If you’re unsure how to say you’re proud of someone without feeling like you’re talking down to them, you’ve come to the right place.
Below, we’ll discuss when you can use the phrase I’m proud of you at work and elsewhere.
After that, we’ll look at what to say instead of I’m proud of you when your relationship with the other person isn’t quite close enough.
Is It Correct to Say “I’m Proud of You”?
The phrase I’m proud of you is perfectly correct.
You can use this phrase to commend another person on a job well done and let them know that you are pleased with what they have achieved.
Saying you are proud of someone is high praise and will usually be received as a compliment. For instance, it’s great to hear this phrase from your boss or a parent.
However, it can be somewhat condescending to say you’re proud of someone if you had nothing to do with their achievement and your approval is unsolicited.
So, use this phrase with caution! To show you how, we’ve drafted two examples below.
First, let’s look at how you must use this phrase in a regular sentence, perhaps when speaking to a friend or loved one in a private setting:
Congratulations on graduating, Yasmin! I’m proud of you.
Next, have a look at how you can use this phrase in a work email:
Your presentation blew the client away yesterday.
I’m proud of you, and I’m sure the team will share that sentiment.
Although the phrase I’m proud of you is correct and generally a nice sentiment, it can come across as a tad patronizing in some circumstances.
Therefore, you can use one or more of the synonyms in our list to mix up your phrasing and avoid any awkwardness in the future!
7 Alternative Ways to Say “I’m Proud of You”
Below, you’ll find 7 ways to say I’m proud of you without saying it directly:
- Good work
- You’ve made me very proud
- Nicely done
- You’ve done well
- I’m happy for you
- You deserve this
- Well done
1. Good Work
If you’re unsure how to tell someone you’re proud of them in a professional setting, we would recommend the simple phrase, good work.
This phrase allows you to commend an employee without being condescending.
After all, just because someone works for you doesn’t mean they ache for your approval!
Rather than commenting on how their achievements have made you proud, you can simply comment on the quality of their work overall.
This phrase is complimentary without being overly familiar.
Therefore, let’s see it in an email sample:
I think your draft is of a very high quality, and I have forwarded it to print.
2. You’ve Made Me Very Proud
You’ve made me very proud is another way to say I’m proud of you in a private or personal setting.
This phrase is heartfelt and emotive. Therefore, it wouldn’t be suitable for an email to a colleague at work.
However, work isn’t everything!
Thus, you can use this phrase in a letter to your boyfriend, girlfriend, or partner when they have achieved something important.
You’re a team after all, and it’s good to be proud when your teammate excels!
Consider the example letter below:
Congrats on getting published!
You’ve made me and your children very proud.
3. Nicely Done
Nicely done is a friendly and casual phrase that you can use in an email to a coworker when they have done a particularly good job at work or on a project.
This phrase is far too informal for an email to your boss or a client.
However, if you have developed a strong rapport with your colleagues at work, you can generally do away with the formal phrasing in your emails.
This phrase is even considered business casual in some professional settings.
Therefore, there are certainly occasions on which you can use it when speaking to a colleague you don’t know particularly well.
It’s always important to consider the style and culture of your workplace when it comes to phrasing your inter-office emails!
Let’s see this phrase in an email example:
The office has been abuzz about your recent article all morning.
4. You’ve Done Well
The phrase you’ve done well is a great way to acknowledge an employee’s high-quality work without getting too personal or crossing any professional boundaries.
Therefore, this alternative is a better option than I’m proud of you in a large, corporate setting.
Whereas small business environments may cultivate more closely-knit relationships between the owners and their staff, corporate settings have stricter rules of professionalism.
Thus, you’ve done well is a safe choice if you are a senior member of your team giving praise to someone who works under you.
Consider this example:
You’ve done well with this, and I’m sure the board will agree.
5. I’m Happy for You
I’m happy for you is a different way to say I’m proud of you when you want to show your support for someone instead of expressing your pride in them.
This is a great phrase to use if you want to show encouragement without being patronizing.
Moreover, it comes across as sincere without overstepping any professional boundaries.
This phrase is perfectly suitable for a professional setting.
Therefore, you can use it when a colleague has received some good news, either at work or in their personal life.
To see what we mean, check out this sample email:
Congratulations on your promotion!
I’m very happy for you.
6. You Deserve This
You can say you deserve this to a friend or coworker when they have worked very hard to achieve something and have succeeded in the end.
This phrase will remind the receiver that it was their perseverance that led to their success. Thus, they should celebrate what they have achieved.
This phrase comes across as sincere enough for a message to a friend.
However, it is suitably professional for a work setting as well.
Therefore, let’s see how you might use this phrase in a private context with this example sentence:
I hope you enjoy your graduation. Remember, you deserve this.
7. Well Done
Well done is a great phrase to use when you are a senior member of your team and you are commending an employee for the high quality of their work.
If you work in a corporate setting, phrases like I’m proud of you may be just a touch too familiar for an email to a member of your team.
After all, although you should invest in your team members and help them excel in their roles, the last thing you want to be accused of in an office setting is favoritism!
Well done is just as encouraging as I’m proud of you without coming across as parental or overly invested.
Check out how we’ve used it in our final example:
I am very impressed by the detail in this report.