Men have their own way of complimenting and letting people know they like something: “the fact that I am still here means I am okay” is a phrase I hear over and over. It is meant to reassure the woman in his life that he loves her. If he didn't love her, he would not stay. (For the sake of clarity, when the reader sees the word "woman," think feminine.)
"If I choose to complain this time, which I rarely do, it is really bad! I will not tell you when it is good. No news is good news."
Men are prone to under- complimenting. They would do well to remember that men and women have, traditionally, communicated compliments differently. I have repeatedly heard women express the wish that men communicated differently and men express the wish that women communicated differently. In my experience, that wish makes sense and is rarely followed. What would happen if both sides communicated in the way the audience would hear it best? What would happen if we reprogrammed our mind to hear what the person is saying rather than ask a whole gender to change? Each way works. Find the way that works in your relationship.
There is also a catch in praise (there is an article with that title if you want to google it- highly recommend it), in that by complimenting someone, the person complimenting has a demonstrated power over the other. If you accept my praise, absent but implicit is that when I criticize, you will be open to that.
Stereotypically, the female receiver of this communication style is not sure where she stands.
She may prefer knowing ( in her style) that she is doing well and prefer knowing she is not doing well. Ask, rather than assuming she/he likes the style you're using.
Women have their own way of doing this.
A woman supervisor is more likely to tell a subordinate that their work was acceptable- communicating both negative and positive. This style of communication tends to have a different impact on the receiver if it is a man. Some men responded to such a style with confusion. “Why is she telling me this? Obviously, I am doing okay, I don't need to be coddled!”
If you want to read more about this, I will direct you to Deb Tannen, PhD- Talking 9 to 5