When you think about those you respect the most, can you name the things that you respect about them?
Furthermore, are there traits that they have in common?
Chances are, those traits aren’t just admired by you—they command respect from everyone these people interact with.
Below are 11 different behaviors you can incorporate into your daily life that will inspire others to respect you more:
1. Have confident body language.
Look at the people you respect and observe how they hold themselves.
Do they have good posture and walk with confidence? Or do they hunch over and scuttle around like roaches?
If you want to command respect from others, stand tall in your confidence. Work on your posture and walking gait so that you hold yourself as straight as possible and move with grace.
If you’re having difficulty with this, watch videos of those you respect and emulate some of their body language while adapting it to your personality.
The way you carry yourself will speak volumes about you and will inform other people’s behavior toward you. You’ll draw a lot more respect from others if you stand and move like a king or queen might.
2. Speak articulately.
Your speech plays a huge role in earning respect from others.
Many people either rush while speaking so that everything comes across as urgent, or they fill their sentences with “uh” and “like” and “you know?”
Furthermore, many people make their statements sound like questions, likely because they’ve been told that speaking assertively comes across as “bossy” or aggressive.”
Pay attention to those who are in positions of power and esteem, and listen to how they speak. How much respect and admiration would you have for a CEO or world leader who sounds like a Kardashian?
A good example of an effective speaker is the late great actor Christopher Lee. He had tremendous presence, both in his bearing and speech patterns and from his overall body language. He wouldn’t have had such presence if he flopped around and spoke like a high school student when he was in his forties and beyond.
3. Display immense self-control.
Being able to control one’s actions and emotions is a behavioral trait that inspires immense respect.
We tend to cringe at people who act childishly or irresponsibly, while we respect and appreciate those who can keep strong emotions in check and who don’t behave in ways that shame or demean them.
It’s great to have a chuckle over something, but don’t get hysterical. Keep your temper as well as your humor in check, and don’t lash out when and if others upset you.
Some of the best ways to ensure self-control in all situations are to avoid intoxication in public, release built-up emotions via exercise, and meditate regularly.
Note that idiots don’t respect self-control the way that bright people do. They tend to value physical strength, obvious power, vulgarity, and ostentatious wealth.
As a result, many people adjust their behavior to fit in with those around them. For example, they might change their posture and start swearing regularly if they’re surrounded by those who behave in this manner.
Keep in mind that the best ship captains interact with their crew members in a friendly manner but don’t behave as they do. Maintain distance and keep your dignity intact.
Those around you don’t need to like you as a friend to respect you.
4. Never indulge in gossip.
Think about a person you know who’s always trash-talking others behind their backs. How much respect do you have for them? And by extension, how trustworthy would you consider them to be?
Refrain from gossiping about other people, as that reflects badly upon you.
Epictetus, the 2nd-century Stoic philosopher, said that engaging in gossip wastes valuable time and energy that could otherwise be spent elsewhere. Furthermore, it reflects poorly on one’s reputation and character, implying a lack of self-control and misplaced priorities.
If you feel unimpressed by those who gossip about others, don’t take part in that kind of behavior. There are more genteel and worthwhile subjects to discuss beyond what Barbara did at the company holiday party.
5. Educate yourself so that you’re knowledgeable in topics that are important to you.
How often have you lost respect for someone who made a random statement about a topic or another person but had no evidence or reference to back it up?
When and if there’s a subject that you feel passionate about, try to learn as much about it as possible. That way, you’ll be able to discuss it with confidence and authority, both of which will lead others to trust what you are saying and respect you all the more for it.
6. Be less accommodating.
There’s an unhealthy expectation these days where the rest of the world is being asked to accommodate other people’s hypersensitivities. In essence, this requires asking competent adults to hamstring themselves to pander to others’ weaknesses.
Those who demand special treatment because they lack coping skills are rarely respected by others, whereas those who stand firm and don’t bend over backward for their sake are admired.
People have free will and rein to live their lives however they see fit: that’s their prerogative. But that doesn’t mean you’re required to indulge their choices if they don’t work with your own.
I recall an incident in which an email was sent around the office informing everyone that a new coworker was “triggered” by the word “accountability.” In essence, all staff were subtly being asked to avoid using that word so as not to upset this person.
One manager responded with a “reply all,” saying that this was a workplace and not a daycare, and if a person is triggered by a work-related word, then this probably isn’t the right work environment for them.
As you can imagine, all the other employees appreciated that and respected the manager more as a result.
It’s one thing to respect other people’s sincere needs and make allowances if the circumstances justify it; it’s another to pander to those whose non-essential demands and expectations come at others’ expense.
7. Stand up for yourself and enforce your boundaries.
Many deprioritize their own needs so as not to disappoint others, but that ends up being a slippery slope.
If you don’t make your boundaries clear—and defend them fiercely—others will inevitably disrespect and overstep them.
After all, why would they listen to someone they don’t respect?
Standing up for yourself may be difficult if you’re uncomfortable with confrontation or if you don’t like to disappoint others. You may feel like it’s “not a big deal” to set your needs and wants aside for the sake of keeping other people happy, but this isn’t just unhealthy—it sets a precedent. Others will realize that they can get what they want from you via manipulation, guilt trips, or simply by seeming stronger or more assertive.
You can nip this in the bud and ensure that you command respect from others by learning to respect yourself first and foremost. Guard your boundaries like a sentinel and don’t allow anyone to knock them down.
Those who care about you and respect you will honor those boundaries, and even help to defend them alongside you. In contrast, you’ll know who prioritizes their own needs and wants over your well-being by watching who complains about these boundaries and tries to manipulate their way over or around them.
On this note, don’t be afraid to bare your teeth when necessary. Establish your boundaries firmly and courteously, but when others try to overstep or manipulate you, put them in their place. If you don’t guard your boundaries, nobody else will do it for you. Stand strong.
8. Be as authentic as possible.
While it’s important to be able to meet people on their own level and adapt to various circumstances, the key is to stay true to yourself while doing so.
This means being honest about your real interests instead of pretending to like (or dislike) things to please others around you.
It also involves dressing and behaving in a way that feels “right” to you instead of perpetually reinventing yourself every time you switch social circles.
In essence, it means being the person you really are rather than being what others want you to be or try to make you into.
Be like water: remaining constant whether it’s frozen, liquid, gas, or filling a vessel.
9. Show grace rather than arrogance.
Have you ever gone out for dinner with someone who was abusive or insulting to the wait staff out of a misplaced sense of superiority?
Or seen someone condescend to someone else because they had less education or fluency in their language?
Many people put down those they consider “inferior” to make themselves look better or more important. Behaving this way inevitably results in others losing respect for them.
In contrast, when someone is kind and courteous to others regardless of their job, social status, ethnic background, or able-bodiedness, their esteem is elevated in other people’s eyes.
It’s why Princess Diana is still lauded for her kindness and compassion toward others, while certain super-celebrities are condemned for their arrogance and abuse.
10. Be as well-mannered as possible.
As children, most of us caught hell from our parents if we chewed with our mouths open, slurped our food, or had our elbows on the table. Having decent table etiquette can only be of benefit to you, and manners never go out of style.
Remember to say “please” and “thank you” when the situation calls for it, and adhere to established social etiquette wherever you go.
This may require you to do some research when you travel to determine what is and isn’t considered polite, because the etiquette rules may be different from those you’re accustomed to. What’s considered genteel in one country may be reprehensible in another, and vice-versa.
If you can dine with diplomats with as much ease as with your best friend, you’ll be respected and appreciated by just about everyone.
11. Own your mistakes.
We often lose a great deal of respect for those who try to hide or minimize their missteps by placing the blame on others or coming up with convoluted excuses as to why it wasn’t really their fault.
In contrast, those who admit their wrongdoings, own them without excuses, and take real effort to change or make amends are respected and admired for their actions.
If you mess up, acknowledge it, do what you can to fix things, and use the misstep as a learning experience. The most well-rounded, capable people are often those who have messed up the most.
All that said, while it’s important to own up to your mistakes and apologize for them when that’s the right thing to do, it’s just as important to not apologize unnecessarily.
Some cultures are more prone to this than others, wherein folks apologize constantly even if they haven’t done anything wrong. There’s a huge difference between sincerely apologizing for a late response to an email and groveling with constant apologies for possibly upsetting someone.
Apologizing when you’ve honestly done something wrong will earn you respect. In contrast, rolling over and showing your belly like a whimpering puppy at the slightest provocation will earn you contempt instead.
Everyone deserves respect and decency, but you’ve undoubtedly noticed that some folks are more respected than others. Incorporate these behaviors into your own day-to-day life, and you’re certain to become one of them.