Things to Say When Someone Says They Look Up to You

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Sarah Koch


Have you ever found yourself in that awkwardly heartwarming moment where someone says they look up to you? Maybe it’s a colleague, a younger sibling, or even that random guy who’s trying to imitate your sandwich assembly prowess.

It’s both flattering and, let’s be honest, a little daunting. What do you say to that? How do you acknowledge their admiration without looking like a pompous peacock or, worse, an emotionless robot?

Whether you’re the reincarnation of Mother Teresa or just a decent human trying to keep it together, let’s dive into some witty, thoughtful, and downright useful responses to have in your back pocket when someone drops the “I look up to you” bomb. Trust me, you’re gonna want these.

Genuine Thankfulness Responses

“Wow, that means a lot to me. Thank you!”

Sometimes, a simple, heartfelt thank you is all it takes. Think about it: wouldn’t you appreciate someone just being genuinely thankful?

By expressing genuine appreciation, you not only validate their feelings but also create a moment of mutual respect. It’s about recognizing their courage to express admiration and showing that you value it.

  • “Wow, that means a lot to me. Thank you!”
  • “I appreciate that more than you know.”
  • “You just made my day with that.”
  • “Hearing this makes me feel so grateful.”
  • “Your words really touch me, thank you.”

Humorous Replies

“Are you sure? I just tripped over my own feet this morning.”

Humor is a fantastic way to lighten the mood and show humility. Plus, who doesn’t love a good laugh?

A light-hearted reply works wonders, especially if you’re trying to deflect some of the intensity and make the moment more comfortable for both parties.

  • “Are you sure? I just tripped over my own feet this morning.”
  • “You might want to set your standards a bit higher!”
  • “Wow, you must have REALLY low standards!”
  • “And here I am, just trying to find my other sock.”
  • “Clearly, you haven’t seen my cooking disasters!”

Encouraging Answers

“That’s so kind. I’m sure you’ll achieve amazing things too.”

When someone looks up to you, they’re often searching for encouragement and validation. Give them that little boost of confidence they might need.

Encouraging replies can help them see their potential and motivate them to keep aiming high. It’s like passing the torch of awesomeness.

  • “That’s so kind. I’m sure you’ll achieve amazing things too.”
  • “If I can do it, so can you!”
  • “You have no idea what you’re capable of achieving.”
  • “You’re on a great path, keep going!”
  • “I believe in you. You’ve got this!”

Reflections on Shared Experiences

“Remember when we did [shared experience]? We’ve come a long way since then.”

Reflecting on shared experiences builds a deeper connection and illustrates growth. It shows them that you recognize their journey as well as yours.

Mentioning a shared experience can make the moment more personal and meaningful. It’s like taking a little stroll down memory lane together.

  • “Remember when we did [shared experience]? We’ve come a long way since then.”
  • “Who knew back when we [shared experience] that we’d be here now?”
  • “It’s amazing how far we’ve both come since [shared experience].”
  • “Thinking back to [shared experience] really puts things in perspective, doesn’t it?”
  • “We’ve both grown so much since [shared experience].”

Humble Denials

“I’m just trying my best, just like you.”

Sometimes, humility is the best approach, especially if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed by the praise.

Humble denials can help ground the conversation and show that you’re just as human as they are. It’s a subtle way of saying, “Hey, I’m not perfect, but I’m glad you think highly of me.”

  • “I’m just trying my best, just like you.”
  • “Honestly, I’m just figuring things out as I go.”
  • “I have my off days too, trust me.”
  • “I’m flattered, but I’m no superhero.”
  • “I’m just doing what I can, nothing more.”

Inspirational Quotes

“As Mahatma Gandhi once said, ‘Be the change you wish to see in the world.'”

Quoting a wise person can not only inspire but also deflect some of the focus off of you and onto a universal truth.

Inspirational quotes provide a bit of wisdom while validating their admiration. It’s like giving them a little piece of timeless advice to keep in their back pocket.

  • “As Mahatma Gandhi once said, ‘Be the change you wish to see in the world.'”
  • “Remember, ‘Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.’ – Winston Churchill”
  • “‘It always seems impossible until it’s done.’ – Nelson Mandela”
  • “‘The only limit to our realization of tomorrow is our doubts of today.’ – Franklin D. Roosevelt”
  • “‘Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.’ – Steve Jobs”

Lighthearted Sarcasm

“Well, at least one of us knows what they’re doing!”

A dash of sarcasm can keep things light and playful, especially if both of you are comfortable with that type of humor.

Sarcasm can be a fun way to downplay the situation and keep the conversation lively. Just make sure they know it’s all in good spirit!

  • “Well, at least one of us knows what they’re doing!”
  • “You clearly haven’t seen my to-do list.”
  • “I’ll be sure to tell my mom. She’ll be so proud.”
  • “I must be really good at faking it then!”
  • “Are you sure I’m the right person to look up to?”

Self-Deprecating Humor

“If you saw my laundry pile, you might change your mind.”

Self-deprecating humor shows humility and makes you more relatable. Plus, it’s a great way to get a chuckle.

Self-deprecating humor helps to break the ice and show that you’re not taking yourself too seriously. It’s a gentle reminder that nobody’s perfect.

  • “If you saw my laundry pile, you might change your mind.”
  • “My dog thinks I’m just a snack Barista.”
  • “Clearly, you haven’t seen my dance moves.”
  • “Thanks, but my WiFi password struggles say otherwise.”
  • “Let’s hope my life doesn’t get Netflix ratings!”

Genuine Encouragement to Look Inward

“I’m glad you think that, but you should really look up to yourself. You’re amazing.”

Turning the focus back on them encourages self-reflection and self-respect. It suggests that they should recognize their own worth.

Encouraging them to look inward can be empowering. It’s like handing them the mirror and saying, “See how awesome you are?”

  • “I’m glad you think that, but you should really look up to yourself. You’re amazing.”
  • “Honestly, you should see how incredible you are.”
  • “You have no idea how much potential you have.”
  • “You inspire others too, don’t forget that.”
  • “Remember, you’re just as admirable.”

Acknowledging the Responsibility

“Thank you. I’ll do my best to live up to that.”

Acknowledge the responsibility that comes with being someone’s role model. It’s a way of honoring their words and committing to your own growth.

Recognizing the weight of their admiration shows that you value their perspective and are mindful of your influence.

  • “Thank you. I’ll do my best to live up to that.”
  • “It means a lot. I’ll strive to be worthy of it.”
  • “I appreciate that and will keep it in mind.”
  • “That’s really touching. I’ll do my best.”
  • “Those are big shoes to fill, but I’ll try.”

Replies for a Girl

Communicating with a girl who looks up to you may require a bit more tenderness and understanding. Perhaps it’s your younger sister, a friend, or a mentee. Here’s how to make such a moment extra special.

Expressing admiration can be a formative experience for young girls. Your words might shape their self-esteem and aspirations, so tread with kindness and thoughtfulness.

  • “You inspire me too, you know.”
  • “I’m really touched by that, thank you.”
  • “Remember, you’re amazing just the way you are.”
  • “I’m always here for you if you need anything.”
  • “It makes me so happy to hear that from you.”
  • “Never stop believing in yourself.”
  • “I think you’re capable of even greater things.”
  • “Seeing you grow has been incredible.”
  • “You have a light that’s all your own.”
  • “I’m honored you feel that way about me.”

Replies for a Guy

Communicating with a guy who looks up to you can be a unique dynamic. Whether it’s a younger friend, a peer, or someone you mentor, here’s how you can handle that with a dash of strength and camaraderie.

Guys often look for role models in terms of strength, resilience, and guiding principles. Responses that emphasize these qualities can be particularly meaningful.

  • “I’m really honored by that, man.”
  • “You know, you’re doing great yourself.”
  • “Thanks, it means a lot. Let’s keep pushing forward.”
  • “I’ve got your back if you ever need anything.”
  • “Keep up the good work; you’ve got greatness in you.”
  • “Let’s continue to learn from each other.”
  • “Hearing that from you is really motivating.”
  • “We all have our challenges; thanks for looking up to me.”
  • “You’re going to achieve amazing things too, I know it.”
  • “Let’s make sure we both keep growing.”

The Power of Vulnerability

Let’s switch gears for a moment. Have you ever thought about why people look up to you? Sometimes it’s not just your accomplishments, but your authenticity and vulnerability. People admire those who exhibit genuine strength by showing who they really are, warts and all.

Brené Brown, the queen of vulnerability research, once said, “Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change.” Own your flaws, your struggles, and your human moments. When someone tells you they look up to you, share a tidbit of your vulnerability. It makes you relatable and real.

Being a Role Model Without The Pedestal

Being a role model doesn’t mean being perfect. Quite the opposite, actually. People look up to you because they see a part of themselves in your journey.

  1. Acknowledge your mistakes: “I’ve made my fair share of mistakes. It’s about learning and growing.”
  2. Share your journey: “The path here wasn’t a straight line, and that’s okay.”
  3. Be approachable: “I’m always here if you need advice or just someone to listen.”

The Ripple Effect

Remember, the words you choose don’t just end with the person you’re talking to. There’s a ripple effect. Your encouragement can inspire them to uplift others, creating a chain of positivity and growth.

Next time someone says they look up to you, think about your words as a pebble thrown into a pond. The ripples spread far and wide, touching shores you might never see.

Things To Keep In Mind

When someone expresses admiration for you, it’s more than just a compliment. It’s an opportunity to reflect, inspire, and connect. Responding thoughtfully can make all the difference in how that moment is remembered.

  • Stay humble: People connect more deeply with those who are genuine.
  • Be encouraging: Use the opportunity to lift them up.
  • Share wisdom: Offer advice or quotes that have helped you.
  • Show gratitude: Appreciate their courage in expressing their feelings.
  • Be relatable: Share your vulnerabilities and lessons learned along the way.

Being someone people look up to is both an honor and a responsibility. So, the next time you hear those words, take a deep breath, smile, and remember—your response could make a lasting impact.

And remember, if all else fails, you can always go with, “Wow, thanks! But seriously, you should see me trying to assemble IKEA furniture. Total disaster.”

Let’s keep this conversation going. Have you ever had someone say they look up to you? How did you respond? Share your experiences and let’s learn from each other. Cheers to being the imperfectly perfect role models we are!