Believe it or not, men have feelings, too.
I know, I know. It’s hard to believe, given how insensitive they often are, but it’s true.
If you’re a woman, your friends are constantly telling you how gorgeous you are, how smart and witty you are, how you’re a modern-day goddess and you should never settle for less.
You know how men talk? They insult each other. They bust each others’ balls. The warmth of being loved by Mom as a child is replaced by a cold and indifferent world where boys are told to “man up.”
As a result, you have generations of men who have been discouraged from expressing emotion or soliciting kindness who are in silent, desperate need of a good compliment.
That’s why I’m going to explain how to compliment a guy. Soon, you’re going to create more compassion in the world and make your man feel grateful to have someone who sees him in such a generous light. As silly as some of this may seem – I mean, really, 3000 words on how to compliment a guy? – knowing how to offer words of affirmation and other sweet compliments can be the glue that keeps your relationship strong. When a man feels good about himself, he feels good about you. When he feels good about you, it makes him want to be a better partner and never wants to leave.
Not to mention: the better you are at offering a sincere compliment to your boyfriend, the more likely your boyfriend will be to offer a great compliment to you.
Why Do Men Want To Hear Compliments More Often?
Honestly? Because we never hear them. Women support each other. Men cut each other down. Women share feelings. Men don’t. So while men and women both have measures of insecurity – we don’t think we’re good enough, smart enough, cute enough, rich enough – women have better support systems to deal with it. Networks of friends. Text chains. Women’s groups. Therapy. Close friendships.
Most guys have nothing but a job to sustain them – and while work does provide meaning and money, it doesn’t provide much in the way of compliments.
But even then you, may be left wondering: he’s cute, he’s nice, he’s smart, he sometimes even comes across as arrogant – why would you suggest that he’s insecure?
Think about it: do secure people need to brag about themselves? Of course not. Sometimes the most successful and seemingly confident men are actually deeply insecure – just like beautiful women.
So why would such a guy be insecure?
Because his Mom or Dad wasn’t supportive.
Because his Mom or Dad wasn’t available.
Because his Mom or Dad was critical or abusive.
Because he was teased throughout his school years.
Because he’s not a particularly charismatic individual.
Because he’s not particularly experienced with women.
Because he comes from a self-effacing family or culture.
Because he sees himself accurately and doesn’t have reason to be confident.
Because men rarely offer to compliment men.
Because a bunch of the above explanations may be true.
I’m fishing here, but you get the idea.
There are a number of reasons why people act from a place of insecurity, but all of them predate you and are probably pretty deep-seated. Thus, there are only two cures for insecurity:
– Therapy, which requires time, money, and a good recommendation.
– Positive experience with you, in which your boyfriend can learn that the negative things he’s internalized about himself are not entirely true, shouldn’t define him, and are dragging him down.
You can’t force him to go through therapy, but if you’re a great girlfriend, you can be a great listener and ask him why he continually thinks the worst about the man you love.
Then just sit back and listen. And, whenever possible, give him all the positive reinforcement he needs.
Soon, he’ll see why a woman like you continues to choose him above all others. He may not believe the good stuff yet. But with your help, he might — and you’ll have a more attractive, confident, and relaxed boyfriend when you’re done.
Here are a handful of ways to offer positive words that make men feel respected and valued.
5 Compliments for Men They Can’t Resist
1. You look hot!
Women’s looks are so scrutinized that it’s almost impossible to feel secure in a sea of Instagram models, women’s magazines, and impossible Hollywood standards.
Men, on the other hand, are not socialized to care as much about their looks. They’ll focus infinitely more effort on making money…to get a woman they find attractive. But while men are perfectly willing to enjoy the spoils of women who find them attractive because they’re rich, the truth is, they also want you to like their physical appearance, too.
Truth is, the best compliments are often the ones that are unexpected. If a woman is told 100 times a day how beautiful she is, you can be sure she’ll pay extra close attention when a man offers her a compliment on how smart or funny she is. And, apart from the tiny percentage of GQ-looking men, guys, for the most part, never get to hear anything nice about how they look.
It doesn’t take a relationship expert to point out that giving compliments costs nothing and tends to go a long way. So let those physical compliments fly. Tell him that his shirt brings out the color in his eyes. Praise him on his lush facial hair. Let him know you appreciate his great sense of style or that he’s in really good shape. Remember, these are not things men ever say to each other. So when you offer up the perfect compliment to your guy, I promise: you’re making his day and providing a real positive influence on his life.
2. You’re so smart!
Women value intelligence in men almost more than any other quality. Chances are, you want a man who is even more intelligent than you, which sounds great until you consider that you may be smarter than many men.
So does that mean every guy who doesn’t have a Master’s degree is an idiot? Of course not. There are many different kinds of intelligence. Part of your role of being a great girlfriend is to focus on the areas in which your man is impressive and offer genuine compliments on his prowess.
I once had a girlfriend who constantly felt insecure for not having gone to an elite college. She desperately wanted me to read her senior thesis and acknowledge her intelligence, but I was too young and stupid to see the importance of offering her this validation. You can learn from my mistakes.
Obviously, if your guy is a braniac, it’s easy to compliment his intelligence. The thing is: he’s used to it, so it doesn’t mean as much. It carries a lot more weight when you can offer a genuine compliment to a man whose intelligence isn’t demonstrated in his PhD but in other areas.
Let’s say your guy is really handy. He may not be able to quote Shakespeare but he can set up the router in your apartment. He can sand the rough edges from the deck in your yard. He can do a great job installing dimmers on your light switches. Compliment this man for his intelligence.
Let’s say your guy is an amazing boyfriend. He doesn’t mansplain and try to fix you but he has proven, time and again, that he’s such a great listener. Regardless of whether he’s a C-Level executive, this man has a high EQ. Compliment this man for his emotional awareness.
Let’s say your guy knows random things that you don’t. It’s possible you have more of an academic background but he can tell you the year Casablanca was released, or how cryptocurrency works, or the etymology of the word hooligan. Even if this guy doesn’t have the most meaningful career, his self-esteem may be deeply rooted in Trivial Pursuit. Compliment this man on being an interesting person.
Remember, this is not about offering up a fake compliment to boost his self-esteem. This is about recognizing many kinds of intelligence, saying something genuine to ensure that your guy feels respected for the things he does well.
3. You’re so funny!
Women claim to love men who make them laugh. And boy, do men love to make you laugh. For many men who couldn’t get by on looks when they were younger, having a sense of humor is a huge part of their identity and the very thing that gives them the most self-confidence.
I remember having a roommate who was dating a woman who found him cute and generous (which he was) but she didn’t think he was funny (which he also was). It was a dealbreaker for them.
Everybody wants to be seen as we see ourselves. That doesn’t mean you have to think your guy is a stand-up comedian just because he amuses himself. What I do mean is that if he’s at all funny, it wouldn’t hurt for you to acknowledge it and give funny compliments, the same way you’d compliment your heavyset friend on her eyes or her outfit. It costs nothing, it means everything, and if it makes your guy feel confident, then it’s a net positive for everybody involved.
4. You’re so honest and genuine!
Let’s face it: there are a lot of horrible guys out there. So if you find yourself a genuine person, someone you can trust, someone who naturally does the right thing, make sure to say so.
Men are so used to hearing how awful other men are. Liars. Cheaters. Narcissists. Abusers. Selfish. Peter Pans. Mamas Boys. Players. Commitmentphobes. We get it. And those labels have nothing to do with the next good man that you meet. So if good men are hard to find, you should celebrate when you finally do. Let him know he’s a generous person. Let him know he’s a great dad. Let him know you see appreciate him. Let him know he makes you feel safe, heard, and understood.
Being a good guy is not always that rewarding. You routinely see jerks land the women you pine for and you wonder why. That’s why some of the best compliments are the simplest ones.
“I trust you.”
“You’re a unique guy.”
“I feel good around you.”
If you can make your best friend feel like a big man just by being a GOOD man, you’re validating his entire experience and ensuring that nice guys don’t finish last.
5. You’re such a great boyfriend
Even the best boyfriends don’t feel like good boyfriends. It’s true. Go out with 100 women, you’ll find 100 women to tell you all the things they don’t like about you and how much you need to change.
If you’re a hard worker who wants to get ahead with your career, you’ll be criticized for spending too much time at work.
If you are content with your career, you’ll be criticized for not being ambitious enough.
If you don’t obsess about how you look, you’ll be criticized for having no style or being a little overweight.
If you care about your appearance and work out and diet regularly, you’ll be criticized for being too rigid about what you eat.
If you’re charismatic and charming, you’ll be criticized for attracting other women.
If you’re not charismatic and charming, you’ll be criticized for not being confident and funny enough.
You get the idea.
The same way you’d hate to go to work each day only to be told that you’re not doing a good job, that’s what it feels like to be a boyfriend. Whatever you do, it never seems to be enough.
That’s why the only thing that matters to men is that they are accepted by you.
We don’t expect you to think we’re perfect.
We’re hoping that you can appreciate that we’re doing our best.
That acknowledgment – making eye contact with him and saying, “I love you, you’re a great boyfriend and I love our life together,” is the best compliment of all.
It means you see him for the man he is, instead of focusing on the things he’s not.
Giving compliments doesn’t come naturally to everybody. If you didn’t come from a warm, complimentary family, this may be tough. If you’ve had your words thrown back at you by men, this may be tough. If you’re insecure about expressing your feelings or naturally shy, this may be tough.
But at the same time, just because something is tough doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. It may be tough for men to be good listeners. It may be tough for men to not look at other women. It may be tough for men to share their feelings with you. Yet you still expect them to do it for the sake of your relationship. For the sake of your relationship, don’t be shy about compliments. You may be giving your guy the greatest gift he didn’t even know he needed: the gift of feeling love, the gift of feeling appreciated, and the gift of feeling respected.