My task for you before you continue reading: Try to choose one of the principles listed below and focus on improving that. You will notice significant changes in how people treat you if you can improve in just ONE of these areas.
1. Admit when you’re wrong and be humble about your mistakes
I remember a friend in college, Fredrik. We were usually studying in a group after class. And whenever he was wrong about something, he immediately said: “You’re right. I agree.” He really meant it, too, you could hear it in his voice. I was so humbled and impressed by his ability to accept his mistakes and move on from it. All the while, making the other person feel good about themselves. Whenever he was talking, everyone listened. I think he was probably the most respected person in our group of friends. And he was also the most humble and mature of us all, by far. I learned a lot from him and I always respected him deeply. He was humble, warm and incredibly competent.
2. Don’t apologize when you’ve done nothing wrong
Don’t apologize for your mere presence, for stating your opinion, for disagreeing. You don’t need to apologize if you don’t want to do something. Still, when you are in the wrong, take responsibility and apologize like we talked about in the previous point. Just avoid apologizing over nothing.
3. Present yourself respectably
Dress well according to the situation. Clean, well-fitting clothes go a long way. While you don’t have to blow through your bank account to do this, it’s important to dress the part. Practice good grooming habits. Make sure you smell well, take care of your hair, teeth, and nails. Show that you care about how you present yourself. Just imagine someone coming to work in stained clothes, or the person on the bus who just STINKS, it’s pretty hard to get respect from that position. But fortunately, it’s pretty easy to change in comparison.
4. Don’t let your emotions get the best of you
To earn respect, you must be willing to remain calm and collected regardless of the situation. If you lose your cool and allow emotions to take over, it will be much more difficult for others to view you in a positive light. Instead, follow these characteristics of an outgoing person:
- You shouldn’t react emotionally during an argument. A respected person knows to keep their cool when others cannot. While another person may raise their voice to place emphasis on a point to accuse you of something, you respond in a calm manner. When you do so, you can defuse the intense situation and earn the respect of others.
- You should also remain calm in tense situations. For example, say your work environment is stressful. Given this environment, it would be easy for you to lose your cool. However, by maintaining a level head, speaking in a calm voice and not allowing emotion to take over, you show command over the situation. This will attract others to you because they see leadership qualities in you. You will be like a stable rock where they can find their direction.
5. Show that you are a leader
People will listen and follow others whom they respect. With this in mind, by showing natural leadership tendencies, it will make it easy for you to earn the respect of others. Here are some great leadership qualities to have:
- You possess great communication skills. This means you have the innate ability to speak to others on a wide variety of topics. Further, you are able to engage the listener with your words. To accomplish this, you should refrain from telling dirty jokes, using poor language such as cuss words or yelling. Instead, you are warm, friendly and speak with knowledge on the conversation topic. Furthermore, leaders don’t speak with uncertainty by using words such as “ehhm”. They also don’t try to end awkward silences with filler material. They are confident no matter what the situation entails.
- Another trait leaders share is in their body language. To be a good leader, you walk with an upright posture, establish confident eye contact with those you speak to and maintain a steady voice throughout the conversation. By doing this, you attract others with your personality and confidence. Conversely, if you speak quietly with your shoulders huddled and you look down at your shoes, people will perceive you as shy. It is much harder for people to express confidence in you if you don’t have confidence in yourself.
Overall, leaders exhibit these skills naturally. This means they don’t try to act confident, they just are. Now, this may take years of experience to master for you. It did for me. However, when I started taking the time to speak to others and practice these communication skills, I was amazed at how much confidence I gained. It also had an effect on those around me, as I noticed they would ask for my feedback on certain topics. Even if you have to take baby steps to improve your communication skills such as watching yourself in the mirror while speaking or recording a conversation, it’s a good first step towards gaining confidence.
6. You are a problem solver
One of the best ways to earn the respect of your peers is to master the art of problem-solving. Here is a guide to help you with this:
- When a problem occurs, you don’t react emotionally to it. For example, say you are on a trip with a group of coworkers and you try to check into a hotel and they don’t have your reservations. Certainly, this would be a frustrating problem to encounter, but in this case, you don’t complain about the problem. Instead, you deal with it and make sure you fix your reservations in the best way possible.
- You address the problem head on. In this example, show the attendant your work’s travel itinerary if applicable. Another solution could be to call whoever made the arrangements to see what they can do. The goal here is to find action steps to solve your problems instead of complaining to the attendant about it.
- Along with solving the problem, you are diplomatic in your responses. Even if the attendant is rude or unhelpful, you take the high road. You treat them with respect and you work together to find a solution. By doing this, you show your coworkers you are in control of the situation, which can earn their respect.
7. Earn respect by giving it
As you develop confidence, it’s important that you remain humble. There’s nothing more unattractive to others than if you act arrogantly. Instead, treat others with kindness even if they won’t do the same for you. When you treat others with respect, some will appreciate the kindness you show and may respond in kind. While you won’t be able to please everyone, by being nice to all you will gain respect from some of your peers. Of course, you still need to keep clear boundaries when people are disrespectful.
8. Keep your word
The easiest way to lose respect is to say you’ll do something and don’t follow through on it. If you want respect, you must show that you are dependable. When you commit to meetings or obligations, be sure to follow through on them. When you become someone that others can count on, it is then that you earn their respect.
9. Set clear boundaries
What if people take you for granted? What do you do when someone disrespects you? What if someone is rude or mean towards you or someone else? This situations or patterns when you may need to set your boundaries. – So how do you do set your boundaries? Follow these steps.
- Identify and define your boundary in the relevant situation.
- Use non-emotional language to tell the other person they stepped over your boundary. “When you do X, I feel Y, can you do Z instead?”
- Listen to their point of view.
For example, say you asked your friend a question and they rudely say “F*** off”. First, ask yourself, is this something I’m willing to put up with? If the answer is no, go on and tell them what they did wasn’t ok. The most effective way to do this is to say it like this: “When you say that to me, it makes me feel disrespected, can you answer my question seriously instead?” Then you can listen to how they respond and see if you can come to an understanding.
I highly recommend reading and practicing this type of communication, it’s called I-statements or I-messages: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I-message It’s a very effective type of communication in (close) relationships.
– What if the other person doesn’t listen? This usually works if you both have some sort of relationship with each other that you both value in one way or another. It can be your partner, friend, mother, father or someone else. If they are motivated to have a functioning relationship with you, they will probably listen sooner or later. But if the other person isn’t interested in a healthy relationship with you, for example, a random stranger. This method is more of a throw of the dice, they might listen or they might not. That’s when you walk away. Why waste your time on them?
Warning: Mistakes when trying to get respect
10. Mistake: Showing you’re smarter than them
We’ve all seen it. People trying to prove they’re smarter by being a know-it-all, saying you’re wrong about something or correcting your pronunciation. Have you ever respected someone for being like that? Neither have I, but it’s still such an easy trap to fall into. We think that if we prove how smart we are, people will like and respect us. But instead, people are just irritated and annoyed.
11. Mistake: Showing you’re richer than them
Some people respect money, but most people don’t. All you get is that people will either be envious of you or they will think you seem desperate and needy trying to flaunt your wealth. Neither will get you respect. One thing that might is being generous with your money – buy your friends or coworkers a nice treat from time to time. But be careful of making a habit out of paying for stuff, that will only make people see you as an ATM. You want them to value and respect you for more than your assets.
12. When getting respect turns bad
This probably doesn’t apply to you. But if it does, it’s important.
- Trying to intimidate or fight people.
- Making fun of others
- Teasing someone too much
- Belittling others
- Being mean
You might get some “respect” in the moment, but it’s at the cost of your relationships. People will try to avoid you at any cost. Because these behaviors make people feel bad about themselves. Why would anyone want to be close to someone who makes them feel scared and insecure? If you want people to respect AND like you, make them feel secure and good about themselves when they are with you. Support and encourage your friends and partner when they need it, protect and stand up for them. That’s how you get deep, lasting respect from people.
You can get superhero levels of respect. There’s no magic involved. It all comes down to the fundamental principles listed above. To really motivate you, I want you to show you what respect can mean to your life.
With your friends:
You are the first person to be invited to any happenings in your social circle. Your friends seek your approval because they see you as an informal leader of the group. People love hanging out with you because you are confident in yourself but still warm and fun to be with.
At your work:
You get a promotion at work because your boss trusts in your competence and he knows your colleagues listen to you. You like that people ask for your opinion before making a big decision.
In your relationship:
Your partner sees you as an equal and you have a deep mutual respect towards each other. You can be open about your deepest secrets and talk about anything. Your relationship gives you a stable place to always return and recharge your energy. And when you’re up for it, you can always go on an adventure together.
With your family:
You are always welcome. They love and support you, they are grateful when you visit. You’d do anything for them and they’d do anything for you.
How to gain respect from your friends
What if your friends don’t take you seriously or don’t listen to you? What if they tease you too much?
The above principles still apply, but depending on your situation, you may need to do something more drastic to break the pattern. Sometimes you can get “stuck” in a role that you don’t want to be in. Especially in a social circle of friends and it can be hard to break out of it. I think the most important principle is to learn how to set boundaries like we talked about in principle number 9. I would also recommend this guide about dealing with being teased by your friends: http://www.succeedsocially.com/tease
Ultimately, earning respect means you naturally convey confidence and leadership qualities. You don’t allow emotions to control the situation. Instead, you control it. Further, you are willing to earn respect by being kind to others and be dependable. When you develop these qualities, you will naturally and effortlessly earn the respect of others.
P.S. This article is under review and we are updating it even more within a week. Comment below or send us a message if you want us to include anything extra. /David & Viktor