World Compliment Day: Your Starter Kit

Written by Mikhael Sianturi, Content Writer Intern at Project Child Indonesia.

World Compliment Day?

World Compliment Day. It is the day of complimenting your coworker’s work, your colleague’s proposal, your lover’s looks, or even your pets for being the good boys or girls they are! Hans Poortvliet began the idea in the Netherlands back in the 2000s and it was an instant success due to its participants, which saw no boundary. Anyone could participate because to do so only meant giving someone a compliment. With the success, the day eventually became international. 

However, it is no secret that giving compliments is tricky for some people around the world due to the obstacles. These obstacles mainly originate from the anxiety that people feel when thinking about complimenting something from someone. Compliments are not always welcomed nicely, and this is what people are mostly anxious about. According to Hammond-Chaffin, Willis, Murley, and Inman, one may welcome a compliment or mitigate it by either deflecting it, questioning it, or downgrading it. They may also request further explanation regarding the compliment, give no response, or worse, reject it (Hammond-Chaffin et al, 2017, p. 3-4). 

Complimenting Starter Kit

It does sound like the odds of a welcomed compliment being welcomed are rare. But people should stop worrying about them! According to a study on where a survey about people’s feelings to compliments given to them, the recipient overall felt positive. The study points out that the positivity of the recipient was underestimated. It also pointed out that the prediction to how bothered the recipient the researchers thought they were going to be was drastically overestimated. 

So, now that it is clear that the reality is not so harsh, what kind of compliment should you convey? In general, there are two types: impersonal compliments and personal compliments. Impersonal compliments are those about something that may change on the person, such as the attire. The personal ones are those that generally do not change, such as the eyes or the hair (Hammond-Chaffin et al, 2017, p. 6). According to a survey conducted by Hammond-Chaffin, Willis, Murley, and Inman, either type will receive the same response, so it does not matter.

They used the 2 x 2 between-subjects analysis of variance (ANOVA) that had gender (male vs. female) and experimental condition (type of compliment-personal vs. impersonal) as the between-subjects factor. With this method, they found no drastic differences between the scores of how both sexes reacted to both types of compliments. So either your partner has dressed ever so nicely, or your coworker’s amazing punctuality, or your friend’s kind attitude, do send that compliment away. 

It is something a lot of people starve for, yet its existence is rarely recognized. It is much like how people starve for physical affection (read: hugs). Compliment someone for something nice about them and the person may smile for the entire day in a goofy manner. It would very much make the person’s day because #everyonecandogood.


Hammond-Chaffin, A., Willis, D., Murley, R., Inman, J. (2017). Null Effects of Compliments on Male and Female Positive Affect. University of Michigan-Flint.

Hobson, N. (2020, September 30). Underestimating the impact of compliments. Retrieved March 01, 2021, from