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Man on a date with a woman, hugging her and whispering a compliment into her ear. Woman holds a coffee cup and smiles.


Great compliments require the right tone … at the right time

Penelope James   |   Fri, 17 May 2024

Compliments are a powerful tool in the dating world, capable of sparking attraction and building connections. However, the type and timing of compliments can make all the difference. "Too much, too soon" can be awkward, while "too little, too late" can leave someone feeling unappreciated.

So, how do you strike the perfect balance?

Let’s explore how to navigate compliments through different stages of dating and relationships, including those that start here on Couple. 🥰

Compliments in different stages of dating

A key compliment caveat is that it's important to tailor your compliments to the stage of the relationship. Simple, everyday acknowledgments can brighten your date's day and strengthen your connection at all stages of your relationship, likely without overwhelming someone.

Bigger compliments should be given thoughtfully and at the right moment. For instance, telling your partner that they mean the world to you or that you can’t imagine your life without them can be incredibly meaningful, but if said too early in the relationship, they may come off as more ominous than awe-inspiring. Save these for moments when they genuinely reflect your feelings and the depth of your relationship.

Curious about how this looks in practice? We got you. 👊

Initial speed date

On a Couple speed date, first impressions matter. Keep compliments light and genuine. A simple "I like your smile" or "I think you have a great sense of humor" can make a positive impact that’s neither overwhelming nor presumptuous. These small, genuine compliments show that you’re attentive and interested without crossing into awkward territory. Get overly specific or too effusive in your praise, and you run the risk of a premature "Cut."

Post-date DMing

When chatting over text, it's important to balance compliments with meaningful conversation. Compliments like "you have a really interesting perspective on things" or "I enjoy our conversations" can keep things positive and engaging. Again, avoid overly intense compliments that may seem premature, such as "I think you’re perfect" or "I’ve never met anyone like you." That's more "red flag" than flattering to most people at this stage of dating.

First in-person date

During the first in-person date, compliments should show attentiveness and interest. Notice details and comment on them. "You chose a great place for this date" or "I dig how passionate you are about your hobbies" are impactful and appropriate compliments. They demonstrate that you’re paying attention and appreciating the effort put into the date. But be mindful of not overloading your date with flattery, which can make the interaction feel insincere at best and downright creepy at worst.

In a relationship

As your relationship progresses, compliments can deepen and become more meaningful. Complimenting qualities like "I admire how patient you are" or "you always know how to make me laugh" reinforces the bond and shows appreciation for your partner's character. The frequency and depth of compliments may increase, but they should always feel genuine and specific to the person.

Practical tips for giving great compliments

Tone and timing aren't the only things to consider when complimenting someone ... substance is also key. (It's easy to fake flattery, but it's also often easy to detect it!) Here's a quick list of tips to gut-check whether you're giving good compliments.

Be genuine and specific

Authenticity is key. Make sure your compliments are sincere and specific to the person you’re with.

Focus on qualities and actions

Compliments that highlight someone's qualities or actions, rather than just their appearance, tend to be more impactful and appreciated.

Take into account timing and context

Pay attention to the timing and context of your compliments. A well-timed compliment can make a significant impact, while one that feels out of place may fall flat.

Listen and observe

Take the time to listen and observe before complimenting. This ensures your compliments are relevant and meaningful.

Bottom line?

At the end of the day, compliments are a simple yet powerful way to build and strengthen connections in dating and relationships. The key is to strike the right balance between tone, type, timing, and substance. It might take a little practice to get it right, but if you stay mindful and respect the process, you’ll find it becomes more and more natural to discern what is and isn’t the right way to compliment your crush.


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