Giving compliments makes us anxious, but new research shows that praising people has huge benefits -- for both parties. “Compliments are the easiest way to make other people -- and, as a result, ourselves -- feel better,” said Nicholas Epley, a professor of behavioral science at the University of Chicago. “But when a kind thought comes to mind, people often don’t say it.” Yet, three new studies on the psychology of compliment giving and receiving suggest that our fears about the ways our praise will be received are completely unfounded. And by letting go of that awkwardness, we could all enjoy better relationships with our friends, family members and colleagues. A tip from Vanessa Bohns about giving compliments is: Stick to giving compliments that really convey someone’s social value, like what a great job they did in making a presentation or how they handled a difficult client.

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