IF YOU’VE ever heard the phrase, “you catch more flies with honey,” then you’ve probably been to the south. The southern United States are known for being home to one of the most hospitable and charming populations in the world. When you’re here, you’re family, and when you leave, we want you to leave with a special place in your heart for the good ol’ south. If you use any one of these quintessentially southern compliments, you’ll be sure to bring a smile to a southerner’s face.

“What good manners you have!”

Southerners take great pride in their ability to charm. You’re sure to notice the use of ‘sir’ and ‘ma’am’ when you find yourself in Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, or Tennessee. Accolades for courteousness are the best way to acknowledge a southerner’s good upbringing.

“I love your rooster decor.”

Visiting the home of a true southerner is like walking into a warm, welcoming cocoon of hospitality and love. It will be impossible to ignore the curated adornment of roosters on tiles, hand towels, cookie jars, and basically every inch of the kitchen. Noticing the designers collection is the best way to win their affections.

“This is the best biscuit I have ever tasted.”

Visiting the south is like stepping into a carnival. There are delicious treats around every corner. If you find yourself in the kitchen of a southern cook, refusing food is the first way to lose their trust. Even if you claim you’ve just eaten, an array of delicious cuisine will be presented to you. Denying them the joy of watching you crumble under the bliss of deliciousness is basically an insult in the south. Drink the tea. Eat the biscuit (especially if it’s offered with homemade apple butter) and tell them how debilitatingly fat and happy you’ve become because of it.

“This would win first place at the county fair!”

Whether it’s canned peppers, jams, pies, or cakes, the biggest compliment you can give to a southern cook is encouraging them to enter their homemade goods to be judged by the community at the county fair.

“What a beautiful garden you have!”

Flower gardens and vegetable gardens are a sign of hard work and dedication. If you take the time to admire the flora in a southerners yard, there’s a good chance they’ll be so giddy with excitement that you’ll end up chatting about everything from planting the seeds to the bugs they found on the azaleas last week.

“You sure know how to get all the meat off that chicken wing.”

When it comes to getting the full worth of things like chicken wings, apples, and watermelons, southerners don’t play around. Great pride comes along with having little to nothing left on the bone, rind, or core.

“That’s a really cool tractor!”

Yard maintenance is a major part of life for anyone living in the rural south. The size and quality of a lawn mower is somewhat of a class distinction. Whether they’re just using it for lawn care or they’re entering it into the tractor pull contest, you are sure to put a smile on a southern gentleman’s face when commenting on their John Deere.

“That camo looks great on you.”

It doesn’t have to be hunting season, nor do you need to be in the woods to wear camouflage. In the south, it’s a commonly acceptable choice of fashion. They’ve even begun to incorporate bright pink for the ladies.

“Wow! That’s a huge truck!”

You’re sure to win some points with a southern boy if you give a nod to his truck. In the south, size matters and the bigger, louder, and muddier, the better.

“Bless your heart.”

This one is tricky. Be very careful how you say it. With a genuine, smooth tone, this can be the sweetest possible thing to say to someone in the south. Say it with the slightest bit of sarcasm, though, and you’ll send the wrong message.