11 Reasons Why People Love Fishing For Compliments +Ideal Response (2024)

I’m sure you’ve met them!

People who downplay their achievements or say self-deprecating things about themselves in a bid to get a positive comment from you.

Ever wondered what leads to such behavior in people?

Today’s article aims at addressing it. In this post, you’ll learn why some people love fishing for compliments. Some of the things you’ll learn include

  • An explanation of what fishing for compliments is
  • A discussion of signs that someone is fishing for compliments, and
  • How to respond to people fishing for compliments.

Let’s get right into it.

What Does it Mean When Someone is Fishing for Compliments?

When someone is fishing for compliments, they say or do things that make others say good things about them.

Genuine compliments are given without any persuasion. On the other hand, fished compliments require the recipient to use persuasion techniques to lure praises.

Some examples of fishing techniques that people use to get compliments include:

  • Exaggerating Achievements
  • Playing Down Accomplishments
  • Saying Negative Things About Oneself
  • Acting Insecure or needy

Now that we know what fishing for praise is, let’s take a look at some signs that someone is doing it.

Signs That Someone is Fishing for Compliments

Some common giveaways that someone is fishing for praise would include:

They Consistently Put Themselves Down

One of the most common signs of fishing for compliments is that a person constantly puts themselves down.

They might say things like, “I’m not good at anything,” or “I’m just an average person.” This way, they’re hoping you’ll come in and tell them how wrong they are.

They Talk Negatively About Themselves

If someone is fishing for compliments, they’ll likely be swift to bring up their negative qualities in the hope that you’ll correct them with more positive words.

For example, they might say something like, “I’m so stupid,” or “I hate my hair.” By saying this, the person hopes that you’ll correct them with praise.

They Brag About Their Accomplishments

When someone fishes for compliments, they’ll often go out of their way to ensure everyone knows about their accomplishments.

In some cases, they might even exaggerate the truth to get you to react more positively.

An example would be a coworker who can’t stop talking about their recent promotion or a student who gets a high mark in a test and displays the results for everyone else to see.

They Pretend to Be Ignorant About Their Achievements

In some cases, fishing for compliments may involve pretending to be ignorant of the things you’ve done well.

For example, fishing for compliments can involve someone bringing up a recent accomplishment and then acting baffled when you congratulate them.

They Reject Compliments to Intensify Them

Sometimes fishing for compliments involves someone rejecting your praise in a bid to get more compliments.

For example, if you tell your friend that they did an excellent job on their presentation, they might say something like “No way!” or “Are you sure?”

By asking this, your friend is trying to get more compliments from you.

They Always Post Photos on Social Media to Get Likes and Comments

Some people post photos of themselves on Facebook or Instagram to get likes and comments when fishing for compliments.

They might also upload only flattering selfies as a way of fishing for somebody’s praise.

They Ask Questions That Lead to Compliments

Fishing for a compliment can also involve asking subtle questions that lead to praise.

For example, someone fishing for compliments might ask, “Do you think I look good in this dress?” or “Is my hair okay today?”. The purpose of these questions is to get an answer that leads to more praise.

Reasons Why People Fish for Compliments

#1. They Suffer From An Inferiority Complex

One of the most common reasons why people fish for compliments is because they have an inferiority complex. This condition causes someone to lack confidence and feel like they’re not good enough.

People with this condition often feel like they’re not good enough, and that’s why they need others to reassure them that they’re doing well constantly.

They will fish for compliments to gain approval and validation from other people.

If you know someone who suffers from an inferiority complex, try to be supportive and encouraging, but don’t overdo it either.

They might get used to constant praise and eventually not believe your words anymore.

#2. Childhood Experiences Drive Them to Fish Compliments

Another reason why people fish for compliments is because of their childhood experiences.

For example, fishing for approval may result from growing up in an environment where you weren’t praised enough or constantly heard how much better everyone else was doing.

This can cause someone to want more validation from others later in life and lead them to fish for compliments.

Someone could also be fishing for praise if they received compliments as a child but no longer receive them as an adult.

This might make them crave the feeling of being complimented, and they’ll do whatever it takes to get that positive reinforcement.

#3. They Have a Constant Need for Attention

Fishing for compliments could also result from someone’s need for attention.

People might fish for compliments because they don’t feel like they get enough positive attention from other people in their lives and want to fill that void.

People with this need for attention might also do things like seek out dangerous activities or become involved in drama to get attention.

If you know someone fishing for compliments to fill a need for attention, try and give them as much positive attention as possible.

However, it’s essential to ensure that you’re not giving them too much attention because they might start to rely too much on your validation.

#4. They Thrive from External Validation

Some fishing for compliments is a result of someone’s need to be validated by others.

People with this mindset may fish for compliments to feel like they’re worthy and that their existence matters.

They will constantly crave validation from other people and do whatever it takes to get the praise they want.

If you know someone fishing for compliments to get validation, try and remind them that they are worthy and their existence does matter without giving them too much external validation.

This will help them learn to find validation from within themselves.

#5. They Thrive in Admiration

Some people fish for compliments to get more people to admire and love them.

This is especially common on social media, where someone will post a suggestive photo of themselves to get compliments from people.

People fishing for compliments in this way want to feel admired and loved by others, and they’ll do whatever it takes to get that admiration.

If you know someone who fishes for compliments because they thrive off admiration, try and give them genuine compliments rather than empty ones.

This will help them see that you genuinely admire them

#6. They Are Narcissistic

Fishing for compliments is a common trait of narcissists.

They often fish for compliments because they need to feed their ego and feel superior to others. Narcissists also use compliments to manipulate people into doing things for them.

If you know someone fishing for compliments and displaying narcissistic traits, it’s best to avoid them.

You’ll only be feeding their ego by giving them the validation they crave, and it will only lead to more problems in the future.

Instead, focus on building relationships with people who have a healthier sense of self-esteem.

Related Content: 11 Best Ways To Emotionally Detach From A Narcissist

#7. They Don’t Know How to Receive Compliments

Sound confusing, right?

However, one of the signs that someone is fishing for compliments is that they don’t believe it when complimented, which leads to more compliments.

However, if someone doesn’t know how to take a compliment, they may be mistaken as fishing for compliments.

If you know someone who is fishing for compliments due to an inability to receive praise, try and teach them how to take a compliment.

This will help them see that there’s nothing wrong with being confident enough to accept positive feedback from other people.

It might also help change their mindset towards life in general!

#8. They Suffer from Low Self-Esteem

People fishing for compliments may also be suffering from low self-esteem.

They might not believe that they’re worthy of love, care, and praise until someone else tells them otherwise.

To these people, fishing for compliments is a way to fulfill the need to feel wanted by other people.

If you know someone who loves fishing for compliments and suffers from low self-esteem, try and boost their confidence in other ways.

Compliments might work in the short term, but to truly help them overcome their low self-esteem, you’ll need to provide long-term support as well.

This could involve helping them set and achieve goals, providing positive feedback regularly, or simply being there for them when they need it.

fishing for compliments
Image by Keira Burton from Pexels

#9. They Are Genuinely Proud of Themselves

Not everyone fishing for compliments suffers from low self-esteem and low self-worth.

Some fish for compliments due to feeling proud of their achievements which might have gone unnoticed.

These people fishing for compliments usually have a healthy sense of self-esteem, and they’re not looking for validation from others.

If you know someone fishing for compliments because they’re genuinely proud of themselves, give them the praise that they deserve!

Tell them how much you admire their accomplishments and how proud you are to be friends or acquaintances with them.

This will let them know that you appreciate all their hard work, and it might even inspire them to do even more great things in the future!

#10. They Are Looking to Be More Creative and Perform Better Under Pressure

Some people fishing for compliments may be doing it to get themselves in the right mindset.

They know that fishing for compliments will boost confidence and make them feel more positive. This, in turn, can help them be more creative and perform better under pressure.

And don’t just take my word for it!

Researchers from Harvard Business School, London Business School, University of Michigan, and University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill found that fishing for compliments could develop patterns that result in more creativity and an ability to perform well under pressure.

If you know someone fishing for compliments, who falls into this category, try, and encourage them to keep doing what they’re doing!

It might not seem like fishing for compliments is a great strategy, but it can work wonders in helping them become more creative and perform better under pressure.

#11. They Are Looking to Increase Satisfaction in their Relationship

If your partner/ lover is always fishing for compliments from you, they may not be satisfied with your relationship and are looking for ways to feel satisfied.

A 2009 study on the effects of compliments in romantic relationships found that giving compliments helps to improve satisfaction in heterosexual relationships.

Compliments can help to increase feelings of intimacy, closeness, and satisfaction in a relationship.

But fishing for compliments might not be the best way to achieve this.

If they’re always fishing for compliments, your partner/ lover will feel like they can never do anything right, and their efforts are not good enough. This could lead to them feeling insecure about themselves, which could make it difficult for them to show love to you.

If your partner/ lover is fishing for compliments, talk to them about it.

Let them know that you appreciate all their effort into making your relationship work, and tell them how much you love them. This will help improve satisfaction in your relationship and could potentially save it from falling apart!

Related Content: 13 Stages Of A Healthy Relationship

What is the Ideal Response to People Fishing for Compliments?

Ignore Them

If you’re not sure how to react when someone is fishing for compliments, the best thing to do is ignore them, and hopefully, they’ll give up.

This might seem like the cold and heartless thing to do, but sometimes it’s the best way to deal with someone fishing for praise.

Encourage Them to Find Ways to Build Self Esteem in a Healthy Way

If someone is fishing for compliments due to low self-esteem, the best way to deal with them is to encourage them to build their confidence in more positive ways.

Rather than relying on external validation to find self-worth, they need to find it within themselves. Tell them that fishing for compliments is a wrong way to gain confidence and encourage them to take up activities they enjoy.

Avoid Them

What if the person who always fishes for compliments is a narcissist?

The best way to deal with such a person is to avoid them. This is because, by complimenting them, you help build up their ego, resulting in more narcissistic tendencies.

If Deserving, Give them a Compliment

If someone has done an observable good job, fishing for compliments is entirely acceptable.

When fishing for compliments, they are trying to get you to notice their efforts, and it’s essential that you don’t ignore them or make them feel like fishing for compliments was a bad idea!

When someone fishing for compliments has put effort into something, it can be nice to give them the praise they deserve.

fishing for compliments
Image by Public Domain Pictures from pixabay

Fishing for Compliments FAQ

Is Fishing for Compliments Manipulative?

Yes and No!

Some people fish for compliments subconsciously. They have no idea they are fishing for compliments.

However, there are those who knowingly fish for comments. Narcissists are examples of people who will knowingly fish for compliments. If someone is knowingly fishing for compliments, high chances are they are manipulative.

How do You Stop People from Fishing for Compliments?

This depends on the reason why someone is fishing for compliments. If someone is fishing for compliments due to low self-esteem, the best way to stop them would be to help them build up their confidence in more healthier ways.

If they are fishing for praise due to narcissistic tendencies, the best way to stop them is to avoid them.

If someone is fishing for compliments due to being genuinely proud of themselves, the best way to stop them from fishing compliments is by commending their good job.

What Do you Say to Someone Who is Fishing for Compliments?

If someone fishing for praise has put effort into something, it can be nice to give them the compliment they deserve.

However, you should avoid complimenting someone if they are fishing for compliments due to low self-esteem or narcissistic tendencies. In such cases, encourage them to find ways to build self-esteem healthily.

Any Further Questions?

There you go.

Eleven reasons why people fish for compliments. Which of these reasons do you think makes you or your friend fish for compliments?

Please tell us in the comments section below.

And if you have any questions on the topic of fishing for compliments, please ask in the comment section below. I’ll be happy to answer any question asked.

About The Author

Bijan Kholghi is a certified life coach with the Milton Erickson Institute Heidelberg (Germany). He helps clients and couples reach breakthroughs in their lives by changing subconscious patterns. His solution-oriented approach is based on Systemic- and Hypnotherapy.