In a world where relationships are the foundation of society, respect stands as the cornerstone on which all human interaction is built.
Respect is necessary for trust, cooperation, and harmony; all of which shape the quality of our lives. It reflects the values, character, and integrity by which we navigate our relationships.
If you want to know how to get people to respect you, you’ll need to understand the fundamentals of respect.
Respect is a privilege earned, and not to be taken for granted. That privilege paves the way for healthier relationships, smoother social interactions, and better opportunities. How you command respect and act with respect elevates you in the eyes of others, whether they are personal or professional connections.
Getting people to respect you will make a huge difference in your life. Relationships are much harder when people don’t respect you.
At its core, respect transcends superficial niceness and empty gestures. Respect is an acknowledgment of a person’s worth and individuality. It honors our differences and encourages acceptance of one another.
Respect is a step further than niceness and politeness toward treating people with authenticity and kindness.
In this article, we will show you how to get people to respect you, the behaviors behind earning respect, and provide practical strategies to gain the respect of others.
We will explore the importance of self-respect, and why it is necessary for you to have respect for yourself if you want to get respect from other people.
Earning respect is a journey—a lifelong pursuit that will elevate your relationships and enrich your life. Adopting the appropriate perspectives and encouraging the right habits will help you cultivate the behaviors that will allow you to earn the respect of others.
To begin, we should start with the foundational qualities of respect.
The Two Primary Definitions of Respect
Respect is a complex concept that often has two primary definitions:
Valuing and Considering Others
This definition of respect refers to the regard and consideration you have for an individual. It involves recognizing their worth and dignity, regardless of their background or differences.
When you respect someone in this sense, you treat them with kindness and courtesy. You acknowledge their feelings, perspectives, and rights. This aspect of respect involves empathizing with others and refraining from judgment or discrimination.
It is about valuing and considering another for who they are as a human being.
Adherence to Social Norms and Rules
Another definition of respect pertains to following societal norms and rules. This form of respect involves obeying laws, abiding by social expectations, and complying with authority figures like parents, teachers, or leaders.
This aspect of respect helps maintain order and stability.
These two definitions of respect are not mutually exclusive. Instead, they often interact and overlap.
For example, when you respect a law (the second definition), you are indirectly showing respect for the principles and values that underpin it, as well as the individuals it is meant to protect (the first definition).
Conversely, when you respect a person (the first definition), you may also respect their views and opinions, even if you don’t agree with them, as long as those views don’t conflict with fundamental principles or laws of society (the second definition).
In essence, respect encompasses both valuing the individual as well as adhering to acceptable societal norms.
Acknowledging these two dimensions matters when your goal is to earn respect. You can’t demonstrate personal respect if you support or encourage social disrespect through discrimination and prejudice.
Similarly, you can’t encourage social respect without the personal respect of people who are different than you.
What makes someone respect you is practicing both these aspects of respect. The average person will interpret a discrepancy as hypocrisy.
The Foundation of Respect
The foundation of respect is recognizing the worth of every individual and their place in the world. It is to act in the belief that even though a person’s actions may be wrong or different, they are still worthy of being treated with dignity.
In that way, you demonstrate integrity, equality, and fairness which results in respect. That respect is fundamental to healthy relationships on a personal and societal level.
We first need to explore these qualities to better understand how to earn respect.
Recognition of Individual Worth
Respect starts with recognizing and valuing the inherent worth and dignity of everyone. Everyone deserves to be treated with basic human dignity regardless of their background, beliefs, or differences because they are human. No one should need to earn the most basic level of worth and dignity.
Empathy allows you to connect with people on a deeper level. It is to attempt to put yourself in their shoes to better understand their perspective and accept their emotions. Empathy allows you to respond to other people with sensitivity and kindness—two qualities that are essential for healthy social relationships.
Being open to different perspectives, cultures, and ideas fosters respect. Open-mindedness is a willingness to learn from others and accept that your way of seeing the world isn’t the only valid one. Everyone has a unique perspective to offer. Open-mindedness allows you to better practice empathy and learn from others.
Respect is often based on the belief that individuals are and should be treated as equal, regardless of their differences. This includes acting in a way that respects their rights, opportunities, and the principle of fairness. One should be mindful to act in a way that honors differences in race, sex, ability or disability, religion, or a way of life that may not be right for you.
Trust is closely linked to respect. You simply can’t respect someone that you don’t trust. A respected person is someone who is reliable, sticks to their word, and follows through on their actions. Other people need to be able to trust you to be consistent and honest.
Respecting personal boundaries and consent is an acknowledgment of individual worth. Acknowledging and respecting boundaries shows that you are giving others the consideration they deserve.
People should have control over their own bodies, space, and decisions, and respecting these boundaries is a cornerstone of respect. People who don’t respect your boundaries are not acting with respect.
Effective communication is essential to fostering respect between people or parties.
This means listening actively, considering other viewpoints, and expressing your thoughts and opinions in a clear and considerate manner.
Clear communication also goes a long way toward healthy conflict resolution. Disagreements are a normal part of life. Your ability to navigate them and find resolutions without causing disrespect or harm matters in how other people view you.
To get respect you have to give it. Communication is a big part of how you gain respect.
Simple acts of politeness and courtesy, such as saying “please” and “thank you” or holding the door for someone, can go a long way in demonstrating respect in everyday interactions.
In many cases, these smaller actions are more important than the big ones. People may assume you’re putting your energy into the big actions but neglecting the small ones. Anyone who looks at the small actions will see consistency in your character.
7 Ways To Gain The Respect Of Others
Getting people to respect you is a common aspiration. Not only is it desirable socially, but it reflects your character and actions.
Personal and professional relationships are much better when glued together with healthy respect. Respect demonstrates trust and reliability. It can also teach others how to treat you by providing an example of how to treat others.
But how do you get respect from others? What makes people respect you?
Respect is derived from repeated actions or behaviors that demonstrate respectability. The following are habits that you will need to practice regularly.
And don’t worry! Most people will accept and appreciate your effort even if you don’t get it right all the time.
1. Be confident but not arrogant.
Confidence is attractive but arrogance is not. But what’s the difference?
Confidence is being self-assured without putting other people down. It’s knowing that you are worthy, capable, valuable, and have unique things to bring to the world.
Arrogance, on the other hand, often contains those qualities but they are at the expense of others.
Arrogance says, “I’m great, and I am better than you.” Confidence says, “I’m great, and so are you.” Arrogance puts people down, confidence picks other people up.
A common concern for people who aren’t confident is to cross the threshold between confidence and humility. The truth is that you shouldn’t always strive to be humble. You have to be your own biggest cheerleader if you want opportunities in life. It’s okay to be good at things and take credit for things that you did.
Problematic behavior begins when you start claiming credit for the work of others or putting other people down to elevate yourself.
2. Set clear boundaries.
Emotionally healthy, respectful people honor and respect boundaries. Boundaries help to define how you allow others to treat you, and what kind of behavior is acceptable.
Not only do boundaries help to keep you safe and healthy, they also communicate self-assurance and confidence which are two qualities that cause others to respect you.
Boundaries will help you stop being a doormat to people who don’t respect you.
But, there is a problem. People with poor boundaries often receive a shock when they start establishing healthy boundaries. They may find that other people react with anger instead of support. They may also find that they lose friends or some people stop talking to them.
That’s okay! This is normal. Why is it normal? Because when you don’t have healthy boundaries, other people view you as a tool to use rather than as a valuable person. When you start setting healthy boundaries, they find they can no longer use you as their personal tool.
It’s okay to let these people go. Healthy, respectful people will honor and appreciate your boundaries. Healthy boundaries are one of many signs you respect yourself. Unhealthy boundaries infer you have no self-respect.
3. Lead by example.
There are few things people dislike more than a hypocrite. Leading by example is the easiest, surest way to demonstrate to people that you walk the walk, not just talk the talk.
People need leaders and they are often inspired by the people who do choose to walk. Anyone can talk, and when they do it’s often just hot air.
The best way to lead by example is to be willing to do what you would ask anyone else to do; and sometimes do it. Granted, there are exceptions and considerations to make. Sometimes it’s best to delegate responsibility or ask someone to do something for you because they are better at it.
It doesn’t have to be a perfect one-to-one trade. It’s more like—if you ask someone to sweep a floor, you should be willing to mop it. Everyone’s good at different things and there’s nothing wrong with that.
4. Be honest and trustworthy.
Honesty is an essential component of respect. People just don’t respect dishonesty. It makes them not trust you which means they won’t respect you.
Honesty and trustworthiness have different layers to them. White lies are a normal part of social interaction. There is room for debate on whether they are appropriate. A lie is a lie, after all. But society has deemed them okay in certain circumstances. Most people will forgive that if it’s a circumstance that warrants it. But if you can tell the truth, it’s better to do that.
Trustworthiness is also about reliability. You need to do what you say you’re going to do whether you make a promise or not. If you say you’re going to be there, then be there. If you say you’re going to help, then help.
Sure, things come up and life happens, but you should always strive to do what you say you will. That builds trust, which builds trustworthiness. Consistency in words and actions matters.
5. Learn to communicate effectively.
Effective communication comes down to listening to the person you’re talking to and replying with clarity. It’s not calling people out or getting into arguments as “communication.”
Active listening is focusing your attention and thoughts on what you are currently being told. That is, you’re not distracted, you’re not thinking of your reply, and you’re considering their words.
A good way to confirm that you understand is to restate their point back to them in their own words so they can tell you if you understand.
Talking to a person is a skill of its own. You want to think about how to present your words clearly and concisely. Avoid rambling, getting off-topic, or changing the topic before it’s determined that you’re both ready to move on.
Take some time to think about what you want to say before you open your mouth. Some might find it awkward, but it’s also awkward to stick your foot in your mouth by speaking too soon.
6. Learn to be respectful and empathetic.
Acting with respect and empathy will earn you respect. To get respect you have to give it, which many people just don’t understand.
You may have heard someone say, “Well, they have to earn my respect.” To some degree that’s true, but you can’t build a bridge with both people refusing to do any of the work.
Practicing respectfulness for others is about courtesy, politeness, and consideration. You arrive at respectfulness by being empathetic and listening. Treat everyone with kindness and consideration regardless of their age, background, position, or beliefs.
7. Be open to feedback and constructive criticism.
Constructive criticism is an essential part of personal growth. We don’t often have an accurate perspective of ourselves because we are filtering our actions through our own perceptions.
Feedback and constructive criticism from someone who is neutral or who you can trust to be honest can help you identify weaknesses and grow as a person.
Many people take offense to feedback and constructive criticism. It doesn’t feel good to be told that some part of you may not be the best. However, personal improvement rarely feels good. Much of the time it’s deeply uncomfortable because you’re confronting yourself.
The ability to receive feedback and constructive criticism demonstrates a great deal of self-control and emotional intelligence.
That doesn’t mean that all feedback or constructive criticism is valid. The other person may not fully understand your perspective or be missing vital information—and that’s okay! That’s one place where effective communication becomes essential.
Health Benefits of Giving and Receiving Respect
Giving and receiving respect provides mental and physical health benefits that you may not expect.
Health is influenced by so many different facets of life that it’s hard to quantify them all. Still, it’s quite easy to draw a line between improved health and giving and getting respect.
Respect reduces conflict, which reduces stress, anxiety, and depression. Conflict disrupts your peace of mind which translates to negative feelings.
Respect encourages healthier relationships which helps to build a strong social support network when life isn’t going so well. Supportive, respectful relationships help improve longevity and reduce stress. Stress produces chemicals like cortisol which can have a number of negative health effects when chronic.
Respectful interactions are tied to enhanced self-esteem, self-worth, and self-confidence. It’s easier to feel good and good about yourself when other people demonstrate that your individuality matters.
In turn, these feelings help provide happiness, contentment, and emotional stability. Furthermore, self-respect also builds emotional resilience which will help you overcome adversity in your life.
A Final Word On Respect
Respect serves an all-too-important function in social interactions. It is a sign of the unity, empathy, and civility that we are all capable of.
Respect is not a superficial courtesy. It’s something that everyone deserves, something that can shape your character, relationships, and life.
Respect acknowledges the intrinsic worth of the individual whether it be commanding the respect of others or if you need to learn some self-respect.
However, respect isn’t just a privilege to be granted but a privilege to be earned. The way to earn that respect is through consistent, genuine, and considerate actions toward others.
Respect is a bridge that connects us all. It’s something that can reach across culture, age, and background. It encourages understanding, harmony, and growth. It’s a cornerstone of trust and successful relationships.
As you take these insights into your own life, remember that respect is not a destination but a journey. Let respect guide your actions and shape your character. As you do, you will not only earn the respect of others but also contribute to a better world.