Men often struggle with the simple act of giving a woman a compliment, and the way we teach men how to compliment a woman at my company, FEARLESS, is very different from the bulk of dating advice you will find in Google searches: lists of the best types of compliments, what kinds of compliments “work” best…and what NOT to say, lest you upset or offend.
Some dating coaches might even suggest you NOT compliment women at all, as compliments sometimes can come off as needy or insecure…when they’re not delivered the right way. That is what all the aforementioned dating advice misses, though: that it’s not about the words you are saying. It has everything to do with how you say it – but even that isn’t about modeling a certain tone of voice or any other “technique.”
A confident, well-delivered compliment can make you very attractive and spark some serious chemistry, and what that’s really about – what ‘how you say it’ is actually about – is feeling: feeling confident, feeling and enjoying the words you’re saying and your appreciation and attraction for her, feeling free from outcome, feeling the connection with her, and feeling (being in touch with) her emotions.
So let us discuss subtle but important differences that determine whether your compliments “work” or not, and the steps to compliment a woman that can change the entire vibe of your conversations and flirting. Most of this applies whether you’re meeting her for the first time, you already know her or are on a date with her, or even if you’re already in a relationship.
Confidence is #1
When we boil it all down, women are most attracted to guys with genuine confidence: strong self-esteem and feeling great about yourself without the need for anyone to validate that.
But keep in mind, true confidence goes much deeper than some macho bravado or asshole-type character many think of when they hear that women are attracted to confidence.
Appreciation and Where Your Head’s At
One of the vital elements of confidence is having real appreciation for – and interest in – the human being in front of you… focusing more on them than what’s going on inside you.
Richard Branson (billionaire entrepreneur and owner of his private island) for example, noted this as a key in helping him overcome shyness:
Appreciating the person in front of you – from women, to friends, to business situations – is a key to coming off more confident to others and, most importantly, feeling more confident internally. Because when you’re more focused on the other person than yourself, you’re not thinking or worrying as much about your insecurities or what people are thinking about you.
You are also actually paying attention and getting to know them much more when you are focused on them versus yourself. Duh, right? But many of us get so caught up in worrying about how we’re coming off or if the women we’re talking to can sense our nervousness that we totally lose ourselves in all that and stop really paying attention to this woman that we supposedly want to get to know.
When you are actually focused on her and getting to know her, you will stand out from the pack, because you’ll start picking up on more subtleties about her than most men do.
“Believe it or not, despite all appearances I have always been naturally shy. Mum tried to drum it out of me by explaining how shyness is a form of selfishness. She would tell me being shy was merely thinking of oneself…” Branson once said.
“If you think of other people enough, you’re never going to be shy,” his mother, Eve Branson explained.
So appreciative compliments (when genuine) go a long way towards creating and sustaining connections and relationships…as long as they come from the right place.
When Compliments Don’t Work, It’s Usually Because of a Hidden Agenda
The reason you may have been taught not to compliment a woman in the past is because the person or people telling you that are trying to solve for men coming from the wrong state of mind.
Are you actually saying what you’re saying because you appreciate her beauty (or sexiness, vibe, or whatever) and want to give to her for the sake of giving – with no expectation of something in return?
Or, if you’re being honest with yourself, are you giving her a compliment largely to get something: to get her to like you, get her in bed or get that first kiss (or some other form of validation), to diffuse a tense or confrontational moment – these are just a few examples of compliments that are actually manipulative, whether you consciously realize it or not. They aren’t truly coming from an appreciative or giving place – they’re actually taking, insecure, and dishonest.
Emotions can be felt by other people. Part of what makes great actors and speakers’ performances so impactful is that they’re so deeply feeling the emotions of the character or the subject they’re speaking about.
This is especially true with women, as women tend to be much more attuned to picking up on emotional subtleties than men. So if your “appreciation” is coming from a place of insecurity or trying to get something (her to like you, general validation, sex, etc.) she will feel it.
She may know what’s going on consciously or it may be subconscious, but something will just feel “off” at some level and it won’t be as impactful. She may even feel resentful or turned off and not understand why.
Can you appreciate her from a self-validated place without the need (neediness) to receive anything in return? When you start to do that, you’re much more likely to get genuine appreciation, generosity – and attraction – in return.
“Did I do it Right?”
One thing to start catching yourself on when you compliment a woman is if you look at her, searching her face or eyes for her reaction to what you just said, THAT’S where she’ll sense the neediness, insecurity, or validation-seeking energy from you. It makes the words you just said less solid and powerful…and in some cases, even disingenuous.
You’re non-verbally saying something along the lines of:
-“Was that ok?”
-“Did you like that? Did I get it right?”
-“Did that work? Do you like me now?”
-“Please like me now.”
Just start observing whether that’s something you tend to do. And try to focus on continuing to enjoy whatever it is you enjoy about her right after you’ve said your compliment, rather than worrying about how it landed. You did your thing, spoke your truth, and offered her a gift. Whether she takes it or not isn’t for you to worry about.
FEEL the Words!
Insecure men tend to be in their heads – analytically calculating how they can get a result or analyzing whether people like them.
If a woman has ever asked you something along the lines of “Where are you?” or “What are you thinking about?” it’s probably because your mind drifted and she could tell you weren’t really there in the moment, connected with her.
So when you find a little detail about her looks or personality that you love, get in touch with how those things make you feel in your own body.
Does the sparkle in her eyes make you get warmer or make your heart beat faster? Does how that dress hugs her curves physically turn you on? Does the sight of her all done up or the way she’s looking at you even make you a little nervous or give you butterflies?
When you’re in touch with your emotions and how you feel – and you allow yourself to enjoy that and enjoy her even more – your words and actions will be much more meaningful.
She may even feel it without you even needing to say much, if anything at all.
Remember, it won’t be as effective if you’re just looking for a desired reaction. She needs to feel that you feel it.
What a Compliment That Turns Women On Looks Like
When you’re really feeling the words and coming from a strong, self-validated but turned-on and appreciative place, all kinds of compliments can work.
Even just something like “Damn, you’re sexy!” Whatever’s the true feeling in that moment for you. Because it’s about that feeling and vibe she gets from you – that you’re turned on…and maybe even a little swept up by her presence.
Women want to feel sexy. Knowing they’ve impacted you that way and that you’re sharing that with them can by itself make them feel sexy…and turned on, too.
But being specific with your compliments does also have its benefits. It can show you’re paying attention and, again, separate you from the pack.
You can let her know specific little details that you appreciate about her. I gave a couple examples above, and here are a couple more:
- “I love how your eyes light up when you talk about ___ – it’s really sexy.”
- “The way your lips/eyes/nose/etc ______ is really sexy.”
Everyone wants to be appreciated, and when you show her you’re in the moment and paying attention at a deep level when you compliment a woman, that’s very attractive.
Especially if she’s someone you already know, genuinely appreciate her: All the work she puts in to looking great, all the things obvious and subtle that make her who she is, how hard she works at ___, or how passionate she is about ___.
But spontaneity is best. Whatever really gets your attention and comes to you in the heat of the moment. That’s being real. (Even if what comes to you is less specific.)
Then it’s about really feeling and embracing your appreciation, turn-on and emotions in your body before and while you say it. That’s part of what “getting out of your head” actually means. Being present with yourself and her as you say it. Feeling it.
That will cause a shift in your body language, your face and micro-expressions, how you look at and into her, what words you actually end up using, and your tone of voice. (Much more effective than trying to “fake it” or model “good” body language.)
How to Be Your Own, Authentic Version of Casanova
Speaking of tone of voice, don’t rush through it when you compliment women.
Take your time to take her in like a cool glass of water, and take time to deliver your words slowly, with intention. Let your words breathe, and enjoy the pauses. Well-managed pauses can build the feeling and chemistry between you two even more.
And really look deeply into her eyes.
This is one of our fundamental exercises for building confidence and connection skills in intensives – I call it “soul gazing.” Really see her and connect with her.
A Little Awkwardness is OK and Can Even Be Good
When you compliment a woman the right way, it might even feel awkward or cause her to get uncomfortable, but that’s your place to work on relaxing and continuing to appreciate her, even in the face of her freaking out a little bit.
When you can do that, it will often result in a raise of sexual tension (chemistry)… and / or a strong feeling of love and connection – especially if she’s someone you’re already dating or in a relationship with.
In Summary, How to Compliment a Woman:
-Focus more on enjoying and being curious about her than on your nervousness or how you’re coming off.
-Come from a place of giving freely without an attachment to getting anything in return. Even her acceptance of the compliment. Watch for any tendencies you have to look for her response…or even “bracing for impact,” would be another way of putting it. Try to let that go and stay focused on enjoying her.
-Get in touch with how you feel, and really feel the words as you say them.
-Specificity can be powerful, but so can general (“Damn, you’re sexy!”) compliments when you’re really feeling it.
-Spontaneity is best when you compliment a woman: whatever you feel most in the moment.
-Speak slowly, enjoy the pauses, really look into her, and enjoy the words and her as you say them.
-Don’t be afraid of awkwardness. Sometimes it’s a really good thing.
When you watch a beautiful sunset, you don’t expect anything from it in return. Treat appreciating and complimenting women in the same way: appreciate them for just being.
Check out the FEARLESS blog for more!