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How To Give a Compliment – and Accept One (Without Slapping His Face)

How to give compliments

Receiving compliments or flattering comments can be difficult for some people. Equally – no one’s ever really taught how to give a compliment either.

But – how exactly does a slap in the face after an ill-received compliment turn into a one-year relationship? Here’s how…

From Rejection to Dating Success

Some time ago we received a letter from a male reader, asking for advice after he got slapped in the face by the female recipient of a well-meaning compliment. This week, we got a follow-up email from the woman who gave our reader CJ that one-handed rejection:

Hi Ladies!  I’m Cindy, the woman who was on the receiving end of the hourglass figure comment in your article below.  It was really fascinating how – through your guidance – CJ made amends and we ended up dating.

In fact it turned into a full blown relationship that lasted about a year!  We ended things on good terms and still keep in touch. He turned out to be a delightful guy. You have to admire his resilience after taking one on the chin. Thank goodness he didn’t quit women after that episode! 😉

How NOT To Return a Compliment

Here’s the original email from CJ. We thought his request for advice and our answer was worthy of posting since many men face similar dilemmas:

Dear Celeste & Danielle,
My name is CJ, and while googling for advice I discovered your blog.

I met a really attractive and intelligent woman at a party a few weeks ago.  It was a public event at an art gallery.  She was an associate professor in her mid-thirties. We had been talking for about a half hour and really seemed to be hitting it off. We had even made tentative plans to meet for coffee sometime.

Then, things suddenly went downhill. I commented that she had a “really nice hourglass figure”, which  I thought she would take it as a compliment. But instead, she became deeply offended.  I went into damage control mode and tried to clarify my comments,  but I think I only exacerbated things.  She told me I was being “inappropriate” and with a look of complete disgust – WHAP! – she slapped my face and departed.

As I stood there alone rubbing my cheek, I was trying to figure out why she was so upset.  It seemed like a harmless comment to me  – but maybe I don’t understand women as well I should. 

Do you think I should send her an apology note? Or should I interpret the slap in the face as a definitive way of saying she wants no further contact?


how to receive a compliment

Two Ways To Give A Compliment

Dear CJ,

First, I’d like to say that nothing you did warrants a slap in the face. And nothing should ever warrant that act – unless you were threatening, or incredibly and purposefully rude. Which it sounds like you definitely were not.

There are really two ways to give a compliment:
1. From a confident, embodied place.
2. From a place of scarcity and worship.

While worship may seem like an admirable quality, putting a woman above you is not healthy for either you or her. (Embodiment, confidence, scarcity and putting women on a pedestal is something we get into in more detail in our workshops and individual sessions). 

Here’s a way though to translate a compliment from “You’ve got a great hourglass figure” into something not entirely about her – but more about your feelings about her: “I’m really enjoying talking to you.” 

There’s a huge difference in these two statements: The former is just an objectification of her. Which – as you discovered first-hand – didn’t resonate with her. The latter is not up for argument – it is how you feel. She can choose to acknowledge your feelings or not. But they’re still yours. 

When you sense a woman is getting upset with you, that’s generally not the best time to go into lengthy explanations or defenses. Rather, take a deep breath, relax, listen and explore what she feels went wrong.

We have what we like to think of as our patented process for dealing with a woman when she’s emotional. We teach this in our workshops and have written about at length in our book “Cockfidence”. It is highly unlikely that, if you use this process, you will ever get another slap in the face.

This is part of our work –  helping you discover, acknowledge, and communicate your feelings. And also hers. So you can have the best connection with women and with everyone in your life who matters.

If you would like to do some coaching on how to meet, seduce, and stay more connected with women while feeling confident and powerful, we offer phone and in person sessions.

With Pleasure,

Celeste and Danielle

But wait… THERE’S MORE…

Cindy had a few more thoughts to add to the story…

One interesting little anecdote: he said he actually had a woman approach him, ask if he was ok and even flirt with him a bit following the slap.  Not sure what the psychological explanation would be there. All I can think of is she thought he was a “bad boy” perhaps…


He even went on a date with her, but still came back to me.  So “gal that slapped him” was preferable to the “gal that comforted him”.  And they say women are confusing. Ha!

People never cease to amaze us. Thank you so much Cindy for the update!

Comments (7)

It sounds like CJ did something worse than make a compliment about her figure- why would a woman slap a man in the face for that?

He deserved it. Hands down. He came at her at a superficial level not at all how she would ever want to be approached. She needs friendship, talk, and aloofness.

Hi Brad – It is possible the CJ was lying, that he said something abusive or pinched her, etc, in which case a better option would be to have him kicked out of the bar. But, let’s assume that he was just trying to flirt. Unfortunately, it happens, women do slap men. Sadly, women have so little license to enjoy their sexuality and take a compliment as it was likely intended (a show of attraction and appreciation), that they might lash out. If she didn’t want a compliment from him or wasn’t attracted we think a simple, “I’m not interested” would have sufficed.

Dear Daniel,

When people do something you don’t like, do you hit them? Our take on violence is that violence only begets violence. Would you feel the same way if it was a man that hit a woman? While CJ’s slapper might not have liked the way that he complimented her, it could have been a great opportunity for her to tell him that, explain why it offended her, or just take care of herself and walk away. We feel he would have gotten the same message without any beating – maybe even a better message, as he could have learned from her and not needed to look elsewhere for answers.
But we also really want to address the comment about friendship, talk and aloofness — we do not feel that is exactly the formula, we suggest presence, connection and attraction.

With pleasure,

Celeste and Danielle

I, myself, recently said something to a wonderful woman that might have had a bad context if misinterpreted; I regretted having said it immediately, upon reviewing my conversation with her…but not in time to address it with her while we were engaged. I don’t think she took it negatively…I almost wished she had reacted in some way to let me know. But I would have been extremely upset if she had slapped me.

Could CJ have made some inappropriate glance at her and she reacted instinctively to his body language?? Sounds like she overreacted, in any case. But life’s lessons are sometime earned at a price. Peace.

Aha! When I saw that title I just had to comment. I had a similar experience but my offense was far greater than an inappropriate comment. We were both in our mid-20’s, both in graduate school at the time, and after a terrific first date where everything seemed to click (she was giving me all the right signals), I walked her back to her apartment and decided to plant a deep, passionate kiss on her. I assumed too much, and once she had a moment or two to think about it, SMACK!, a got hearty slap across the face and before I could offer an apology she slammed the door shut. Same image as depicted in story above — guy standing alone, holding his cheek, feeling like he totally struck out. I sent her an apology letter, along with flowers, and eventually got back in her good graces and we ended up having an incredible relationship. Here’s the kicker — a few months later, she confessed that she enjoyed every second of that kiss! Guess she didnt want me to think she was “easy”. The moral of the story? Not really sure. LOL Maybe you have some thoughts.

Celeste & Danielle

the moral of this story is that sadly, much of what women filter their experiences through is “does this make me easy/a slut/wrong?” rather than “am I enjoying this?” When we listen to our bodies, and what gives us pleasure, we can follow that – even if it’s a few months later! (but better to do it in the moment, it might save some slapping – or worse – dissociated sexual experiences that are NOT pleasurable!)

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