First, enjoy yourself. You’ve just received a compliment! Someone thinks that you’re swell, in one way or another.

But wait.

Was that really a compliment? You have to be sure.

Say someone says to you, “You have really pretty eyes.” Before you go rushing in and saying, “Thank you for the compliment!” there are many factors you need to examine before you can truly ascertain if this is indeed a compliment, if you should accept it and if thanks should be given.

Examine the person who gave you the possible compliment. Do they have ulterior motives? Do they want to borrow money from you? Sleep with you? If one or both of these things is true, you may accept the compliment, as they are implicitly saying that you are either wealthy or do-able. Those are actually the highest compliments that can possibly be given. You should be very pleased with this.

Does the Possible Compliment Giver have nice eyes themselves? Because if they do, they are most assuredly saying that you have pretty eyes so that you will say in return, “You have very pretty eyes as well.” If so, look them dead in their beautiful eyes and whisper, “I know what you’re doing, asshole.” Then walk away. No one likes someone who fishes for compliments and they shouldn’t be allowed to get away with it. It’s rude.

However, if a small child with beautiful eyes tells you, “You have vewy pwetty eyes,” you may give them a reciprocal compliment, but only to teach them a lesson. The lesson being that you shouldn’t expect someone to tell you that your goddamn eyes are “pwetty” in return. You should say, “Those are very nice shoes,” emphasizing the word shoes. The small child, blessed with small child intuition, will more likely than not understand the lesson you are trying to impart, and in the future be less disingenuous.

If it appears that the Possible Compliment Giver has no ulterior motives and does not have pretty eyes themselves, still do not hastily rush into a thank you. Before you respond, go to the bathroom to examine your own eyes. Are they are really that pretty? Be critical. Self-awareness is an important trait.

If you can objectively find that your eyes are pleasing, you may return to the Compliment Giver and say, “Thank you.” Even if they have moved on to a different conversation, you should interrupt them to say thank you. It’s like at the Post Office when you’ve waited in line but the postal worker gives you an address form to fill out so you step out of the line to do that and once you’ve completed the form you go back to the front of the line. It looks like you’re cutting, but you’re not. Really, no one will mind, because that’s the way things work. In the United States, at least.

However, if when you look in the mirror you see that your eyes are neither here nor there, or, worse, that your eyes are displeasing to themselves, you should not take the compliment. That would not be right, it would be taking credit for something that you didn’t do. It’s like if you were the tambourine player in a really great band. Sure, you’re technically in the band, but if someone approached you after a show and said that your band sounded great, that would be another example of a compliment that you should decline. Your tambourine shaking really had nothing to do with the success of the band, much like how your eyes are not pretty. It’s exactly the same thing.

That being said, when you discover that your eyes are disgusting and not compliment worthy, you may return to that False Compliment Giver, again, interrupting if they are in a separate conversation, and say, “You are a liar and an idiot.” And then walk away. This will make them think long and hard about truth-telling and false-compliment giving, and will eventually turn them into a better person, if they are willing to change. You can only do so much for them.