We all love compliments. They make us feel good about ourselves and appreciated for our efforts. Compliments can also improve our motivation and general wellbeing. But what happens when your way of getting people to say nice things about you comes off as fishing for compliments?

Since you are here reading this post, I’m guessing you either fish for compliments or know someone who does it and you are looking for a way to deal with them. But do you understand why people fish for compliments? Do you know how to know when someone is fishing for compliments? What does fishing for compliments even mean?

Fishing for compliments means that you try to make people say nice things about you by pretending to be modest about things to get them to disagree and reassure you by giving you praise. It is similar to the actual act of fishing with a rod where you cast the bait by pretending to be vulnerable or ignorant about something, and the other person behaves like the fish swallowing the bait and complimenting you to make you feel good or validate your feelings.

In today’s post, we will go through some of the reasons why people fish for compliments, how to know you (or someone else) are doing it, and how to respond when someone is fishing for compliments. Hopefully, by the end of this post, you will understand yourself better and know how to stop fishing for compliments if you usually do it.

Let’s dive in…

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10 Signs that Someone Is Fishing for Compliments

Whether you are the one who does it or someone else does, there are several ways to know when a person is fishing for compliments. Their behavior often betrays them, and if you are keen, you will know when they are doing it. Here are some examples and signs of fishing for compliments;

  1. Someone always feigns insecurity or vulnerability so you can reassure them
  2. They are self-deprecating even when the self-criticism is unfounded
  3. They play down their achievements and reject your compliments to get you to intensify them
  4. Have low self-esteem
  5. Boast about things and achievements
  6. Make statements or ask leading questions while fishing for compliments
  7. Pretend to be ignorant about their good qualities
  8. They fish for compliments on social media by posting pictures of themselves and asking for opinions
  9. Are needy and require a lot of attention
  10. They keep trying to attract your attention to something about them to get you to notice it

6 Reasons Why People Fish for Compliments

  1. They are proud of themselves

People don’t always fish for compliments because they need an ego boost. Sometimes they are just really proud of a job well done or an achievement that went unnoticed.

If someone has done something they think deserves recognition and people aren’t aware, it might be their reason for fishing for compliments. They could mention it ‘casually’ as a way to draw your attention to it or fish for compliments on social media by posting about their achievements.

  1. Self-esteem issues and insecurities

Most people with self-esteem issues require other people’s reassurance to feel confident and good about themselves. This is one of the reasons why they might be fishing for compliments from you for motivation or a confidence boost because they think lowly of themselves.

An insecure person needs a lot of reassurance to feel good about things they are self-conscious about too. For instance, if someone is insecure about a particular part of their body, they might feel the need to seek external validation that they look good which comes off as fishing for compliments.

READ ALSO: You Are Good Enough: 5 Ways to Recognize Your Self-Worth

  1. They love attention

Attention seekers also tend to fish for compliments. They will brag about their achievements, act vulnerable, or say self-deprecating things to manipulate you into reassuring them by saying nice things about them.

Some examples of someone fishing for compliments include them saying things like ‘I feel so ugly today’, or ‘I’m so fat’ yet they look beautiful and fit and are only trying to get you to oppose these statements. Another example of fishing for compliments is someone complaining about how much they hate a particular feature on their body that looks perfect as a way to draw your attention to that part and compliment them on it.

Some people also fish for compliments by pretending they are not as good as they actually are to get people to praise them when they do well. One good example of someone fishing for compliments this way would be a player who is good at a particular sport pretending they aren’t that good, so you have to compliment their performance when they win.

READ ALSO: 11 Types of Toxic Friends: Signs and How to Deal with Them

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  1. Past experiences

Your upbringing can affect how you carry yourself as an adult. If you got used to being complimented by parents, teachers, and friends growing up, this could have gone to your head. It is probably why you fish for compliments because you might begin to expect other people to behave the same way as an adult.

Another way your experiences might result in your fishing for compliments could be because of your looks. Most beautiful people are used to getting attention and compliments, and they might come to expect it from everyone making them fish for them when they are not forthcoming.

READ ALSO: The Ugly Side of Beauty: Can Being Attractive Ruin Your Personality?

  1. An inferiority complex

A person who feels inferior in some ways or has impostor syndrome might have trouble accepting their good qualities or feeling worthy of their success. This is why they fish for compliments from others to feel validated. They need someone to reassure them that they are good and worthy of their success.

  1. They are narcissistic

Narcissists have the trait of fishing for compliments because they are egotistical and want to feel like they are better than other people. They will brag about their achievements hoping (sometimes asking for) you to acknowledge and compliment them. Their desire for excessive attention and admiration is one of the reasons why narcissistic people fish for compliments.

Having such people as friends or others close to you can be draining because they will constantly manipulate you into saying nice things to them to stroke their ego or validate them.

READ ALSO: 5 Things to Do When Someone Doesn’t Reciprocate Your Energy

fishing for compliments

How to Respond When Someone Is Fishing for Compliments

Since many people have this behavior, it is important to know what to do when someone is fishing for compliments and you know they are doing it. Here’s how to respond when someone is fishing for compliments;

  1. If you have a genuine compliment to give or if someone deserves it, give it to them
  2. Ignore them, and they will eventually give up, hopefully
  3. Change the topic and redirect the conversation to other things or people
  4. Let them know you know what they are doing
  5. Encourage them to find ways to build their self-confidence or seek professional help for insecurities; otherwise,
  6. Resisting their bait and avoiding them might be the best way to deal with someone who is fishing for compliments.
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How to Stop Fishing for Compliments

Being someone who is always fishing for compliments can push people away and damage your relationships and friendships. Hence, if you are the one who is always doing it, here are some ways to stop fishing for compliments;

  • Build your confidence

Lack of self-confidence and low self-esteem are some of the reasons why people fish for compliments. You might value other people’s opinions of you more and seek their validation because you don’t believe in yourself. As you learn how to stop fishing for compliments, one of your first steps should be to work on your self-confidence. You will no longer need validation from others but instead will trust your abilities and be confident in your looks.

  • Know your worth

Feeling inferior and undeserving of what you have is one of the reasons why you fish for compliments. For this reason, knowing your worth is one way to stop fishing for compliments or seeking validation from others. You are worthy and deserving of any good things you have worked for.

  • Be authentic

When learning how to stop fishing for compliments and seeking validation, you have to learn to accept and love yourself for who you are – flaws and all. Through self-acceptance, you will no longer care about anyone else’s opinion of you and your life.

  • Practice affirmations for self-love and self-acceptance

Affirmations are a powerful way to change your way of thinking. If you usually feel the compulsion to seek validation from others in order to feel good about yourself, saying positive affirmations for self-acceptance and self-love is one way to change your mindset and stop fishing for compliments.

  • Learn how to receive compliments

Many people usually say a self-deprecating statement whenever someone compliments them to get more positive responses. If you have this habit, one way to stop fishing for compliments this way is by learning to be better at accepting when someone says nice things about you. Most times accepting compliments by saying a simple ‘Thank you’ will suffice.

READ ALSO: How to Keep More Good Friends in Your Life

Final thoughts

Compliments are good, and they make us feel good about ourselves, but they should come naturally and not because someone is manipulating you to compliment them. If you usually do it or know someone who does it, the above can help you recognize the signs and why people fish for compliments. After learning how to know when someone is fishing for compliments, you can use the above tips to stop doing it or deal with friends who usually do it.


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21 thoughts on “6 Reasons Why People Fish For Compliments (and How to Respond)

  1. Definitely agree that people rely on others too much for validation and approval, when if you are confident enough in yourself you don’t seek out praise from others so much. But when you give someone a compliment because it feels natural that is such a good feeling and the same to receiving one unexpectedly!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have definitely encountered people in the past who fish for compliments, and while it was a bit annoying (if I’m honest) I tried to figure out why they needed to do it. It is was just an exercise in narcissism then I wouldn’t participate but if it was someone needing a boost then I like to make someone feel reassured and positive about themselves. This was a really informative read as there are far more reasons behind it than I had considered.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for reading, Molly!❤️ Giving compliments to someone who needs a boost of confidence when they are feeling low or insecure is good. Though it will probably become annoying if they make fishing a habit and you have to reassure them all the time.

      Like

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