Women are less likely to accept a compliment than men, study finds

4 October 2019, 11:33 | Updated: 4 October 2019, 17:11

Naomi Bartram

By Naomi Bartram

A study has shown British women are incapable of taking compliments, while men are more likely to accept praise.

New research - carried out by YouGov on behalf of fashion retailer JD Williams - questioned over 2,000 people and found that almost two thirds of women get embarrassed when someone flatters them.

Meanwhile, 52% of women reject compliments altogether, as opposed to just 37% of men.

Feeling ‘embarrassment’ was given as the main reason for not being able to accept praise (61%), followed by not wanting to draw attention to themselves (55%), feeling uncomfortable (47%), or thinking it wasn’t sincere (38%).

And it turns out, older women are better at taking compliments, with one in two women over 40 struggling with flattery in comparison to seven in ten women under 40.

Women are not good at taking compliments
Women are not good at taking compliments. Picture: Getty Images

Apparently, it also depends on who is offering up the compliment, with women four times more likely to regard a positive comment made by someone of the same sex as genuine, as opposed to one given by a man.

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Eight out of ten women (82%) also feel compliments given by friends are the most genuine, followed by family (69 per cent), partners (56 per cent), work colleagues (52 per cent), strangers (40 per cent) and children (36 per cent).

When it comes to the types of praise we like, telling someone they look happy is actually the best received, while commenting on intellect or youthfulness will also get you in someone’s good books.

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Surprisingly, complimenting someone on their weight loss will make them feel the most awkward, while praising their other half or children isn’t favoured either.

On the contrary, men are better at taking compliments, with one in seven believing they are attractive compared with one in 30 women.

Shockingly, almost two thirds of women worry about how they appear to other people and struggle with their body image, and most would describe themselves as ‘average’ (45%).

The research was published alongside a short film created by JD Williams.

In one clip, former TV Gladiator Jenny Stoute, 54, says women need to learn to take a compliment as she says: “We just have to try and say, 'yeah, I do look good – that's OK – thank you very much!”

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