How to Increase Your Compliment to Criticism Ratio


I’ve got a confession to make. I’m much, much quicker to criticize than to compliment. Unfortunately, when I see something or hear something, I usually start with what’s wrong with it rather than what’s right with it. For example, when someone shows me the newly designed Twitter page at work, instead of seeing the awesome artwork, my eye will detect the typo. When my wife, Susan, is excited about the piece of furniture she just painted, I’ll see the missed spot, instead of noticing the beautiful job she did. So, with that confession as a backdrop, here are some things for those like me to consider as you work to increase your compliment to criticism ratio.

  • Put a reminder on your outlook calendar each day or every couple of days reminding yourself to verbally compliment your wife, your child, or your friend. Yes, I’m serious…some of us need to be reminded to give compliments.
  • Write a short hand-written note complimenting your spouse on their hard work for your family and put it in your spouse’s suitcase when they leave for a trip.
  • Text your teen and let them know how impressed you are by something they said or did.
  • Slip a note in your child’s lunch box complimenting them on the awesome science project they just completed.

Once you start complimenting others on a consistent basis, who knows, it may even become a habit. Mark Twain reminded us of the power of a compliment when he said, “I can live for two months on a good compliment.”


What is the most meaningful compliment you ever received? Please share it with me in the comments section below.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.