“Just say something nice! Compliment her!” This is the kind of dating advice that guys get from their grandparents. In the complex, often frustrating world of modern dating, however, it’s not quite that simple.

Guys today know that it’s not enough to compliment a woman– you have to compliment a woman correctly. But it’s not always clear how.

Here are 7 things that we’ve heard from the fairer sex regarding exactly how to show your appreciation for them.

1. Tell the truth.

The most important quality shared by all meaningful compliments is sincerity.

If you don’t think actually she’s the “most radiant vision you have ever seen,” then stick with “You look really pretty.” If you don’t think she looks “really pretty,” then just say “pretty.”

If you don’t believe it, then don’t expect her to.

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2. Surprise her.

Don’t always just compliment her when she comes to the door, all gussied up for your fancy dinner. Compliment her in the morning when you wake up together. Compliment her when you’re watching “Law and Order.” Compliment her when she’s all sweaty and gross (but actually sexy) after a jog.

However, it’s important to choose your moments and …

3. Don’t overdo it.

If you’re constantly throwing compliments at her, she’s either going to get embarrassed or build up an immunity to it. Compliment her when you’re truly moved to.

4. Make sure you’re complimenting her.

“I love your dress,” is not a compliment.

Not only are you taking about her dress instead of her, you’re talking about how you feel instead of the obvious fact of her beauty, grace and taste.

Something like, “that dress is amazing on you,” will do the trick.

5. Make sure you’re complimenting her.

“Wow, I didn’t know you could cook,” is not a compliment. That’s a sudden acknowledgment of a skill that, for some reason, you didn’t believe she could possibly have. The disbelief overshadows the acknowledgment.

Just tell her she’s a good cook. Your prior awareness or lack thereof is irrelevant.

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6. Don’t use a compliment as a smoke screen.

Once you start using complements to cover your ass, they lose their efficacy completely. If you say something nice to her to distract her from some screw up that she’s inevitably going to find out about anyway, she’s less likely to believe you next time. Even if you’re sincere.

7. Get specific.

The real key to complementing a woman is to really appreciate her. Pay attention. Really take the time to notice the details. Then tell her one that she’s never heard before.