The Art of the Surprise Compliment

This article was written by our Everly Mag Intern, ChloeGet to know Chloe and our other interns here!

Picture this: maybe you’re having a really awful day. You got up late, had to skip breakfast, and didn’t even have time to look cute this morning. You’re so hungry you can’t focus on anything except how long you have left until lunch, so maybe you even flunked that math quiz.

Then she shows up. You don’t know her very well, but she’s in a few of your classes. You think maybe her name’s Emily? Either way, she comes up to you in the hallway and says, “Your hair looks really good today! You should wear it down more often.”

She’s gotta be joking, you think, but no, she’s completely serious. And instantly your day is brighter! You even have a smile on your face as you cram pizza in your mouth at lunch. Out of the blue compliments can completely turn around someone’s day and stick with them for a long time.That is the power of the surprise compliment. Here’s how to harness that power!

Do it for them, not for you!

Be pure with your intentions of this mighty power. Don’t do it just because you want something from them. No matter how much you need the answers to the homework, a surprise compliment should happen because you genuinely want to compliment someone. This will make your compliments so much more sincere and powerful!

Be Specific

I get it. You’re not totally sold on surprise compliments. Maybe you think they’re totally creepy. And you’re right, they can be, especially from that guy in your English class that writes poems about you. However, when done right, you should be able to tell the difference between a skeezy comment and a genuine compliment. One way to make sure your compliment isn’t creepy, other than obviously only giving compliments to people who might want one from you, is to get specific. For example:

Instead of “You’re gorgeous!” say, “I love your lipstick today! Where did you get it?”

Don’t wait until they’re having an awful day

While turning someone’s awful day around it great, it’s best to also compliment people when they look like they’re having a great day. This way, they know that you don’t just dole out pity compliments. Also, if they’re not your best friend in the entire world, you might not even know if they’re having an awful day! Some people are great at hiding the difficult situations they go through. So even if you think you’re not surprise complimenting to turn someone’s day around, that might be exactly what you’re doing!

girls swing park two girls summer trees green
Image: bewakoof.com official via Unsplash

Don’t just compliment their looks

Complimenting someone’s looks can be great. It’s a good go to if you have no idea who the person is. However, if you know the person, or are even around them once in a while, now is your chance to get creative and compliment them on something else. A compliment on something different will probably stick with someone much longer, after they change their top and wipe off their makeup! Here’s some examples:

“That was a great point you made in class this morning! You’re so smart!”
“I love how bubbly you are! Seeing you always makes my day.”
“Your art is incredible! I love the colors you chose.”

Start a Conversation

One last tip for giving surprise compliments, use them to start a conversation. If you both have time, chatting for a bit will give you the chance to get to know someone new. Maybe you’ll even make a new friend! Doing this once in a while will also make people see you as a cool, friendly person.

So, there you have it!

The art of the surprise compliment! You’re now ready to go forth and spread positivity, maybe making a few friends along the way. Not only will you be making other people’s days, but seeing the look on their face will make you feel good about yourself!


What’s the best compliment you’ve ever gotten? Tweet the story @everlymag on Twitter to let us know!

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