• 2017.05.09
  • Americans’ skill at complimenting


When you get older, you start receiving praise less than you did as a child. For me though, the number of compliments I receive increased considerably since moving to the city of Findlay in the United States. Although it may sound like it, I am not bragging.

Americans are quite good at complimenting others. This goes for not only family and close friends, but also complete strangers.

It is my personal impression that compliments are given here like greetings. It is completely natural here for people to follow, “Hi! How are you?” with a compliment about something you are carrying or wearing, such as, “I like your x!” or “I like your dress!” People are very good at finding other people’s good points the very moment they greet them.In a previous post about what I like about America, I mentioned how friendly staff are at shops. Many will compliment me even in the short few minutes of communication at a grocery store checkout or facility reception desk.

And it is not only adults who are good at giving compliments; children are good too. Just the other day, some little girls were playing in my neighborhood and I smiled and said “hi.” The minute I did, they yelled back, “I like your hair!!!” (I did not actually have it done any special way, and had simply tied it back in a ponytail.) I replied with “Oh, thank you! I like your hair too!” and they came right up to me and asked “What’s your name?” They introduced themselves and told me all about the game they were playing, and we became friends. I was impressed and reasoned that if they are so good at complimenting an adult they do not even know, they must have been raised in a home where they were often praised in their day-to-day life.

I have sometimes been complimented on things I never gave a second thought to, and have been surprised that people picked up on them. Compliments that can bring a smile to someone’s face with just a few words and instantly put you at ease have an amazing power.

A compliment is simply straightforward expression of something you think is good in words.

In Japan, people tend to feel self-conscious when complimented and reply modestly, with something like “No, it’s nothing special.” However, nothing comes out of denying it. For example, if someone says, “Your nails are gorgeous!” you can start a conversation by replying, “Thanks! I had them done by so-and-so at x salon!” and may even get some useful new tips. Since moving to the United States, I have come to realize the importance of simply accepting compliments. I feel like it also raises my motivation to try and be confident and respond to compliments with a smile and a “Thank you.” We need confidence for everything we do, and I think it is important to recognize your own strengths.

Of course there is no need to go so far as lying in order to compliment someone; I just want to be someone who can tell another person frankly when I think something is good or like something, without overthinking it. I want to be someone who can quickly notice other people’s positive qualities.
There is no such thing as feeling bad when you receive a compliment, right?
I think the American custom of complimenting others is wonderful. It is a part of the culture I love.


  • Erika Anderson
  • AgeSheep( HITSUJI )
  • GenderFemale
  • Jobhousewife

I moved to the United States in May after getting married. My hobby is baking.I want to spread the joy of delicate and delicious baked sweets I learned how to create in Japan.

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