50 Flattery Quotes: Mastering the Art of Authentic Compliments

Get buttered up with our flattery quotes. 

Isn’t it nice when people encourage you and tell you how wonderful you are?

Of course, it is.

However, is there a difference between flattery and feedback?

Learn more with our flattery quotes. 

What is flattery?

  • Praise is intended to encourage, but flattery is meant to be deceptive.
  • Flattery is excessive or insincere praise given to further one’s own interest.
  • Flattery is an over-exaggeration, not grounded in specifics with no real cause. 

Flattery is telling your friend they look nice in a shirt that you don’t actually like for the sake of getting something else in return.

Praise is noticing your friend’s new shoes, genuinely thinking they look cool, and saying, “Nice shoes, they go great with your outfit.”

Is flattery positive or negative?

Flattery is a nuanced subject that people often misinterpret. 

Misunderstanding is common since the whole point of flattery is to be deceptive.  

Intentions matter, and what separates genuine praise from flattery is manipulation.

Praise is the warm approval or admiration of someone’s actions or qualities. 

Praise is usually specific, while flattery is purposefully vague. 

A person can be praised for acting or not acting, but either way, the praise results from something specific. 

Flattery is often undefined or even a lie. 

People weaponize inauthentic praise in an attempt to gain favor or influence over others. 

Some refer to this behavior as brown-nosing, wheedling puffery, jocking, simpering, fawning, or cajolery. 

Why do people use flattery?

People from all walks of life use flattery.

You may have used it during a job interview where you complimented the interviewer’s nice pen or their office. 

There is a difference between casual niceties, light compliments, and manipulation. 

Flattery is a form of manipulation employed by underconfident people.

People who think they need to win the approval or have the power of others tend to give fake praise as a means to control another. 

Passive-aggressive people use flattery to get their way without coming across as directly hostile. 

Sociopaths use flattery to hide their intentions. 

To learn more, check out our flattery quotes below. 

Short flattery quotes for butterin’ you up

Let’s start with these short and sweet, flattery quotes. 

1. “Between flattery and admiration, there often flows a river of contempt.” — Minna Antrim 

2. “Immigration is the sincerest form of flattery.” — Jack Paar 

3. “Knavery and flattery are blood relations.” — Abraham Lincoln 

4. “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” — Charles Caleb Colton 

5. “Flattery corrupts both the receiver and the giver.” — Edmund Burke

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6. “A little flattery will support a man through great fatigue.” — James Monroe 

7. “Flattery is like cologne water, to be smelt, not swallowed.” — Josh Billings 

8. “Flattery is like chewing gum. Enjoy it, but don’t swallow it.” — Hank Ketcham 

9. “Listening, not imitation, may be the sincerest form of flattery.” — Joyce Brothers

10. “Flattery and insults raise the same question: What do you want?” — Mason Cooley 

The top flattery quotes for authentic compliments

These quotes help us determine the difference between flattery and compliments. 

11. “I do not listen to criticism or flattery; one weakens you, and the other angers you.” — Diego Simeone 

12. “Flattery in courtship is the highest insolence, for whilst it pretends to bestow on you more than you deserve, it is watching an opportunity to take from you what you really have.” — Sarah Fielding 

13. “One may define flattery as a base companionship which is most advantageous to the flatterer.” — Theophrastus 

14. “Baloney is flattery laid on so thick it cannot be true, and blarney is flattery so thin we love it.” — Fulton J. Sheen 

15. “Everyone likes flattery, and when you come to Royalty, you should lay it on with a trowel.” — Benjamin Disraeli 

16. “I know imitation is the highest form of flattery, but stealing one’s identity is totally different.” — AnnaLynne McCord 

17. “I trust it will not be giving away professional secrets to say that many readers would be surprised, perhaps shocked, at the questions which some newspaper editors will put to a defenseless woman under the guise of flattery.” — Kate Chopin 

18. “The aim of flattery is to soothe and encourage us by assuring us of the truth of an opinion we have already formed about ourselves.” — Edith Sitwell 

19. “Flattery and deceit are the darlings of great men.” — Pietro Aretino 

20. “Sometimes, idealistic people are put off the whole business of networking as something tainted by flattery and the pursuit of selfish advantage.” — Sonia Sotomayor 

The best imitation is the sincerest form of flattery quotes

Is imitation the most sincere form of flattery? 

These quotes weigh in on the matter. 

21. “If you flatter all the company, you please none; If you flatter only one or two, you offend the rest.” — Jonathan Swift 

22. “A woman’s flattery may inflate a man’s head a little; but her criticism goes straight to his heart, and contracts it so that it can never again hold quite as much love for her.” — Helen Rowland 

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23. “With imitation being the sincerest form of flattery, I went out there and wanted to be Shawn Michaels 2.” — Christopher Daniels

24. “There is no way to obtain more truth for a proposition by bribery, flattery, or the most passionate argument.” — Eliezer Yudkowsky 

25. “The love of one’s own sex is precious, for it is neither provoked by vanity nor retained by flattery; it is genuine and sincere.” — Maria Mitchell 

26. “Women in Washington should be subjected to the same criticisms and held to the same standards as men. That does not include the assumption that any successful woman has attained her position through flattery, feminine wiles, or her ability to provide maternal comfort to a more powerful man.” — Donna Brazile

27. “The best form of flattery is to be admired, imitated, or respected. I’ve always felt proud our fans look up to us or feel we are inspirational.” — Cheryl James 

28. “I can spot empty flattery and know exactly where I stand. In the end, it’s really only my own approval or disapproval that means anything.” — Agnetha Faltskog 

29. “Imitation is the highest form of flattery, but clones kind of get it wrong because we are promoting individuality and being proud of being yourself.” — Brian Molko 

30. “Imitation is flattery, and The Hills Have Eyes is a classic.” — Michael Berryman 

Famous flattery quotes for getting what you want

Some believe flattery is the key to getting what you desire in life. 

31. “Whenever somebody folds, say, ‘Good laydown.’ It encourages them to fold on a later hand because it makes them feel like you had the best hand, even if you were bluffing. It’s an odd form of flattery that seems to work at the poker table.” — Cheryl Hines 

32. “Flattery always works with me, particularly the flattery of women.” — Carroll O’Connor 

33. “Flattery is a kind of bad money, to which our vanity gives us currency.” — Francois de La Rochefoucauld 

34. “The flattery of posterity is not worth much more than contemporary flattery, which is worth nothing.” — Jorge Luis Borges 

35. “Imitation is the best form of flattery.” — Vivek

36. “From every ancient source, we have testimony to Cleopatra’s irresistible charm, as Plutarch has it, to her ability to speak many languages including, as he puts it, the language of flattery and essentially, to be able to turn people to her will really a great political genius, in that respect.” — Stacy Schiff 

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37. “He who says he hates every kind of flattery, and says it in earnest, certainly does not yet know every kind of flattery.” — Georg C. Lichtenberg

38. “Sheer flattery got me into the theater.” — Carroll O’Connor 

39. “Imitation is flattery. There was once a survey of who was the most imitated celebrity in Latin American countries, especially in Brazil and Argentina, and I was in third place after Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson.” — Walter Mercado

40. “They say imitation is the best form of flattery.” — Chuck Norris 

Flattery quotes and sayings about life

We close with these flattery quotes to live by. 

41. “We should keep silent about those in power; to speak well of them almost implies flattery; to speak ill of them while they are alive is dangerous, and when they are dead is cowardly.” — Jean de la Bruyere 

42. “I have always found it interesting that there are people who regard copyright infringement as a form of flattery.” — Tom Lehrer 

43. “A president aiming for ‘Great’ or ‘Near Great’ status must do more. He must give lots of interviews, make records accessible, and heap the flattery on academia – each of which Mr. Bush has signally failed to do.” — Thomas Frank

44. “Am I the only person in the world who is shocked and amazed at the ongoing flattery of ubergeek Mark Zuckerberg?” — Tom Hodgkinson

45. “Although I am small, ugly, and dirty, I am highly ambitious, and at the slightest flattery, I immediately start to strut like a turkey.” — Italo Calvino 

46. “The most sincere form of flattery is money.” — Jim Cantrell 

47. “This flattery has been rather slow in coming.” — Jack Vance 

48. “L.A. runs on optimism, enthusiasm and flattery.” — Hugh Laurie

49. “Working with Dilip Kumar Sahib, I observed that he was not someone who would be happy with flattery. He only liked good and honest people.” — Manoj Kumar 

50. “To ask advice is in nine cases out of ten to tout for flattery.” — John Churton Collins 

To flatter or not to flatter?

Remember, intention matters. 

If your intent is to inform another that you admire or appreciate something about them, you should go for it. 

It is not flattery if it is an authentic compliment

It becomes flattery when your aim is to control or influence another. 

What is your favorite flattery quote?

Be sure to let us know in the comments. 

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