How to Earn Respect

Three Methods:Giving RespectBeing ReliableActing Confident

We all want to be respected by our peers, but it takes a lot of work to earn it. If you want to be successful, happy, and healthy, learning to earn the respect of others should be an important goal and something you can work to achieve. By learning to give respect, act and think with confidence, and behave in a reliable way, you'll start earning the respect you deserve in no time. Start with Step 1 for more specific details.

Method 1
Giving Respect

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    Be sincere. If people sense that you're speaking from the heart and that you believe and will stand behind your actions, words, and beliefs, you'll present yourself as a person to be respected. Learn to cultivate sincerity among your friends, at work, in school, and in all parts of your life.
    • When you're among different crowds of people, act the same way you act when you're alone, or when you're with other groups. We've all experienced the social pressure to act a certain way, or seen a friend suddenly fawn over a successful business contact you were moments ago trash-talking in a private conversation. Be consistent in your personality, regardless of who's around.[1]
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    Listen and learn. Many people wait to talk in conversations, rather than listening what the other person has to say. This can give off an unpleasantly self-centered vibe. We all have things we want to say, but learning to be a good listener will ultimately make people more interested in what you have to say. If you want to earn the respect of people you talk to, learn to listen actively and cultivate a reputation as a good listener.
    • Ask lots of questions. Even if you're talking to someone you know well, learn as much as you can by asking questions, follow up questions, and personal questions. People like to feel interesting when they're listened to. Showing a genuine interest in what other people have to say will earn you respect. Follow up specific questions like "How many siblings do you have?" with deeper questions that show you're interested. Ask, "What are they like?"
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    • Follow up on conversations. If someone recommends a book or album to you, shoot them a quick text when you've read a few chapters to let them know what you think of it.[2]
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    Compliment the work of others. When the actions, ideas, or statements of a friend or colleague stand out to you as being particularly notable, compliment them with brief praise. Some people let jealousy fester when someone else meets success. If you want to earn respect, learn to acknowledge greatness and praise it.
    • Be honest in your compliments. Overly enthusiastic blanket praise of anything someone does won't earn you respect, but might give you a reputation as a brown-noser. When something genuinely impresses you,
    • Try to compliment actions, deeds, and ideas rather than superficial things like possessions or looks. Saying, for instance, "You've got such a great sense of style," is better than "That's a nice dress."
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    Sympathize with others. Learning the skills of empathy are an important way to respect others and become respected yourself. If you can anticipate someone's emotional needs, you can be respected as a caring, thoughtful individual, attentive to the needs of people around you.
    • Notice people's body language. If people are upset or frustrated, they might not always be willing to voice their frustration. If you can learn to notice this, you can adjust your behavior appropriately.
    • Make yourself available for emotional assistance if it's required, and back off if it isn't. If your friend has just ended a messy relationship, gauge their needs. Some people will want to blow off steam by talking about it endlessly and wallowing in the details, in which you might lend a sympathetic ear. Others might want to ignore the matter and go about their business solo. Don't pester them. There's no right way to grieve.
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    Keep in touch. Everyone needs a favor every now and then, but it's a sign of respect to keep in touch with your friends, colleagues, and family members, even when you don't need anything from them.
    • Call or text your friends just to chat. Send them funny links on Facebook or other social media, just to let them know you're thinking of them.
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    • Keep your family updated on your successes and failures, especially if you live in different places. Talk to your parents and let them know how you're doing at school, what you're feeling about your relationship. Let people into your life.
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    • Treat work friends as real friends. Don't just hit them up when you need to find out what time you're supposed to show up next week, or to find out what you missed at the last meeting. Learn about their lives and treat them with respect to earn respect yourself.
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Method 2
Being Reliable

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    Do what you say you'll do. No one will respect someone viewed as flaky or unreliable. If you want to be respected, come through on your commitments and promises to the people in your life. Call when you say you'll call, turn in assignments on time, and stand by your word.
    • If you need to cancel or otherwise change your plans with someone, try not to get in the habit of using white lies or coming up with excuses to get out of it. If you said you'd come out drinking on Friday night but now would rather curl up with a bowl of popcorn and watch TV, it's OK to say, "I don't really feel like going out tonight" and make concrete plans for later in the week. Always try to give an ample margin.
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    Offer to help, even if you don't need to. When one of your friends moves, it can start to feel like a teacher's just asked you to solve a quadratic formula on the board. Everyone looks at their desk. To be respected and reliable, volunteer your talents and efforts to projects that need help. Volunteer to do things that need to get done, not just things you think you'll do well.
    • Alternatively, learn to take a step back and focus on the talents of others. If you're known as a reliable person, people might call on you for all sorts of things while other talented people hesitate to step up to the plate. Invite them in by calling on them for help, or suggesting them as possible candidates for the job. This will earn you respect from both parties.
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    Go above and beyond. You can either do the minimum requirement, or you can make the extra effort necessary to make a job, assignment, or project perfect. Do the latter and you'll earn respect.
    • If you finish something early and have extra time, take advantage of it. Often, we wait till the last minute to write an essay or start working on a project and cram to finish it all. Give yourself false deadlines to "finish" early and then use the extra time you've earned yourself to really polish it and make it shine.
    • Even if you end up coming short of your goals, if you exhaust your ideas and efforts, at least you'll know that you did your best and threw everything you had into that presentation or paper, which is something that will earn you respect.
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    Learn to anticipate the needs of others. If you know your roommate or partner's got a terrible day of work ahead of them, clean the house and make dinner, or have cocktails prepared when they get home. Taking a little initiative to make someone's day a little easier will earn you respect.

Method 3
Acting Confident

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    Be humble. Downplaying your successes and maintaining an even perspective in the world will keep you happy, humble, and will earn respect from people. Let your actions speak for themselves and let people come to their own conclusions about your skills and talents. Don't trumpet your own horn, let other people trumpet it for you.
    • You won't need to play up your abilities if you spend all your time proving that you're great.
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    Talk less. Everyone's got an opinion about everything, but that doesn't mean you've always got to share it. Sit back and let other people talk while you listen sometimes, especially if your tendency is to chatter. Take in the perspectives and offer yours if you have anything to add to the discussion. If you don't, keep quiet.
    • Sitting back and letting other people talk will also give you a leg up by allowing them to reveal themselves to you, giving you the opportunity to understand them and relate to them a little better.
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    • If you're a quiet person, learn to speak out when you've got something to add. Don't let humility and a desire to be a stony stoic get in the way of you sharing your perspective. People won't respect you for that.
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    Take responsibility for your actions. Just as you wouldn't say one thing and do another if you want to earn people's respect, you've got to be consistent in your actions. Finish what you start. We all screw up sometimes. If you do, own up to it and maintain the respect that you've cultivated for yourself.
    • If you can do something by yourself, don't ask for help. Let a one person job remain a one person job, even if it's going to be difficult.
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    Assert yourself. Nobody will respect a doormat. If you don't want to do something, say so. If you've got a dissenting opinion and know in your heart that you're right, say so. Being assertive in a polite, courteous, and respectful way will earn respect from people even while you're disagreeing with them.
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    Respect yourself. There is a popular proverb: "Respect yourself, then you will be respected". If you wish to earn respect of people, you should respect yourself first for whatever you are. You need to assess yourself and feel good about things that make you a better person. Charity begins at home.


  • Respect goes as easily as it comes. If you spend years gaining your respect, don't mess it up by being foolish.

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