Stay calm. If you feel tense or nervous, try a relaxation tactic. For example, inhale through your nose for 8 to 10 seconds. Hold your breath for the next two seconds and then let it out. When you're calm, you're better able to communicate your feelings in a clear and confident way.
Collect your thoughts before you start gabbing, formulating the words in your mind before they spill out of your lips. Doing so lessens the chance that you'll say something that sounds awkward.
Pick something specific about her smile. If she has a high-watt smile, don't let ambiguity make her wonder if you like her or just want to know what her brand of tooth whitener is. For example, instead of saying, "Wow, your teeth are super bright," try something along the lines of, "When you smile, your whole face lights up!"
Tell her how her smile makes you feel. If her smile gives you butterflies, let her know that it makes your whole day happier.
Be sincere. Avoid forcing the compliment. Wait until it feels right to say it to her. Use your own words, and not what you think she wants to hear or what your best bud tells you to say. If it sounds like a "line," it will feel fake.
Smile as you compliment her. Your happiness can rub off on her, making her happier or more receptive to your compliment. In a study published in the British Medical Journal, Harvard researchers found that a person's emotional state often depends on the emotions of those around her.
- Avoid pressing the point. Compliment her once, then move on to another topic. Continuing to tell her that you like her smile -- even if it's in different ways -- may make her feel uncomfortable or make her think that you are insincere.
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Relaxation Techniques
- Psychology Today: 9 Types of Compliments and Why They Work (or Not)
- Los Angeles Times: Your Whole World Smiles With You
- British Medical Journal: Dynamic Spread of Happiness In a Large Social Network: Longitudinal Analysis Over 20 Years in the Framingham Heart Study