Cautious About Compliments
For many years, it was hard for me to take a compliment. If someone said, “You have nice eyes” or, “You’re funny. I like spending time with you.” my gut reaction was to say something like, “Oh no, stop. You can’t be serious.” But after I developed a more mature sense of self-respect I learned to say “Thanks” and leave it at that. I don’t think about the motive behind the compliment, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t one.
When it comes to compliments, how do you know if someone is being sincere? Could they be flattering you in order to manipulate you into doing or giving them what they want? It’s not always easy to tell.
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The word “manipulation” has a negative connotation, but it simply means to change the circumstances of a situation in order to get a desired result. So someone could be complimenting you in order to sway you to their way of thinking or to disarm you or break down the barriers between the two of you. It’s manipulation, but it’s not always negative. They could just be trying to get to know you better. And who doesn’t like to be told they’re pretty, handsome, smart or funny? It’s nice to hear, especially when it’s a heartfelt compliment with no ulterior motive behind it.
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So how do you know if the person complimenting your is being sincere. Start by thinking about why someone would be complimenting you. Think about who they are and what their connection is to you. Are they your manager or do they report to you? Do they say the same compliments over and over again? Do they ask you for something right after they compliment you?
Some people compliment others, because they want a compliment in return. If they need a self-esteem boost, they may compliment you with the hope that you’ll say the same thing back to them. After all, don’t we often feel obligated to return a compliment once it’s been paid to us? They could also be trying to bond with you, and they figure complimenting you will make you friends, lovers, business partners, etc.
Here’s when to be cautious. Let’s say someone compliments you right before asking you for money or to do something you don’t want to do. That’s the bad kind of manipulation. That’s when a red flag should go up. Or when your boss tells you you’re doing a great job but won’t promote you or give you a raise. Compliments are free, so they’re giving them freely, but what you really want is the money and title you deserve. That’s another red flag. Compliments don’t pay your bills! Be cautious. Be realistic about your future with the company. I’m a big believer in letting your conscious guide you. If the little voice in your head is saying “beware,” listen to it.
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So how can we tell if a compliment is sincere? One of the best ways is to talk to someone you trust. Tell a friend, partner or your psychic what happened and ask them for their opinion. They have nothing to gain by lying to you. They’ll be honest. Does it match up with what you’ve been thinking? If you think you’re being manipulated, and your trusted confidant agrees, chances are you should proceed with caution. But if you both agree that the compliment was sincere, you’ve probably got nothing to worry about.
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The best advice I can give is to take compliments at face value and don’t worry about their motives. If they make you feel good, sit with that feeling. Don’t dissect the compliments and analyze them from every angle. It takes the good feelings away. But if you feel like someone is using compliments to manipulate you, trust your gut and proceed with caution.