Revealed: What Happy Couples Know About Having Great Sex, Deep Intimacy and a Lasting Connection. “Recognize his commitment to excellence or the tenacity he’s had in following his dream, and he’ll be grateful.”
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DON’T say that you like his shirt; DO say how handsome he looks wearing it
“All guys like to hear that they look good,” explains Dr. Kudia. “It boosts their self-esteem. It also gives them an air of superiority over other men.” But if yours isn’t intensely into fashion or wears a uniform all day, how do you make a compliment like this one stick? “The more personal it is, the better,” says Dr. Berger. “‘That’s a great shirt’ says nothing about how the person making the compliment feels. ‘I like how handsome you look in that shirt/suit/uniform,’ on the other hand, makes the compliment more personal and meaningful.” And remember, complimenting him when he is wearing something you love is the first step in getting him to toss those not-so-nice clothes you hate — like that REO Speedwagon shirt with the salsa stains on it.
DO tell him when you like his friends
True, they may reek of stale Fritos and still have face paint residue on their chins from cheering at the game last weekend, but they’re his friends. So, it’s important for your boyfriend or husband to know what you think of his buddies, too. “Try to recognize what he likes about his friends, and then reflect it back onto him,” says Dr. Berger. “Let him know that you see what makes these friendships important to him.” Say something like, “I see what you mean about Dave’s sense of humor. He’s so funny. You’re lucky to have been roommates in college and still remain so close.” And remember to compliment him in front of his friends, because it will emphasize the fact that you only have eyes for him.” Plus, it’ll give those buddies of his plenty of reasons to wish they had a partner like you.
DON’T laugh at his jokes just to show that you think he’s funny
Granted, laughing is simple, universal, and can help you burn calories, but there are better ways to let him know how much you appreciate his sense of humor. “Fire the humor back at him,” suggests Dr. Kudia. “If you can hold your own when the sarcasm starts flying, you’ll be able to compliment him by saying how great it is to meet someone with the same sense of humor” — versus just guffawing like a studio audience member at a late-night TV show you won tickets to somehow.
DO praise his manners
Think chivalry is dead? While it may be on track for a visit to the emergency room these days, chivalry is not beyond saving with the right kind of reinforcement. “Keep it personal and specific,” recommends Dr. Berger. “Say, ‘When you pulled out the chair for me at dinner, I felt really special. Thank you.” And, while you’re at it, there’s no harm in giving his ego a well-deserved stroke. “It’s always nice for a man to hear how much better he is than all the others out there,” says Dr. Kudia. “So tell him, ‘I really like how courteous you are. You’re one of the few men on the planet that really gets how important that is to a woman,’ or, ‘You’re so much classier than most guys I meet.’” Before you know it, he’ll be opening doors for you left and right. But all joking aside, you’ll make him feel like a debonair gentleman, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that… right, ladies?
Matt Christensen has written for Maxim and WWE Magazine.