7 Types of Compliments Men REALLY Want To Hear

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Men, compliments and you.

Believe it or not, men like hearing compliments. That may sound silly given the number of hyper-masculine stereotypes present in our society.

But I’m here to say, just like anyone else, guys appreciate admiration.

As a counselor specializing in men’s issues, I can’t tell you how many times a client has sat across from me in my office and said to me: I don’t know if my girlfriend likes me.

And because men are bred to not fish for compliments, they aren’t going to encourage them. That’s not true for all guys but if I were placing bets on this in Vegas, I’d say that’s the case for most.

Complimenting men and self-esteem

From a psychological perspective, verbalizing heart-filled, genuine compliments is critical to male self-esteem. And I’m not talking about those run of the mill, cheesy ones designed to get down a dude’s pants.

Instead, I’m speaking about compliments that are directed to a man’s inner core. The kind that celebrates his spirit and character authentically (Marigold, Holmes, & Ross, 2007).

Here’s something you may not know. When men don’t feel valued, insecurity sets in. The insidious thing is that once it happens, men are less likely to verbalize how crappy they feel.

When you factor in historical dynamics, like having an unlucky dating history and male body image issues, that insecurity can become compounded.

Male compliments revealed

If you are searching for real ideas on the best ways to compliment men, I’d like you to consider the following seven.

It’s important to view these as examples – starting points if you will. Depending on the guy, his background, and your relational history, not all may “fit” who he is.

That said, the material appearing below has been broken down into typologies. You can customize as needed.

Let’s jump right in!

compliments men

1. Effort compliments

This type of compliment is designed to show thankfulness for a man’s work. I’m not talking about his job or the money he makes.

Instead, it’s about the energy he puts into the relationship in ways that make your life easier. In their purest form, these are sentiments of love.

Be it fixing a squeaky cabinet or fixing a broken commode, the physical work he accomplishes to benefit both of you deserves to be mentioned.

Here are some practical examples:

  • Thanks for fixing the leaky pipe. I love the little things you do.
  • You are truly a jack of all trades. Wow!
  • I noticed you organized the mess in the basement. I really appreciate that. You are so good to me baby.
  • Now I can take a shower and not slip. Thanks for replacing the tub-matt. I love you for that.
  • It was sweet of you to throw out all that junk from the closet. What would I do without you?
  • I noticed you replaced my windshield wipers. Now I can see when it rains. Did I mention how much I love you?
  • You really take care of me – thank you.

2. Character compliments

Typically, men communicate their emotions through actions as opposed to words. The clinical research tells us that for guys, major self-esteem boosts happen when they feel respected.

But respect shouldn’t be confused with being obedient. Sadly, people confuse this all the time. Instead, I’m talking about respecting his character – the metal of a man.

These are traits he possesses that are innate. They are part of his personality DNA.

Here’s a few examples to consider:

  • I’m impressed with how you responded to that rude sales clerk. How are you able to keep your cool like that?
  • You are so amazing to my friends. People just seem to gravitate to you.
  • Your capacity to forgive people who have hurt you blows me away. I can learn a lot from you.
  • I can’t tell you how much I respect the way you manage your team. Not everyone has those leadership skills.
  • Most people would have told a white lie about that situation. But you shared the unvarnished truth. That why I love you.
  • I know you donated money to that charity. Did I tell you how amazing you are for that?
  • The way you are able to not let the kids get on your nerves blows me away. I wish I had that ability.

3. Physical appearance

There is a major misnomer out there that guys aren’t as concerned with their appearance as women. I can tell you with absolute certainty it’s complete B.S.

The difference is that guys don’t talk about it. I’ve written a massive piece on this that explores the topic in detail. See this post on male grooming.

Here’s the full on truth: men do like being told they have nice bodies. That goes not only for their physique but their skin, hair, and general appearance.

Consider the following ideas and adapt as needed:

  • Wow, you look amazing in that suit!
  • I’m loving your sexy bed hair. The messy look works for you.
  • Your smile could disarm anyone.
  • You’ve been working hard on your biceps and it really shows!
  • When you hold me, I can feel all your tight muscles.
  • Did you just jump off an outdoor catalog? You look extra manly today.
  • The shirt and tie you picked today compliment your handsome face.
  • Hard to believe you are (fill in age). You look so much younger than other guys your age.

compliment man4. Intelligence and wisdom compliments

It’s sad that many guys buy into “dude” mentality whereby they feel they must dumb down dialogue. This has a way of bleeding into personal, romantic relationships.

But here’s a secret.

Guys like having intelligent, meaningful conversation. Moreover, many appreciate the ooccasional observation that speaks to their mental prowess.

The trick is to find a way to compliment him that’s’ not grandiose or untrue. Trust me when I tell you this, most guys want to believe they are smart.

Here’s some examples:

  • How are you able to add all those numbers up so fast is beyond me. I can’t do anything without a calculator.
  • I could never figure out how to put that piece of furniture together – even with written directions. But you are able to do it effortlessly. I love you for that.
  • How did you know the answer to that question? You are so smart!
  • It was so wise of you to stay out of the conversation with your family. Somebody installed a wisdom chip in you.
  • You always seem to come up with the most intelligent answers. Not everyone has that ability.
  • Have you always been gifted musically?
  • I’m curious – does intelligence run in your family? I ask because you are really smart.

5. Decision making compliments

One of the most prized compliments a man can receive are ones that speak to his decision making abilities. I mention this because it’s an area that doesn’t get nearly enough attention.

Most people assume it’s easy for men to make decisions based on alpha-male stereotypes. In truth, the process can be a struggle.

This point is particularly true if the guy has a history of his decisions being undermined by others, which paradoxically robs him of self-esteem.

Here’s some compliments to consider:

  • I know it wasn’t easy to let (fill in the blank) go. But firing him was the right choice.
  • The decision to not attend the party was a good one. I wasn’t sure how to approach this – looking back, the choice you made was right.
  • One of the things I admire about you most is your ability to stick to a decision. So many guys are indecisive.
  • The gift you chose for the party was excellent. I really like how you don’t get bogged down and can quickly decide.
  • I bet those smart decision making skills you have come in handy at work.
  • I’d love to learn the trick behind your decision making process because it’s awesome.

Cute couple6. Personality compliments

Like anyone else, each man has his own unique personality. Some guys are funny. Others are geeky. And still, others are a combo of charming, witty and smart.

What guys often don’t hear are compliments that speak to this aspect of their persona. But with a little bit of effort, you can highlight some of his traits without going overboard.

Bear in mind that when bringing these up, it helps to mention characteristics that aren’t aren’t always obvious. This way, the compliment has more of a punch.

Examples include:

  • Ever notice how easy it is for people to speak with you? It’s like you vibe out calmness.
  • I loved the response you gave to your boss. Man, you are
  • That joke you shared at dinner with our friends was Did I tell you how funny you are?
  • I’m impressed with how charming you can be with people. It’s one of the reasons I fell in love with you.
  • People just seem to like you naturally. It’s a gift.
  • I love your geek side. Smart, cute, and quirky all wrapped up into one.

7. Feeling compliments

Are you emotionally impacted by your man’s actions? Does he make you feel a certain way? If so, does he know this?

If not, feeling compliments should be used from time to time. This helps him to realize his impact on you. Paradoxically, it also motivates him to do more of what you like.

Under this area, it’s important to not go overboard. It’s easy to end up in the land of fakery when you pour it on too much. Think sporadic and genuine here.

Examples include:

  • I feel so safe when you are holding me.
  • There’s just something about you that turns me on like crazy!
  • Your dark eyes have a way of piercing through to my soul.
  • Even when I feel like crap, you have a way of making me laugh.
  • When you touch me, it’s like a jolt of electricity shoots through me.
  • When you travel, I miss you so much.
  • I don’t think I ever experienced what true love meant until we kissed.

Bringing It All Together

The key thing to keep in mind is that men like to feel validated. The material shared above shouldn’t be used to manipulate or ego stroke.

Instead, the compliments should be offered organically and authentically. Otherwise, that guy in your life will see straight through them.

I hope you found this to be a useful read. Please share with others if you think might benefit!

Photo Credits: Deposit Photos and Pexels


Marigold, D., Holmes, J., & Ross, M. (2007, February). More than words: Reframing compliments from romantic partners fosters security in low self-esteem individuals. Retrieved from Journal of personality and social psychology: http://psycnet.apa.org/doiLanding?doi=10.1037%2F0022-3514.92.2.232

About John D. Moore 391 Articles
Dr. John Moore is a licensed counselor and Editor-in-Chief of Guy Counseling. A journalist and blogger, he writes about a variety of topics related to wellness. His interests include technology, outdoor activities, science, and men's health. Check out his show --> The Men's Self Help Podcast