20 Compliments that aren’t based on appearance.

“There’s lasting damage to be had when we constantly compliment someone on their appearance while ignoring their other attributes.”

A variety of compliments to suit everyone & why compliments shouldn’t be solely appearance based.

How good do you feel when you receive compliments? Sure, it might be awkward at first, but it usually ends with a sense of flattery. But did you know that getting a sincere compliment has the same effect on our mood and mindset as physical rewards such as money? And much like kindness, the compliment giver also receives a health boost of serotonin. It’s a two-way street, really. You give a compliment to improve someone else’s happiness, and you also improve your own.

Compliments are a free, quick, and easy way of making someone’s day a little brighter. But have you ever noticed how appearance-based the majority of them are?

“You look great! Have you lost weight?”

People are all too quick to comment on someone’s body, looks, and general overall appearance. But how often do we take the time to tell someone just how much we appreciate them for their hard work, perseverance, friendship, etc? What about the things they’re good at? Or the things they work hard for? Maybe even the way they treat others?

I don’t love my husband or my best friend because they look good in a pair of jeans. Instead, it’s for their big hearts, their sense of humour, and the strength they exhibit in the face of adversity.

Image from Andres Ayrton

The problem with appearance-based compliments.

By giving people compliments based on appearance, looks, weight, etc we reinforce the idea that we’re only as good as our physical attributes. And if you really think about it giving someone compliments based solely on an unimportant part of who they are can be a bit insulting. It suggests that there is nothing more to that person than their appearance when, in fact, they have one hundred other wonderful traits just waiting to be complimented. Those are the parts of a person that really matter. In reality, our importance and significance neither start nor ends with our appearance. Instead, it lies in how we treat others, how we speak to ourselves, and so much more.

“There’s lasting damage to be had when we constantly compliment someone on their appearance while ignoring their other attributes.”

If a young person constantly has their appearance focused on as their main contribution to the world, it can damage their confidence in other areas of their life. By constantly ignoring their intelligence or compassion for their appearance, we reinforce the thought that nothing else matters as long as you look good. It doesn’t matter that you’re a great listener or mathematician so long as your makeup is flawless and your waist is thin.

All you have to do is look to Instagram to see what I mean. The difference between the likes on images of beautiful, white, and thin women is striking compared to posts that try to teach us something. I’ve seen it myself on my own social media. The posts that have the most engagement are those of me in a bikini or wearing makeup. Even though my posts always try to have some sort of meaning behind them such as coping with body image or breaking down myths about body size in eating disorders, I doubt many read the caption and only see the image heading it.

“If I try harder or wear more makeup, then I’ll be pretty enough.”

We should never feel like we need to change ourselves or how we dress, appear, etc in order to gain approval. Nor should we feel like approval is there to be gained by strangers in the first place. But due to the social media culture that we’ve created, it’s all we’re seeing.

Therefore it’s important to focus on the other beautiful attributes that make you the person that you are. Concentrate on your intelligence, your compassion, your ability to be a good listener, and your kindness. By giving alternative compliments to yourself and others we can help kickstart the conversation around non-appearance-based compliments and encourage young people to look toward the other parts of themselves that really matter.

20 Ways to compliment someone without mentioning weight or appearance.

  1. “You are so much fun!”
  2. “You’re really good at…”
  3. “You look so happy.” Telling someone that they look happier is, in my opinion, fine, it might even be more flattering than complimenting someone on their weight loss.
  4. “You really inspire me to do” or “because…”
  5. “I really appreciate you as a friend.”
  6. “You’re great to talk to because you take the time to listen to me.”
  7. “I always value your opinion.”
  8. “I’m really lucky to know you.”
  9. “I love how confident you are.”
  10. “I love being around you.”
  11. “I am so proud of you.”
  12. “You’re so kind.”
  13. “You always make me laugh.”
  14. “You’re a great person to depend on.”
  15. “You bring out the best in me.”
  16. “I always look forward to seeing you.”
  17. “You make me feel at ease.”
  18. “I can always count on you for motivation.”
  19. “You make me feel less alone.”
  20. “You’re such a strong person.”

Have you any other ideas for compliments not based on appearance?

20 compliments not based on appearance


  1. I appreciate the unique and thoughtful compliments you provided that can make a real difference in someone’s day. Well done on sharing such valuable content!

  2. I feel like compliments based on appearances are very superficial and make a person seem shallow. If you really want to an uplifting comment, it should be about the person’s positive qualities – like the ones you have listed.

  3. Hhhmmm…I don’t specifically have any other. I love the one that talks about keeping someone at ease. I love being around people who make me feel this way.

  4. I love this post. I sometimes struggle knowing what to say to people and these are great suggestions for how to compliment.

    I am always conscious I shouldn’t focus on a certain physical aspect, because I know nothing about the person’s circumstances. Thanks for talking about this issue.

  5. I loved this!

    I am a compliment queen as I know they can make such a big difference. I love telling people positive things whether it’s how they make me feel, how strong they are, their sense of humour, or even their sense of fashion because being told someone likes my cute dress that I also think is cute makes me smile ????

  6. YES YES YES to this post!! I think it’s so important that we boost each other up in other ways to our appearance as what we look like is the least interesting thing about us x

  7. Excellent post! Appearance-based comments are not the one, that’s for sure. I love these alternative comments, I’ll definitely be saving this 🙂

  8. This is really important. Even though my girlfriend is so beautiful to my eyes as always I always tell her that she is amazing because all she do and not how she looks like.

  9. I love your list! And all the points that you have made. These are the compliments that matter more than the usual superficial things that we hear from the people around us.

  10. I love these so much!! We just lost a friend to suicide this week, it reminded me how precious life is and to be kind to everyone!

  11. Great tips! Thanks for sharing these compliment ideas. It’s important to compliment others on their personality and not just appearance.

  12. Nowadays, you have to be especially careful about using appearance- based compliments in the workplace. Some people will twist your compliment into something suggestive, which can get you in trouble.

  13. I absolutely love this. I have always hated compliments like “you’re so pretty” or things of that nature. They feel so shallow.

  14. This is a lovely post. Thanks for reminding me about using different types of compliments. I try to do that but this is a great reminder!

  15. These are all great compliment suggestions. You really don’t want to compliment someone on something as shallow as simply their looks.

  16. These are awesome ideas. It’s so important that we compliment people on their core rather than just their wrapper.

  17. This is so important! Compliments that aren’t about your looks have so much more value!

  18. I love these kind of compliments! Personally, I try to avoid appearance-based compliments as much as I can since it feels superficial.

  19. I really like the one about letting your friends know that you are really lucky to know them. That is a great way to let someone know that they are loved and appreciated.

  20. Oh this list of non appearance based compliments is amazing. I also like to give compliments to brighten someones day. If it is a personal friend these are great compliments to give but if you see someone on the street it is nice to give an appearance compliment to brighten their day (even if its about a piece of clothing or their hairstyle).

  21. Love this idea of non appearance based compliments. I have been trying to be aware of this especially when complimenting my daughters. Thanks for the list!

  22. Non physical compliments are really great. It makes me feel beautiful in different ways.

  23. This was a very interesting read. It’s a shame most people compliment on appearance although I do know people that see past that and complement on more important things. Love your suggestions!

  24. I love these compliments, I try to give them out as much as possible, Usually opting for anything non-appearance based because I know how much more they mean to me when I receive them.

    I am going to make a real effort to use all of these x

  25. You’re so thoughtful. I always prefer to compliment people about their nature mostly. This list made it easier for me.
    Thanks for such an article

  26. These are such great suggestions!

    I love these ☺️ I used to always struggle to give compliments especially as a lot of people assume that they have to be just about someone’s appearance, but when it’s not then they’re so much more meaningful!

    Love Lozza x

  27. Love the advice on giving compliments that does not involve their physical looks. I love it when people compliment me on what I can do, not how I look – great job!

  28. Yes I like your list of 20 compliments. yes it shouldn’t be based on the shape of the body.

  29. Love all of these, so important to tell people what we like about them and help them feel better about themselves. Good way to motivate people

  30. These words are really nice to hear and will definitely make the one hearing these feel good abouth themselves.

  31. These are all so wonderful. I think it’s great to give compliments. I try to do this as often as possible.

  32. All these compliments are really good, they are indeed good to hear and compliments always makes a person feel better!

  33. I believe in the saying, “people won’t remember what you do, they will remember how you made them feel.” It is so true. I try to always treat people like I would like to be treated and compliments are another form of love language.

  34. Oh, yes! I don’t just genuinely compliment people based on their appearance. I do tell people when they’re kind or sweet or when I am proud of them, etc.

  35. that is a great list. and I agree: ‘you look happy’ s not about actual looks, it’s inside

  36. These are great compliments to leave someone without commenting on appearance. I can’t love this post enough!

  37. This is so valuable. I try to give my children compliments that are not focused on appearance because so much emphasis is placed on looks rather than abilities.

  38. I love this list. I always tried to compliment my daughter on all of her good qualities, not just her appearance.

  39. This is awesome! We are all so much more than physical appearance and it’s nice when other people take a moment to acknowledge that.

  40. I think these are great examples of compliments that build others up. I often tell people they look so happy. It thrills them to realize I’ve noticed.

  41. I love this! These are all great examples of compliments that have nothing to do with your looks. I have a grandma who comments on my weight every single time I see her, and my kids have even picked up on it. The thing is she either says I need to lose weight or I need to gain weight. Apparently I’ve never been just right. It’s hard not to feel judged when you know the comments are coming when you walk in the door.

  42. I love this post a LOT. My boyfriend said he was proud of how far I’ve come the other day and honestly it was the best compliment I’ve ever had from him. I have a huge self esteem problem regarding how I look etc so appearance based compliments are a bit hit and miss for me. I just don’t know how to respond to them because not a single part of me believes it to be true.

  43. These are great compliments. I guess we are used to compliments based on appearance and this was the normal when we were children, and that’s how we were brought up. But things are changing, and we need to be more considerate when compliment someone, even if we are very well intended.

  44. I love these. I always try to compliment things that aren’t appearance based. I tell my kids they are smart and funny often.

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