We all know that person, right? The one who throws out comments and questions, waiting for you to shower them with praise. It’s called fishing for compliments.
There is a fine line between genuine self-doubt and a calculated tendency toward flattery. The latter can often feel insincere and frustrating to the listener.
As someone who has been on both sides of the conversation, I have picked up on certain phrases that people often use when looking for a compliment.
Take a look at these nine sentences. If they pop up during a conversation, chances are someone is fishing for compliments.
1) “I’m no expert, but…”
We’ve all heard this one before, right? Someone starts a conversation by downplaying their knowledge or skills in a certain area.
The point is that this phrase often initiates an opinion or insight that the person fully believes in and has confidence in. They just add a little self-deprecating humor to make it seem like they’re not bragging.
It’s a subtle way to fish for compliments. The hope is that you will jump in and reassure them of their expertise or skills.
Notice this sentence. If it comes up in your conversations, you may be dealing with a compliment fisher.
Remember: there is nothing wrong with giving compliments. But it is always better if they are sincere and not motivated by these types of tactics.
2) “I really messed up this time…”
Okay, let me share a personal example here. A while ago a friend of mine made a mistake at work. Nothing serious, but she did piss herself off about it.
She kept saying, “I really messed up this time…”. And every time she said it, I found myself reassuring her that it wasn’t that bad and that everyone made mistakes.
Then I realized she was fishing for compliments. By focusing on her mistake and exaggerating its impact, she encouraged me to combat her negativity with positive affirmations.
The next time you hear someone constantly emphasizing their own mistakes or failures, he or she may be looking for compliments. It’s a common tactic that you should be aware of.
3) “I never get anything right…”
When someone consistently emphasizes their shortcomings or failures, it can often be a cry for reassurance. This self-mockery is a classic example.
The speaker usually does not seek confirmation of his perceived incompetence. Instead, they hope the listener will contradict them, giving their self-esteem a much-needed boost.
Even according to psychology studies. People with low self-esteem often use fishing for compliments as a coping mechanism. They seek external validation as a way to combat their internal self-doubt.
someone drops this line when you consider that the person may be fishing for compliments, and may also be dealing with deeper self-esteem issues.
4) “I look terrible today…”
This phrase is a classic in the world of compliment fishing. It is often casually brought into conversation, almost as if it were an afterthought.
But here’s the catch: it’s usually said by someone who knows he or she looks pretty good that day. They’re just hoping you’ll jump in and reassure them that they look great.
When you hear this phrase, it’s a pretty clear sign that someone is fishing for compliments. So go ahead and give them one if you feel like it. But remember, it’s also okay to just let the comment pass.
5) “I can’t do anything right…”
Ever been in a conversation where the other person kept undermining their own capabilities? They might say something like, “I can’t do anything right…” or “I always mess up everything…”.
Often this is not a sign of true self-doubt. Instead, it’s a subtle way to prompt you to contradict them and say kind words.
It’s another phrase people often use when fishing for compliments. So the next time you hear it, keep in mind that the person may just be looking for a confidence boost.
6) “I don’t think anyone likes me…”
This is one of those sentences that can really touch your heart. When someone says, “I don’t think anyone likes me…” it can be hard not to step in and reassure them of their liking.
But it’s also an expression people often use when fishing for compliments. They hope you will contradict them and tell them how much you and others appreciate them.
Remember, it’s always good to spread positivity and make people feel appreciated. But it’s also important to recognize when someone is looking for compliments rather than expressing genuine feelings of loneliness or rejection.
7) “I’m probably the last person you want to hang out with…”
A few years ago I had a friend who said this all the time. It was always said in a joking manner, but after a while I started to see a pattern. Every time he said it, he expected me to contradict him and reassure him of his worth as a friend.
It’s another phrase that could indicate someone is fishing for compliments. They put themselves down, hoping that you can help them get back up with your reassuring words.
If you hear this phrase often, know that the speaker may simply be looking for confirmation or assurance of his worth.
8) “I’m sure you’re just saying that to be nice…”
This one is a bit tricky. It is a sentence that seems modest or humble self-effacing but it is often used when someone is fishing for compliments.
The person is essentially questioning the sincerity of your compliment, hoping that you will acknowledge it and perhaps even add a few kind words.
So, the next time someone responds to your compliment with this phrase, keep in mind that they may be fishing for a little more praise.
9) “I guess I’m just not cut out for this…”
This is often a big red flag. When someone says, “I don’t think I’m cut out for this…” they’re usually hoping you’ll contradict them and assure them of their abilities.
Please note that it is real Self-doubt can be a serious problem and it is important to support those who are struggling. But it’s also good to recognize when someone is fishing for compliments so that you can respond in a way that is both sincere and supportive.
Final thoughts: It’s about empathy
Understanding human behavior is a complex task, and it often comes down to empathy.
When it comes to fishing for compliments, it’s important to remember that we all seek validation and reassurance in different ways. Some may use self-deprecation or express doubt about their abilities as a way to seek validation from others.
While these phrases are sometimes manipulative, they can also be a sign of underlying insecurities or low self-esteem. They serve as a reminder that everyone needs a little boost every now and then.
At the end of the day, we’re all just trying to find our way in this complicated thing called life.
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