The vocabulary associated with compliments is parched, over-familiar and lazy. The impulse to compliment may be sincere, but the end-product may look as if it had been assembled in a factory. Hmmm, says the recipient, instead of Wow! The sentiment need not be original but it must be originally expressed.
I don't attract many compliments, one reason being I raise unpopular subjects like this. Sarky bugger, people think, and they're right. Actually, that can be read as a sort of compliment but only by a sarky bugger.
I had ten minutes to go before the final episode of a heartless French political drama series on telly. I pulled out a poetry collection and from it fluttered a card written by the person who had given me the used book. Here's an extract:
"I like this but don't need to keep it, and thought his voice sounded a bit like yours in certain places... or maybe I find him a bit too dry and clever for me."
That word "voice" is carefully chosen. No attempt to suggest that my barely finished stuff in any way resembles the poet's ultra-professional work. Only that I share an attitude with the poet who, I must confess, is somewhat cynical. Not wholly likeable.
This is nevertheless a compliment. The writer has flattered me by getting to know my little ways and is unafraid to be honest about them. Knows me well enough for that too. Since I own up to being cynical and often unlikeable how could I grumble? Truth can be received in different ways.
There are two further qualifications. The phrase "a bit like" ensures I don't get too big-headed. And I'm left to speculate about the indirectness of "dry and clever".
As I say, compliments are hard work.
PS: "Sarky" is knowingly sarcastic. And, no, I will not identify the poet.