Almost half of women reject a compliment, according to a new study

The women in the study cited 'embarrassment' as the main reason for rejecting compliments.

Do you remember the last time you received a compliment? Was the response a simple 'thank you', or did you bat it away or brush it off, fearful of appearing arrogant.

A report from fashion retailer JDWilliams has revealed that offering compliments can actually have a negative effect, leaving over half of women (52%) embarrassed. The JDWilliams study, which was carried out by YouGov, questioned over 2,000 people on their reaction to being given a compliment.

'Embarrassment' was given as the main reason for not being able to accept a compliment (61%), followed by not wanting to draw attention to themselves (55%), feeling uncomfortable (47%), or thinking the words weren’t meant sincerely (38%).

MORE:Seven in ten women believe they are ‘too tough on themselves’, research shows

Older women are actually better at taking compliments, but the stats still show that one in two women over 40 struggle with praise. By comparison, seven in ten women under 40 feel unable to accept a compliment.

The study also found that women are four times more likely to regard a compliment made by someone of the same sex more as more genuine, as opposed to a compliment offered by a man.

The research also found that men are better at taking compliments as opposed to women, with one in seven men believing they are attractive compared with one in 30 women. Most women describe themselves as ‘average’ (45%).

And in terms of the best compliment to receive? Women value being told they seem 'happy' rather than comments on their appearance, weight or clothes.

Celebrities share the best compliment they've ever been given

“The best compliment I’ve ever gotten is when I’ve been on plane rides and, at the end, the flight attendants say to me, ‘You have the most well-behaved children of anyone on my plane.’ And it’s happened more than once! Honestly, I’ve never felt so much feeling from a compliment in my life.” Gwyneth Paltrow

“When I was travelling this past February with Helping Hands Jamaica, someone said, ‘Thank you for helping us build our school. It has been one of the best experiences of my life.'” Serena Williams

MORE:Women over 50 are fitter and happier than their youthful counterparts

“Someone said to me just recently that one of the qualities they liked most about me is that I always want the people around me to be happy. I never thought about that, but it’s true. It was such a nice thing to hear.” Kate Hudson

“You look like a painting by Van Gogh…the Potato Eaters!” This is for real, from a former lover.” Helen Mirren

“I’m always really touched when my mother tells me that I’m a good mother. She knows that I really value her opinion and that a big part of my self-worth comes from how I feel as a parent on any given day. She did such a great job raising my brother and me with a lot of love and a great sense of humour. Her compliment holds a lot of value in my life.” Reese Witherspoon





Lauren Hughes
Lauren Hughes

Lauren is deputy editor at woman& in the UK and became a journalist mainly because she enjoys being nosy. With a background in features journalism, Lauren has worked on the woman&home brand for four years. Before woman&home Lauren worked across a variety of women's lifestyle titles, including GoodTo, Woman's Own, and Woman magazine. After starting out working for a local paper in Yorkshire, her journalism career took her to Bristol where she hunted out stories for national papers and magazines at Medavia news agency, before landing a job in London working as a lifestyle assistant.

Lauren loves helping people share their stories, bringing experiences to life online, honing her interview techniques with everyone from authors to celebrities, headteachers to local heroes. As well as having a good nose for a story, Lauren has a passion for the English language and years of experience optimizing digital content to reach the widest audience possible. During her time at w&h, Lauren has worked on big brand campaigns like the Amazing Women Awards and assisted in developing w&h expert-approved Buyer's Guides—the place to go if you're looking to splash out on an important purchase and want some trusted advice. In addition to her journalism career, Lauren also has a background in copywriting for prestigious brands such as Inhabit Hotel, eco-development K'in in Tulum, social enterprise The Goldfinger Factory and leading London architect Holland Harvey, using language in all its glorious forms, from detailed guidebooks to snappy social content. 

A big fan of adventure, Lauren is also a keen travel writer and loves sharing tips on where to find the best places to eat, drink, and be merry off the beaten track. Lauren has written a series of travel guides for London hotels and loves sharing her insights into a destination's cultural and culinary offerings. If you need a recommendation on any UK destination, she's more than happy to help. At the weekend, you'll usually find her hanging out with her pet cat (or anyone else's pet she can get her hands on), escaping to the countryside, or devouring a good book. 

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