I think one of the best ways to start this conversation is by pointing out what NOT to do. Please read this post for an illustration of the wrong way to give a compliment. Ok men, now that you know what NOT to do, you're probably wondering what the heck you should do instead. You may be thinking "what's wrong with telling a girl her necklace is interesting??!" Well, my romance-challenged friends, there is nothing wrong with saying that to a girl. But it won't woo her and it probably won't even make her feel all that special or even encouraged. So here's my list of pointers for how to say something nice to a girl.*
- Use "Pretty" Words - "Your dress is pretty." "Your new hair cut is really nice." "The cookies you made are delicious." This seems like a simple concept, but I think it's lost on a lot of men. Words like "interesting," "cool," and "awesome" all have their place in conversation. But they are guy words when it comes to compliments. Girls feel much more appreciated and special when you use pretty words.
- Be Sincere - Mean what you say and say what you mean. Girls can tell when you're just using a line.
- Be Specific - Women appreciate it when you notice the details. Some of the best compliments go beyond the obvious. Every woman loves to hear that she is beautiful. But it is even greater to hear specifically WHY you think she is beautiful. Examples: "LJ, I love how green your eyes are." "Your smile is beautiful." "It was really great to see the way you helped at XYZ event. I was impressed by how compassionate you are."
- Move On - Make the compliment, let her respond, and then move on to other topics. It tends to make girls feel a teeny bit creeped out when a guy says something like "I really like your dress" and then just stands there looking at her in the dress. Or if you say "Wow, I love it when you fix your hair that way" and then stare at her hair...well you get the idea. All I'm saying is don't get bogged down in the compliment and stay there. Keep the conversation moving.
OH! One more thought...Men, please be aware that we girls realize sometimes you get tongue-tied. It's ok if you don't get every compliment just right. In fact, it can even be endearing to see you bumble and fumble your way through a compliment. But we do like to hear nice things and be appreciated, so I offer my list for your perusal and insight. That's why I call these "guidelines" and not "rules."
*Note: It's ok to compliment a girl, even if you're not trying to woo her. Kind words don't have to equal flirting.