Difference Between Compliment and Flirt

Who doesn’t likes to be admired for his looks or his dexterous skills!

We often think that seeking admiration from others is a quality that is engendered in us by society.

However, recent psychological research suggests that this feeling is rooted deep inside our brains , where basic traits like anger and fear reside.

Researchers trace this attribute to the region of the brain called Posteromedial Cortices ( PMC).

In the pretext of admiration, many people start considering compliment and flirt as identical.

This is not true as there are sharp differences between them.

Compliment vs Flirt

The difference between compliment and flirting is that compliments can be directed towards any gender and emphasize general admiration, whereas flirting employs a myriad of compliments with the prime purpose of attracting the opposite gender.

Compliment vs Flirt

A  compliment is the general admiration of anyone, be it an elder or a younger person, for some specific trait that awes  others.

A sincere compliment can work wonders in raising a person’s morale.

Flirting, on the other hand, is an admiration when a person finds another person–probably of the opposite gender–attractive and strives for a deeper relationship.

At other times, the sole purpose may merely be playful amusement.


Comparison Table

Parameter Of ComparisonComplimentFlirting
DefinitionA compliment is a vocal expression that shows respect and affection or admiration for the other person.Flirting is a behavior that suggests if a person finds another person attractive, mostly without any serious intent.
Gender SpecificityCompliments can apply to any gender. They generally have less to do with lovable adoration.Flirting applies specifically to the opposite gender.It can manifest itself into lovable adoration.
Age FactorComplimenting someone is not subject to any age barriers.We can compliment anyone.Flirting behavior is most common with people of the same age or with a minor age gap.
Effect on Brain CellsPraising someone boosts their positive response towards tasks.This encourages the person to work harder to perfect his skills.Flirting excites parts of the brain that release chemicals such as dopamine and beta-endorphins. This leads to a feeling of euphoria.
Effect on RecipientCompliments generally have a positive impact on the recipients.A person receives them with gratitude.Flirting may have positive or negative effects on the recipient, based on his social and cultural priorities and conditions.


What is Compliment?

A compliment is a sincere admiration that represents approval of the other person’s special qualities.

This admiration could be for a person who is extremely good at some physical skill, or for a person who appears courteous to you, or even for a worker who is diligent in his work.

When we praise someone, the amount of dopamine released increases.

The person gets a positive impression that his work is appreciated.This encourages the person to further do better.

A research suggests that the compliments to a person have a similar effect as when receiving a cash reward.

In both cases, same part of the brain called the striatum is activated.

Compliments lead to better “skill consolidation during sleep.

They affect life satisfaction and well being of an individual.People become more self conscious in adopting good habits.

In a professional environment, complimenting co-workers has a very positive effect.It builds confidence in them and allows for focused and better team management.

However, one should abstain from excessive complimenting as it makes the person appear insincere.Even if the admirer is genuine, the admired person may take the compliment as mere flattery.


What is Flirt?

Flirting is a social behavior that shows a person’s attraction towards someone of the opposite gender.

Generally, flirting is common among people in the same age group.Many times, people seek good looks of a person during flirting.

Flirting can be verbal or non–verbal, but people associating themselves with extrovert personalities seem to be more engaged in a direct verbal approach.

Flirting is a social signal that indicates the recognition of a person in the crowd.

This stems from the desire of the approaching person to establish contact with the one he finds interesting.

Psychologists have found that flirting has evolved due to an  innate process as a result of natural selection.

Men are more indulged in flirting behaviors for the sole purpose of amusement.

Flirting can be in many forms and can be deemed either appropriate or inappropriate.This depends on how the person, being flirted with, comprehends it.

In the professional environment, flirting by an authoritative person may appear as harassment to a junior.

Flirting is a healthy habit if practiced with morality and without ill intentions.

The other person may or may not see it as a joke, but it’s the responsibility of a person to respect others and not let them feel humiliated.


Main Differences Between Compliment and Flirt

It is necessary for a person to know the difference between a compliment and flirting, as both are significantly contrasting.

Compliments are general, whereas flirting draws a bunch of compliments for romantic reasons.

The main points of difference between the two are :

  1. Complimenting is a general act of approval for skills in other people, whereas flirting is the specific act of complimenting a person to establish romantic relationships.
  2. Complimenting is not gender directed.It accounts for both males and females.On the other hand, flirting is solely elicited to attract the opposite gender.
  3. Complimenting someone makes them feel good and increases their productivity.Flirting only hallucinates a person to euphoria for a definite period and generally has no effect on the productivity of that person.
  4. Compliments are mostly sincere and are not associated with apprehensions regarding flattery.Flirting, on the other hand, makes it clear that the person is just trying to impress the other person with insincere flattery.
  5. Compliments are not age-specific–a person can compliment anyone if he views a good quality in them.Flirting is always age-specific–a younger person may rarely flirt with an octogenarian for reasons other than amusement.
Difference Between Compliment and Flirt


  1. https://online.ucpress.edu/representations/article-abstract/104/1/126/81634
  2. https://kuscholarworks.ku.edu/handle/1808/9917
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