Why Are we All So Bad at Taking Compliments?

Top UK lifestyle bloggers, Bumpkin BettyHow well do you take a compliment?

If you’re anything like me, probably not that well at all. Us Brits have a bit of a habit of being excruciatingly self deprecating don’t we? In fact, if you’re not that way, we’re kind of all shocked and probably leave the party thinking ‘wow that girl was a bit full of herself wasn’t she?’.

I always remember being in New York a couple of years back and while getting my then boyfriend/now husband to snap an #ootd for me in my new bright pink chunky knit cardigan which I was rather taken by, a complete stranger walked past us and shouted ‘Hey girl, that sweater is amazing, you look fierce’ in that wonderfully US accent that makes the word fierce sound a million times better than we Brits are ever capable of. I was so taken aback by the exchange (which would never happen in the UK) I kind of just stared at her for a moment in shock before muttering a pathetic thank you that was more of a question than anything else. Was she being serious or was she mocking me? The giant grin on her face ensured me it was the former but I realised there and then that I was entirely unable to accept a compliment.

Whenever GB tells me I’m beautiful, I reply with ‘Only to you’ which granted, has now become a bit of a running joke, but really is a pretty terrible response to your husband telling you you look great.

If someone – friend. colleague, stranger – tells me they love what I’m wearing I usually respond with one of two phrases;

‘What this old thing? I just pulled it out of the back of the wardrobe this morning because I didn’t have anything decent to wear’

or…

‘Really? Gosh it was a total bargain, I picked it up in the ASOS sale for a tenner!’

If someone tells me I’m looking great I’ll respond with something along the lines of;

‘Are you joking? I haven’t been to the gym in months and last night I ate an entire Dominos to myself!’

And if someone compliments any part of me from skin to hair to figure, I’ll make sure I find the one fault within that area and bring it up;

From ‘Have you not seem this giant spot on my nose?’ to ‘I only dyed it this colour because I found a grey hair’ and ‘I’m wearing spanx under this don’t be fooled’.

The one thing I rarely ever find myself saying, is simply, thank you.

George at Asda body confidence survey, Bumpkin BettyTop UK lifestyle bloggers, Bumpkin BettyUk fashion bloggers, Bumpkin Betty
Dress and Bag – c/o George at Asda | Sandals – Asos (old) | Sunglasses – Rayban | Watch – Larsson and Jennings

And it seems I’m not alone, as the folks at George at Asda have released a survey which suggests that 41% of women are unhappy with their body shape and only 13% of women find compliments about their body to be believable. That’s pretty crazy right? But also not that surprising. It seems that despite now living in an industry where sharing photos of ourselves and our outfits across social media daily is not only acceptable, it’s almost mandatory, despite being able to show your admiration for that person/outfit with the double tap of a button and despite promoting girl power and body confidence left right and centre, most women are still just as unsure about themselves behind the scenes.

I think the level of British politeness that is ingrained in us all has a big part to play of course (for some reason being truly confident and sure of yourself without any hang ups has become a nasty trait) – in the survey only 6% of people answered ‘confident’ when asked how they feel about themselves and their body shape! But also perhaps because we’re bombarded with a sea of visual inspiration everyday, inspiration from people at their best, showing off their best (we all do it) that we feel even more convinced that our best simply isn’t good enough. And those days where we’re cruising around the house in a pair of PJ’s and no make up aren’t the norm for every other person too.

George are on a bit of a mission to show women that actually, clothes, fashion and how we wear our garments can go a long way to giving us confidence, and that body shape or size within an item of clothing is far less important than how we all feel when wearing that item of clothing. I guess that resonated with me, as it’s something I’ve always personally championed. I’ve never been overly confident about the way I look or how my figure is, but clothes and fashion have always been my saviour. I love fashion and I love to dress up, and putting on something that makes me feel amazing is a sure fire way to boost my confidence, regardless of how I’m feeling about my body. And we all know the saying, but if you feel confident, you’ll look it too.

I’ve banged on about issues like why size of clothing means nothing at all, and why age shouldn’t affect how you dress in the past, and my advice is always the same – every women has the right to feel confident and feel beautiful and every women can. It doesn’t matter what you wear, it doesn’t matter how you wear it, it definitely doesn’t matter what size you wear it in or what other people think of you for wearing it. If it makes you happy then go for it, simple as that. Fashion, like any form of art is totally subjective so what one person loves another might hate. Finding your own style is the key, something I guess we’re all doing every day as we go along. Making mistakes is part of that, and there’s no doubt that we all have a few outfits in our closet that we wonder what on earth we were thinking, but that’s part of the fun right? Anyone who tries to tell you clothes aren’t important or don’t make a difference to your state of mind, level of confidence and life in general, is totally wrong (in my humble opinion).

They might not be THE most important factor in our lives and of course placing too much emphasis on finding a dress that doesn’t make your hips look too big when there are real issues going on in the world can feel a little #firstworldproblems, but I know myself that my well being, my outlook on life and my confidence are all affected by my choice of clothing on a daily basis. If I throw on a scruffy pair of jeans and a creased top then I feel scruffy (which is totally fine on days when I’m working from home you understand). It gives me the licence to then not brush my hair or put any make up on. Whereas if I put on a dress that makes me feel fabulous, I’ll be a lot more likely to also want to put on a bit of lippy and get out of the house.

George at Asda navy off shoulder dress, Bumpkin BettyTop Uk fashion and lifestyle blogs, Bumpkin bettyGeorge at Asda sundresses, Bumpkin BettyGeorge asked me to pick an outfit that I felt confident in, and I chose this cute navy off shoulder sundress. It’s a soft jersey fabric which is not only perfect for those warmer days (the very few that we have had so far grr) but it’s also really comfortable to wear and great for the days you want something flattering but still pretty. Seeing as I haven’t been to the gym a lot lately and have kind of abandoned any sort of regular exercise routine, I guess I’m a little less confident about areas like my stomach, hips and bottom (like every woman), so the fact that this dress manages to skim over those areas softly and allow me not to worry about them throughout the day, is ideal. Not to mention the elasticated waistband which nips you in in the right place no matter what. The off the shoulder look is really on trend right now, and shoulders are an area we can always show off without much worry, right? The fluted section which sits across the shoulders covers the tops of your arms (another area a lot of us aren’t confident about) and the hem length is above the knee yet not too mini so again flattering on all figures. Considering the price it’s a really great summer dress and comes in a few different colours too.

Gold metallic tote bag, Bumpkin BettyGeorge at Asda bag collection, Bumpkin BettyGold metallic tote bags, Bumpkin bettyI accessorised with this amazing gold metallic tote bag, which again for the price is unbelievable quality. I’ve been using it daily since I got it and as someone who is partial to very small bags and then is constantly cursing the fact that I need an extra bag to carry things like my camera, umbrella etc, this is a lifesaver. Everything fits inside and being in that dreamy gold shade it works to add a little magic to even a plain outfit. It’s been a welcome addition to the gang, that’s for sure.

Blow Dry Bars London, Bumpkin BettyDuck and Dry feather extensions, Bumpkin BettyI pulled my body confident look together by getting myself a cheeky blow dry at Duck and Dry and for something a little different I opted for their feather extensions (a service they are currently running to tie in with festival season). The feathers are natural and can be washed and styled as normal and they stay in until you’re done with them and want to take them out. Pretty cute huh?

Navy off the shoulder bardot dress, Bumpkin BettySo, I’m going to finish this post by saying that if you want to give me a compliment on this outfit, my feather hair or anything else, I promise I’ll try my best to be gracious and accept it (despite the fact that that pesky shoulder strap kept falling down in all of the photos).

How good are you at taking compliments?

Thanks to Fashionista Barbie for helping me with these photos (go check her out if you haven’t already!)


Post in collaboration with George at Asda but all words, styling and thoughts are my own.
Chloe - New Girl in Toon ·

You look gorgeous! And I always love your outfits, you have amazing style!

Accepting compliments is so hard, I always think that the person is taking the pee! So silly!! How did you cope with compliments on your wedding day?? That must’ve been so tough!

Chloe x

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Jaclyn ·

Aww thanks Chloe, that’s so kind of you! I know we’ve obviously bee trained to think that they can’t be serious, which is so silly! I actually can’t remember receiving any compliments on my wedding day – how strange is that? I’m sure I got some so either I just blanked them out or I did what I normally do and deflected them, who knows! I remember lots of people saying congrats and I remember someone telling me I was a great speaker after my speech (which was an awesome compliment) but other than that the day was a total blur haha! Let me know how you get on after your big day hey?

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Emma ·

Such a nice outfit, I love finding a clothing gem in Asda or Tesco as they’re always great value and usually really comfy.
I actually think I have a happy medium on the confidence front, I have enough of it to say thank you without getting flustered, but still have enough little doubts so I’m always pleasantly surprised by a compliment!

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Jaclyn ·

Hey Emma, so true – there is something really fun about finding a clothing gem during the weekly/monthly shop isn’t there? A happy medium is probably a great place to be – no one wants to be too far down either side!

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Eloise Wren ·

What a lovely post! You look beautiful (and don’t say, oh this old thing?) – I’m the same, so bad at taking a compliment from people I know, but if a stranger compliments me it actually really makes my day!
I’m going to make it my mission to compliment people more : )

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Jaclyn ·

THANK YOU Eloise – see what i did there? And you’re right, a compliment from a stranger feels great and I always think it feels good to give someone a compliment too so maybe we should all do it more often! Thanks for commenting!

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Linda ·

You DO look gorgeous! I think it’s partly that British thing of not getting above yourself and apologising all the time for being yourself! So don’t stop telling people they look great -I do it to complete strangers now. If I love the colour of someone’s coat or think they have fabulous hair, I let them know!

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Jaclyn ·

Thank you! Yes us Brits are really good at that aren’t we? Far too polite! Yes whenever I meet someone new I always like to start with a compliment, they say first impressions count after all!

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Sophie ·

THANK-YOU! Funnily enough I was talking about this with a friend and how difficult it is – especially for someone with chronic anxiety, compliments are slightly terrifying for me! But it’s something i’m consciously working on – simply saying “thank you” and not trying to undermine it. Ultimately it’s said with good intentions – people don’t say it for the sake of it!

Thank-you for this post. I always visit your blog as your writing style is so honest and REAL. Thank-you for being YOU!!

PS: please accept the last compliment with absolute truth, no self-doubts – you are amazing!

Bumble and Be

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Jaclyn ·

Oh Sophie, you comment has made my day so Thank YOU and I really mean it. It’s always so nice to hear that people actually read my posts and enjoy them as sometimes it can feel like you’re writing into a black hole, I’m always convinced the only person who reads is my Mum haha! Anyway it’s lovely to hear from you and thank you for telling me I’m amazing, I can’t lie, it’s given me all the Friday feels. I know exactly what you mean, I’m quite an anxious person too and get very flustered at the idea of anyone telling me I look good but you’re right, we should all work on both giving and receiving them, as after all we all have to help each other out in this life don’t we? Hope you keep stopping by! x

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Jaclyn ·

Yes George do have a great range, and so reasonably priced too! Great to have you here, thanks for reading! x

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Rachel ·

This is so true! I’m so awkward when someone compliments me. Idk why we can’t just accept it!

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Maria ·

Well, I have always thought you are gorgeous and this has just confirmed it! I always try and say thank you if I receive a compliment as otherwise it makes the other person feel awkward and unsure. I had never thought of this until one of my friends got cross and pointed it out to me, haha!

Maria xxx

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Thoughts?