The 18 Best Compliments Anyone Can Ever Receive

We've all given and received rave reviews and praise, but certain compliments stand out from the pack. Here's what makes those lines so incredibly meaningful.

1/18 View as List

"You're a great listener"

01-The-18-Best-Compliments-We've-Ever-ReceivedNicole Fornabaio/, iStock

When you show that you're eager and open to hearing another person's thoughts and feelings, the compliments will likely come flooding in. "I've been told both in my personal and professional life that I not only hear, but I truly listen," says Bari Lovi, 39, of New York City. "Being recognized as a source of compassion, empathy, and mentorship have helped my life so much. So, hearing I've done that for someone is special." When you tell someone he's a good listener, it shows that you appreciate his thoughtfulness and presence. And you're solidifying a relationship when you actively listen. Find out more about how to be a good listener.

"You're an amazing parent"

02-The-18-Best-Compliments-We've-Ever-ReceivedNicole Fornabaio/, iStock

We're all unsure at times if we're being a good mother, father, brother, sister, or whatever our role may be. So it's always reassuring for an outside source to tell you that you're doing something right when it comes to your children. Rebecca Weinreich, 39, of New York City, felt just that when she and her husband, Josh, were told that they must be amazing parents since their kids were so happy and nice to everyone. "It was sweet because the woman always sees my kids at the playground with our nanny and other children," says Weinreich. "To a working mom, it means the world—to know love, kindness, and manners are rubbing off on your children." Read more on tips for giving thoughtful compliments.

"You're brave"

03-The-18-Best-Compliments-We've-Ever-ReceivedNicole Fornabaio/, iStock

Remarking on someone's strengths shows that you're noticing what's going on with her emotionally. And when a compliment goes beyond the surface, it conveys that what's on the inside matters. It's even more meaningful when the praise comes from your own mother. "My mother told me I was brave when I was a child, and it has shaped my entire life," says Erica Lemp, 35, of Rockledge, Florida. "I am who I am today because of it." Lemp says the compliment referred to her willingness and ability to talk to and speak in front of people. And the words have impacted her life. "There have been so many times where if I didn't believe that about myself, if it hadn't been instilled in me, I would've given up on tasks or ideas." She says the words inspired her to audition for school plays—even though she's not much of an actress. And those acting pursuits helped her be comfortable speaking publicly. At her job, a large part of her role focuses on connecting with people and conveying messages. The words have encouraged her to be a better leader, building people up to maximize their potential. She keeps her mother's words close to heart. "Knowing that the woman whose opinion matters most to me thought of me in this way has inspired me to not disappoint her." Find out what compliments you should be giving every day.


"You're a good homemaker"

04-The-18-Best-Compliments-We've-Ever-ReceivedNicole Fornabaio/, iStock

We may not be 1950's housewives, but there's still something nice about hearing that you run a tight ship. Praise from an elder especially, is always good for the soul. Such was the case when Jaime Beth, age 40, of Trumbull, Connecticut, heard her grandmother call her a balabusta—Yiddish for a good homemaker. "Her home was always spotless and she was an amazing cook and baker," Beth says about her grandmother. When people's personal qualities are praised, the words hold a lasting impression. Here's what your home can reveal about you.

"You're smarter than your brother"

05-The-18-Best-Compliments-We've-Ever-ReceivedNicole Fornabaio/, iStock

Lisa Langsdorf, 39, of New York City, still remembers when her dad told her at around 9 or 10 years old that she is more intelligent than her older brother. "It taught me that women are as smart as men," she says. When it came to homework, Langsdorf says she was distracted as a child, having a hard time focusing. "My dad didn't want me to lose faith in my (academic) abilities and wanted me to understand that I could do anything a boy could do." Try these tips to give sincere compliments.

"Your wedding was the best I've ever been to"

06-The-18-Best-Compliments-We've-Ever-ReceivedNicole Fornabaio/, iStock

When a guest raved about Diana Whelan's wedding, she was flattered that all the hard work and little details she put into the event were noticed and appreciated. "I've been planning my wedding since I was like 4 years old, so it meant a lot," says Whelan, 28, of Northborough, Massachusetts.

"You're the best teacher I've ever had"

07-The-18-Best-Compliments-We've-Ever-ReceivedNicole Fornabaio/, iStock

We all want our efforts in the workplace to be appreciated and valued. "A student told me in her holiday card that I was the best teacher she ever had, and that I made her want to be a teacher when she grows up," says Leslie Weintraub, 39, of Hillsborough, New Jersey. Weintraub says she felt emotional and got choked up when she read the message. "It was a great reminder to me about why I teach and what I really love about my profession," she says. "It also made me feel that what I do has meaning and that I'm making an impact, which isn't a feeling I get all the time." Check out the heartfelt story of a student who became pen pals and lifelong friends with her middle school teacher.

"You're extraordinary and can accomplish anything, but you're crazy and your ideas will never work"

08-The-18-Best-Compliments-We've-Ever-ReceivedNicole Fornabaio/, iStock

Mike Goldstein, founder and lead dating coach of EZ Dating Coach, says that the most meaningful compliment he has ever received was both positive and negative. "I was told 'You're extraordinary and can accomplish anything' by a friend and told by colleagues at the same time, 'You're crazy and your ideas will never work.'" Goldstein used these words to help motivate him professionally to start and continue to build his own business. "On days when I was down and thinking of quitting, I needed people to remind me how much I had accomplished and that I could do anything," says Goldstein. And the naysayers who said he'd never be successful made him work harder. He sought to prove them wrong by showing them that he could accomplish anything he set out to do.  

"My son told me he wished that I could be his teacher"

09-The-18-Best-Compliments-We've-Ever-ReceivedNicole Fornabaio/, iStock

For teacher Viviana Burgess, 39, of Succasunna, New Jersey, the best compliment came not from one of her students, but from her then 6-year-old son, Frankie, after he visited her classroom one day. "My son told me that he wished I could be his teacher because I'm really good at making kids happy," she said. The words deeply impacted her, inspiring her to teach at a school closer to him so they could spend more time together. "I gave so much to my students and felt that Frankie was missing out." Now she gets to see him more and finally he gets to see her more too. She's grateful that she listened to Frankie, who's now nine. "While I can't be his teacher, I can show him what a good teacher can be, and hopefully what a great mom can be," she says. These are the best compliments you can give a parent.

"You're always smiling"

10-The-18-Best-Compliments-We've-Ever-ReceivedNicole Fornabaio/, iStock

When Stacy Andelsman, 50, of Livingston, New Jersey, was at her 30th high school reunion, she bumped into an old friend who she hadn't seen in years. They hugged hello and chatted for a few minutes. "As I was walking away, he said, 'You haven't changed a bit. You were always smiling then and you still are now!'" Andelsman was elated to hear those words. "I love being remembered like that," she says. "If I hadn't been smiling already, that put a smile on my face for the rest of the night." At the time, she was going through a rough patch in life. But she took his words to heart. "I knew that if someone saw that happy person in me, she was still in there somewhere and could eventually come out again," she says. Here's why smiling is so good for you.

1/18 View as List

Become more interesting every week!

The Reader's Digest "Read Up" Newsletter

We will use your email address to send you this newsletter. For more information please read our privacy policy.