"Don't be humble...you're not that great"
Accepting compliments graciously can be hard sometimes. Accept one too readily and people will think you're overconfident. They might even resent you if they think you take compliments too nonchalantly. At the other end of the spectrum, there are people who can't seem to deal with a compliment at all.
A: Oh, what nice cuticles you have!I think the best way to accept a compliment is to smile and say a sincere "thank you." Period. If you have something good to say about the person you're talking to at the moment, by all means say it. But don't pay someone a compliment if you don't mean it, if you're just going to do it for the sake of returning the "favor."
B: What, you mean these? No, not really. I just chewed on them a lot today; that's why they look all neat and even.
A: I was referring to the cuticles on your toes.
B. Oh. (long silence) Thank you.
What does one do, however, when dealt with a left-handed compliment? You know, when somebody tells you something good and then follows up quickly (usually within the next breath) with a related comment that either makes you feel bad, or at least makes you stop feeling good about the compliment paid a nanosecond earlier. Should you say "thank you" anyway? Should you indulge in a fit of petty spite, lower yourself to that person's level, and pay him/her a left-handed compliment of your own? Did that person intend for the compliment to be left-handed in the first place? Ahh, the complexities of interpersonal communication sometimes.
I was watching a quiz show many, many years ago (I forget if it was Jeopardy! or Family Feud) with a schoolmate. Like Inamini, my mind holds a lot of useless fluff (read: trivia), which is only good for being an armchair contestant and imagining the money I might have won if I'd joined those damn quiz shows.
The quiz host asked the contestant to name at least three of Henry VIII's wives. And I, being a bit of a history buff, named all six of them (okay, okay, I was showing off a bit, I admit). And this schoolmate of mine says something like "Wow, you're a smart cookie." And then, faster than the speed of light, follows up with "But this show is a rerun." The implication, of course, being that I knew the answer only because I must've seen that particular episode before.
I don't remember what I said to that, or even if I said anything at all. I do know that the next person who pays me a left-handed compliment will get left- and right-hand-slapped back.