10 Ways To Compliment Your Date

10 Ways To Compliment Your Date

Wow. You're face to face with a woman who has you dazzled…and tongue-tied. Learn the right way to flatter her from our pair of etiquette experts.

By Phineas Mollod and Jason Tesauro
he statement, "Gee, Suzie, you look nice today," used to arouse giggly tingles on the playground, but as a post-pubescent suitor, your compliments better be more compliminty-fresh. Warm praise can defrost those first icy moments of early dating, as well as subtly advertise your attraction. Later, compliments are standard daily fare for keeping a relationship fresh. How do you spice it up? Allow us to share ten secrets:

1. Offer praise that's original, not stale
A dating-scene veteran with luxuriant locks has heard dozens of times how lovely her hair is. Either craft a new quip ("Your red and gold highlights make me long for autumn") or else bypass obvious compliments in favor of lesser-named qualities ("Your posture is flawless…do you take ballet?").

2. Look for cues.
Where has your date invested her energies in preparing for your time together? A freshly-painted French manicure begs for recognition. Also, when someone has clearly invested their time or money in an area of interest, you've got a ready-made subject to compliment. "Wow…that's quite a collection of snow globes." This particular phrasing has the secondary advantage of making an observation without actually saying whether you like it or not.

3. Make it specific.
Vague, wide-beam flattery lacks the focused impact of a well-honed, explicit comment. "You've got a cool apartment," is fine, but it doesn't evoke pride as well as "Your jazz/art/fiction collection is amazing." Instead of acknowledging her "pretty face," pick one winning feature, like lips: "Your lips remind me of those coy silent-film stars."

On to more compliments, with this note: Cheap flattery will get you nowhere. Keen compliments are never you-have-nice-eyes commonplace. Instead, it's those rare remarks spotlighting subtler traits (e.g. sultry phone voice, bistro-picking savvy, and paparazzi-worthy glamour) that resonate longest. Next time you've got the chance to brighten a date's day, issue one of these sincere forms of praise…you'll know you've struck a chord when her cheeks blush. Here, the specifics:

4. "That color looks great on you."
This phrase works on a number of levels. Your compliment suggests an appreciation of style and signifies attraction while demonstrating your own sharp eye.

5. "Your space is so inviting/hip/splendidly decorated" or "You have great taste in ______."
Anyone who has taken time to enliven their home with objects d'art or contrasting pillow fabrics relishes this kind of accolade.

6. "I love your friends."
If you are fortunate enough to be meeting her network of pals, put some praise out there. Acknowledging her friends will settle half of your date's "Will they all get along?" doubts, while also casting a vote clearly in favor of those who might be bridesmaids or groomsmen one day in the rosy future.

7. "You must spend hours at the gym/yoga studio."
Your date's toned arms and trim gams are likelier the result of a gym membership than just splendid genes. When you notice the firm effects of someone's workout regimen, say so. One simple compliment affirms months of labor sweatin' to the oldies.

8. "You have the sexiest ______."
If you've been dating for a bit of time, go ahead and mention eyes, toes, shoulders, back, hands, and legs for this fill-in-the-blank. But beware suggestive compliments that are more lewd than sexy. "That dress hugs you in all the right ways" is far better than "I'd like to catch my trout in your fishnets, baby."

9. "Being with you is really ______. "
This kind of statement cleverly compliments someone by signaling your own feelings. For those too shy to directly gush, "I really like you," the above turn of phrase lets you reveal a little without coming on too strong.

10. Random compliment-generator. Select an adjective and an article of clothing:
You look... _________
in those/that... _________

Incidentally: Remarking upon a ring or earring offers the added bonus of an excuse to lift your date's hand or brush soft curls from a delicate ear. As for necklaces, mind your manners…no pawing at pendants plunging down the bust line.

Bonus tip: End the date on a good note
After some tasty lip lock, offer immediate praise: "Now, that was a stupendous kiss." And at the end of the date, close with a broad-stroked, three-word compliment: "You are fantastic." This may not be terribly specific, but it ends the date on a high and succinctly announces your desire for more.

Phineas Mollod traded his J.D. for the editorial life and is often found riding the congested E train with his wife and daughter in New York. Jason Tesauro pushes pen and ink by day and leads the lifestyle seminar series by night, ne'er far from his sweetheart and a Brady Bunch houseful 'o tots in Virginia. Together they are the authors of The Modern Gentleman: A Guide to Essential Manners, Savvy and Vice and The Modern Lover: A Playbook for Suitors, Spouses, and Ringless Carousers.
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