Women are good. I firmly believe that. And because most women spend a large part of their day nurturing and validating others, the value of a sincere woman-to-woman compliment becomes all the more meaningful. It’s easy to offer a passing “I like your hair” or “you look so cute.” But I’ve found these four phrases cut a little bit deeper; they can provide a needed boost on a draining day, or a little lift to a sagging heart. These are four compliments every woman wants to hear:
1. “You are so good at what you do.”
I don’t care if you’re a stay-at-home mom or a CEO, everyone wants to be noticed for their own contributions. Having someone tell you good job (even if you think they already know — especially if you think they already know) can be the encouragement you need to simply keep it up. Even the most confident, accomplished woman appreciates a passing thumbs up now and then — especially in response to a task or responsibility she puts a lot of heart into.
2. “Your husband is a great guy.” Women naturally possess an internal anxiety over their husband’s success. For good or for bad, women view the way their husband is received as a direct reflection of their own choices and accomplishments.
My mind goes to a scene from the Disney movie “Saving Mr. Banks.” The father figure is speaking at a community bazaar — after he’s spent the afternoon drinking away his nerves. Pain, anxiety and anguish flash across his wife’s face, as she watches him try to spit out the words. She nervously, almost frantically, bounces a baby on her hip as he fumbles and stumbles through his speech — eventually passing out at the podium.
I sometimes think women are internally trying to bounce their own nerves to sleep while they watch their husbands strive to succeed, provide and excel. The simple reassurance that “he’s a good guy” can help to soothe an otherwise uncertain situation (and help to stop the bouncing).
3. “That was just what I needed to hear.” It might not read as a direct compliment, but this phrase basically means “you’re wise” and “I’m grateful you care.” Women want to know that they were prompted to do or say something that made a difference.
The truth is, it takes courage to offer someone else advice. And those who love you the most put a lot of thought into saying just the right words. Let those well-meaning women know you hear and appreciate their perspective — doing so will give them the confidence they need to keep supporting you.
4. “You’re so much like your mom.” I know what some of you are thinking: I don’t want to be anything like my mom. I don’t know your mom, so that just might be a valid statement. But regardless of the type of person your mother is (or is not), there is a sentimental strength that comes from being connected to someone who has gone before you.
The older we get, the more we appreciate the little traits, characteristics and features our own parents handed down. You could say the value of this compliment increases as we age.
As someone who occasionally finds herself on the receiving end of these compliments, let me tell you how good it feels. In fact, my husband hands out compliment number four quite often — and he knows what it means to me to hear him say it. I usually laugh at his on-point observation (because my mom and I both like to sing and dance our way around the kitchen). I mist over a bit at the implications (because my mom and I both make decisions with our heart, and worry about things like stray kittens on the side of the road).
But mostly I just feel grateful he notices. His words empower me to square up my shoulders and move forward with more confidence and enthusiasm — after all, that’s what my mom would do.