By @CrabSophie

Stefan Dahl Langstrup / Alamy Stock Photo

Stefan Dahl Langstrup / Alamy Stock Photo

Today marks National High Five Day. High-fives are widely used between pairs or groups of people to celebrate a win, big or small. It’s a shared, physical compliment.

What if physical touch isn’t your preferred way to show affection? Let’s explore the best way to compliment someone and boost the positive energy they give both parties.

Why can we struggle to compliment others?

Brené Brown has a great analogy for the kind of person to be. Ask yourself: do I enjoy reflecting on other people’s positive spirits, or am I a candle blower-outer? In other words, do you like to celebrate your friend’s wins or dampen their day?

In a world where someone else’s gain is often portrayed as someone else’s loss, it can be challenging to tackle the green monster inside of us. Learning that this is not the case, and embracing other people’s light, can help your glow too.

Where to begin

From your colleagues to your closest friends, the key to giving the best compliment is being observant. Pay attention to these two themes: their priorities (personal and professional goals) and insecurities.

Choosing the right compliment

High-fiving someone with words or actions (depending on your relationship) is more apparent when celebrating someone actively working towards a goal like a promotion or DIY project.

Pepper in phrases like “well done for meeting that deadline”, or “you’re such a great aunt.” Recognise “what a great experience to add to your CV”, and “your garden is flourishing”. These are all rewarding because they’re attentive to someone’s goals and priorities.

The art of getting people to accept compliments around their insecurities is often more subtle. If someone has been falsely led to believe that they are too dull, counter that with affirmations such as “it’s inspiring to be around someone so dedicated to their studies” or, “wow, I’ve really learned something from you today. Thank you for sharing.”

If a sibling has been told they’re too weird, contrast that with “I love how creative your mind is” or “you inspire me to be more authentic.”

If your friend has been insecure about their appearance, highlighting a positive about it can distract them from constantly weighing on their mind. For example, if they’ve let you know they’re unsure about their new haircut, you can compliment an element of it (yes, you may agree it’s too short, but “it’s so glossy now!”) or their beautiful lipstick that distracts from it.

Non-physical compliments with a variety of applications

· You’re a great listener

· Your energy is infectious

· I enjoy your wittiness

· You have an excellent eye for detail

· That was so thoughtful of you

· Thank you for being gracious with your time

· You’ve really cheered me up

· We’re lucky to have your insights and perspective

Things you’ll start to notice

Enjoying a sunnier perspective

Of course, we can’t always walk around in rose-tinted glasses, but it’s essential to balance our gripes with others with recognising moments of fun and success. They might be a slow walker, but man do they have great shoes!

Actively being on the lookout for good as opposed to the bad will gradually shift your mindset and see a drop in your anxiety levels.

Chances are, you’ll get more comfortable patting yourself on the back too.

It takes around 66 days to form a new habit, but it takes approximately 250 days to stick, so challenge yourself to give praise at least once a day to solidify your new routine.

Receiving praise in return

Proving that you’re capable of positive honesty to balance criticism creates a comfortable space for camaraderie. Hopefully, it will lead others to do the same with you, and then there’ll be a happy domino effect!

Like the little snide comments that can tear someone down, little boosts can make all the difference to encourage self-confidence over time. This National High Five Day, consider how you can help boost someone’s morale by giving a customised compliment, and notice the weight lift off both of your shoulders.

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