Who doesn't like to receive a compliment? It goes without saying that giving and receiving compliments plays an important role in establishing friendships and other social relationships. And it makes others feel good about themselves!
Fun fact: In China, the need to receive praise and encouragement has become so popular that you can pay random people on WeChat to give you compliments. That's right, for about 15 yuan ($2.23) for three minutes or 25 yuan ($3.72) for five minutes, you can get a bunch of compliments from random stangers! Wow. 
Compliments in Chinese are often related to a person's physical appearance, style, abilities, knowledge, work, and food. In a study of cross-cultural communication, a big difference regarding giving compliments was noted between China and Western countries. China is a high-context culture, whereas most Western countries are low-context culture. High-context cultures favour indirect nonverbal communication, meaning you need to read between the lines. The real message often needs to be interpreted according to the context. Instead, low-context cultures prefer direct verbal communication. This cultural difference affects the way compliments are given and received.
Westerners compliment to praise, establish solidarity and encourage. In Chinese culture, compliments are generally expressions of admiration. So let’s take a look at the top 10 common compliments you're sure to hear Chinese people say.
Top 10 Chinese Compliments
#1 - 你很漂亮! / 你真帅!
Nǐ hěn piàoliang! / Nǐ zhēn shuài!
You’re beautiful! / You’re handsome!
This is probably the most popular compliment you will hear in China. Girls are often referred to as beautiful women 美女 (měinǚ) and boys as handsome men 帅哥 (shuàigē). Even complete strangers compliment each other’s appearance.
#2 - 你真棒!
Nǐ zhēn bàng!
You're awesome!
You can use this compliment whenever someone does something that you think is really cool or amazing. It’s a very colloquial expression and sure to make the Chinese smile.
#3 - 你很聪明!
Nǐ hěn cōngmíng!
You're so smart!
Did someone just pass a difficult exam or get accepted into university? It’s typical to praise someone's knowledge and at the same time show them respect.
#4 - 你很厉害!
Nǐ hěn lìhài!
You're great!
This compliment can used in most situations when you want to express admiration or pride for a person’s skills, abilities or knowledge.
#5 - 你很幽默!
Nǐ hěn yōumò!
You’re funny!
A witty person, good at telling jokes or having a quirky sense of humor is funny. Being called funny is a great compliment and making those around you laugh is like medicine for the soul.
#6 - 你很有天赋!
Nǐ hěn yǒu tiānfù!
You're very talented!
Have you ever seen an amazing piece of art work or watched a gifted performer and been in awe? We love when others recognize our accomplishments and talents.
#7 - 你说得很流利!
Nǐ shuō dé hěn liúlì!
You speak very fluently! 
As a foreigner in China, the locals are very forthcoming in their praise of how people speak their language. Regardless of how well you speak, after just a few short sentences you will probably be told that you speak Chinese very well!
#8 - 很好吃!
Hěn hào chī!
This is delicious! 
Chinese people are very proud of their cuisine and love to be have their food praised, whether it be something they personally cooked or whether they invited you out to their favourite restaurant. Openly praising the dishes you enjoy are sure to make your host happy.
#9 - 今天你打扮这么好看啊
Jīntiān nǐ dǎbàn zhème hǎokàn a!
You dressed up nicely today! 
Without getting too specific, this general compliment expresses admiration for someone's  overall appearance. If you’re trying to make a good first impression on a date, this is the phrase to use.
#10 - 你做得很好!
Nǐ zuò dé hěn hǎo!
You did very well!  
Has someone done a task or activity well? Nothing makes a person feel better than having their efforts noticed and receiving a heartfelt “Well done”! 
How to Deflect Compliments in Chinese
Since the time of Confucianism, 2000 years ago, modesty has been considered one of the highest virtues, the Golden Rule. While Westerners openly accept compliments with a simple “thanks”, in Chinese culture it’s viewed as impolite and arrogant. Chinese people refuse to accept praise to show modesty and politeness. Let’s look at the 5 most common ways to downplay compliments.
1. Act Surprised
If someone says “I love your new haircut”, you could say:
真的吗?/ Zhēnde ma? / Really?
是吗?/ Shì ma? / You think?
2. Fend Off
If you’re told that you speak Chinese well, you could reply:
还行吧 / Hái xíng ba / It’s okay, I guess
一般一般 / Yībān yībān / I'm just ok
马马虎虎 / Mǎma-hūhū / 'm just so-so
哪里哪里 / Nǎlǐnǎlǐ / You’re too kind
你过奖了 / Nǐ guò jiǎngle / You flatter me
你太客气 / Nǐ tài kèqì / You're too polite
3. Beg to Differ
If your boss says you did a great job, you could answer:
不行吧 / Bùxíng ba / No, it’s not
不, 不, 不 / Bù, bù, bù / No, no, no
没有那么厉害 / Méiyǒu nàme lìhài / I'm not that awesome
还不够好 / Hái bùgòu hǎo / t’s still not good enough
不敢当 / Bùgǎndāng / I don’t deserve it
4. Reciprocate
If you're told you are a computer whizz , you could say:
还是你比我好 / Háishì nǐ bǐ wǒ hǎo / You’re still better than me
你也是啊! / Nǐ yěshì a! / You are too!
5. Give Others Credit
If your teacher says you're the best in the class, you can say:
是我的老师教得好 / Shì wǒ lǎoshī jiào de hǎo / It’s because my teacher is good
我朋友帮了我 / Wǒ péngyǒu bāngle wǒ / My friend helped me
多亏你! / Duōkuī nǐ! / Thanks to you!
Although paying for a compliment is a funny idea, genuinely complimenting another person is one of the best ways to make new friends and to feel good about yourself. Why not try using a few of these common compliments the next time you go out?

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