There's a fine line between making a woman feel good about herself and offending her. Learn how _not_ to cross it.
Step 1: Praise her beauty Praise her beauty. It can be a general "you are so gorgeous," or more specific, like, "you have the most kissable lips." Just keep it clean, unless she's an intimate partner. And remember: "Beautiful" always trumps "cute" in the game of compliment-giving.
TIP: Be careful not to get too personal when giving compliments to coworkers.
Step 2: Admire something intangible Laud something less obvious than her looks, like her strength, her outspokenness, or her accomplishments. You'll get points for originality.
Step 3: Cite the unexpected Extol a quality she rarely receives compliments for. If she's used to being told she's beautiful, but wants to be thought of as intelligent, praise her smarts. If she's an egghead who rarely gets kudos for her looks, find something about her appearance to extol. Just remember to keep it truthful.
Step 4: Notice her skin If she has nice skin, tell her so. Women put a lot of stock – not to mention time and effort – in a flawless complexion, so you'll win points for noticing she has one.
Step 5: Avoid this weighty issue Tread carefully around the weight issue. "You look like you've lost weight" can be misconstrued as, "you were fat before." Play it safe with a general comment about her great figure or a specific remark about how terrific her body looks in that outfit.
TIP: Avoid the word "today" as in, "your hair looks nice today." An insecure woman may hear, "your hair is usually a mess."
Step 6: Don't catcall Remember that screaming at a total stranger is not a compliment.
FACT: Some research indicates a person who gives a good compliment is perceived as smart by the receiver.