Today is National Compliment Day, a day of compliments for all…

We have an entire day dedicated to us being nice to one another; which is a great thing, since some of us [sometimes/often/rarely] struggle in the being nice department. We know who we are…

Since most of us are at work today, hopefully working…we’ll inevitably run into and/or interact with co-workers, clients, teammates, customers, patients, etc.

Unless of course, you’re a lone ranger, braving the workday alone, in solitude – you lone ranger, you.

In an effort to arm our readers with the best compliments one could possibly give in the workplace we went on a quest, scouring the web, to deliver you the shiniest compliments to give your co-workers today…but while on our original quest we came across so many, too many, inappropriate, strange, and/or wildly creepy compliments, which changed our quest entirely.

As with anything in life, certain things are generally only appropriate in certain situations. I like to assume everyone knows this little tidbit of knowledge, but they don’t, and sometimes we make mistakes.

So, here are 10 compliments we highly recommend that you do not give in the workplace…or anywhere, really.

10 Compliments to Not Give in the Workplace

1. You smell really good.

Um, what?

Based on your mutual comfort level with a coworker, (emphasis on ‘mutual’) this may not backfire horribly if you have a good working relationship or a friendship outside of the office.

2. You’re a smart cookie.

Condescending, anyone? If you have the confidence in your intelligence to compliment a colleague, surely you also have the intelligence to come up with better wording.

3. I bet you make babies smile.

Is this is actually a thing people say to one another in any situation?

4. I bet you sweat glitter.

Thanks, it’s a gift, really!

If you’re not seeing what’s wrong with this ‘compliment’, you should probably consider that people could easily misinterpret this as an implication of their sexual orientation, hate-speech towards them or another person, and the professional fallout from that could be detrimental to your career.

5. How is it that you always look great, even in sweatpants?

Also known as…a passive-aggressive way to send an employee home to change into work appropriate attire.

Being passive-aggressive isn’t really a compliment, is it?

6. You’re a candle in the darkness.

Did you mean ‘wind’?

7. You’re even better than a unicorn, because you’re real.

This compliment isn’t too bad, but truthfully, I included it in the list because at TxMQ, we like unicorns.

8. You’re all that and a super-size bag of chips.

Is the “super-size” really necessary here? Also see, ‘how to make a bad compliment worse 101’.


9. You’re even more beautiful on the inside than you are on the outside. OR Your eyes are breathtaking.

In all seriousness, compliments on appearances are rarely, if ever, workplace appropriate – even if you have co-workers that walk in every day like they gently stumbled off the runway and just happened to gracefully land in your office.

10. Is that your picture next to “charming” in the dictionary?

You know that saying: ‘If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck’? Well, if it looks like a bad pickup line, and sounds like a bad pickup line, then…

When in doubt, follow this rule: compliments given in the workplace should generally be based on work performance and workplace behavior.


If you’re set on finding great compliments to give to your co-workers, check out Inc.’s article on compliments you should give daily, and feel free to share your best and worst (PG, please) workplace compliments in the comments below.



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