In his new book What Were They Thinking, Jeffrey Pfeffer writes an interesting chapter about good manners, friendliness and compliments called How to Turn of the Charm. He writes: "Complimenting people works quite well to increase likeability. That's because of the self-enhancement motive - our desire to feel good about ourselves and our accomplishments. We like people who help us do that. People often underestimate the power of flattery, because we think we won't be taken in. But we are motivated to believe compliments are sincere..... Given the motivational desire to feel better rather than worse, the odds are you are going to not look a "gift compliment" in the mouth or subject in to too much scrutiny." I still go for sincerity in compliments but what Pfeffer says here makes me realize we don't have to be too afraid people will take well meant compliments the wrong way.