How to Be Respected

Three Parts:Being a Good Role ModelRespecting YourselfRespecting Others

Respect is earned through respecting both yourself and others. Wealth, clothing or physical attractiveness are not requirements. The way others perceive you isn't necessarily based on your level of education, what schools you may have attended or the crowd you're in. Respect is accorded to those who conduct themselves with integrity and treat others with dignity. If you set an example by respecting yourself, appreciating your own good qualities and highlighting the positive in other people's lives, you will earn the respect of others.

Part 1
Being a Good Role Model

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    Present yourself well. Practice good grooming and dress neatly. Clothing doesn’t need to be expensive but it should be laundered and in good repair, showing that you care about this aspect of yourself. Take care of your health and your teeth. Your smile will show to others that you enjoy your own company, and theirs too.[1]
    • This isn't superficial at all. If you want to be treated with respect, then you have to look like you put time and effort into your appearance.
    • If you show up to work wearing a stained sweatshirt and dirty sneakers, people will be less likely to take you seriously.
    • Even if you're hanging out in a more casual environment, put a little extra time into your appearance. You shouldn't get overdressed to go to trivia night at the local bar, but putting in the extra 15 minutes to shave your face or to tuck in your shirt can help you command respect.
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    Set an example for others. If you want to be respected, then you want people to turn to you for guidance for how to act in the world. You can't be acting in a disrespectful, rude, or obnoxious manner if you want other people to follow your lead. Whatever you do, remind yourself that people are watching and that you should be setting a good example if you really want to be a role model. You don't have to be perfect, but you should generally act in an admirable manner.
    • When another person imitates you, it is a sign of respect.
    • If someone else has set a good example, let them know how much you appreciate it by your own actions (and words too).
    • Be a good role model at home, work, and in social situations. Wherever you are, there is always an opportunity to show others how to live with self-respect and how to honor the dignity of others.
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    Make your own decisions. Don't just join in with the latest craze just because others may be following the popular style. Respect yourself by making your own choice, this will bring respect from others. If you're unsure of what to do or what you value, and you're looking for someone with authority to guide you, always remember who you are, and always ask yourself if you agree with what this person says and does. Sometimes, it is easier said than done: sometimes you feel lost and are not sure what you want or what you believe. If you want to be respected, though, you have to be comfortable with following the beat of your own drummer.
    • You may have to make the tough decisions when no one else is willing to do it.
    • If you're a follower, then you won't be respected as much as if you're a leader who occasionally makes mistakes.
    • Determine what your core values are and stick to them.
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    Don't be overly materialistic. Stay focused on people rather than objects that may be lost or destroyed; people are so much more important and our true value is not what we have, it is the person we are inside that others will respect. But in the same vein, pay attention to the fact that while materialism is not all of life, it is part of it. We all need things to survive, and while we always must remember that things are not everything and others aren't to be judged just on what they have, we must also keep track of our things and take care of them, conserve them and expect respect for our things from others.
    • Just don't get it in your head that things are everything. If you're obsessed with amassing as many possessions as you can, you won't be able to focus on growing as a person and building relationships.
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    Don't procrastinate. Always act with a purpose. When you set your mind on doing something, think about it, plan it as best as you can, and then just do it. Don't wait forever, don't let other people do your job for you, and don't get yourself into a loop of endless planning and worrying about it. People respect action, and equally don't respect procrastination. Don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today, no matter how unpleasant it may be.
    • Though it may be more pleasant to spend hours browsing YouTube instead of studying for that test or getting that project done, in the long run, doing the work that is in front of you will make you feel more accomplished and will help you succeed.
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    Be a cultured person. Notice the events happening around you and also the events happening around the world, be they in the field of movies, entertainment, sports or something else. This way, you will be comfortable when people talk about the current trending issues. Having a good knowledge of the subject matter will attract others' attention. If you want to be a good role model, then you can't only focus on your own narrow world, but think about the world at large and consider all of the different perspectives out there. This will make you more knowledgeable and open-minded and will help you command respect.
    • Even if you don't like certain topics that are pervasive in society, such as politics, religion or sports, try to keep a very general awareness that allows you to ask the opinions of others who do follow such things with passion. They'll appreciate the opportunity to talk their talk, you'll learn more about them. You may never agree but you can listen and acknowledge the other person's interests.
    • The more you know, the more people will come to you for advice and the more they will ask for your opinion. If people think they can always come to you because you know at least a little bit about everything, then you will command their respect even more.
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    Keep your language clean and respectable. Say positive things about others whenever possible, but be sincere - people can recognize the difference between true interest and forced flattery. You don't have to sound as PG as your grandmother, but you should avoid cursing up a blue streak, bad mouthing every person in your office, and generally saying negative and offensive things.
    • If you do end up cursing, that's fine. Just make sure to excuse yourself and apologize for cursing.
    • If you're one of those people who tend to have enraged and curse-filled outbursts, try to walk away when you know you're going to have a cursing spell.
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    Exude confidence. If you don't have faith in yourself, no one else will. Many people will test you, and poke your insecurities. No matter what they say, if you have confidence in yourself and your worth, their disrespectful behavior will go away because they realize that they cannot intimidate you. And even if their disrespectful attitude doesn't stop, you will at least be able to ignore it and maintain your inner peace. Remember that you do not need the acknowledgement of other people to prove your self worth; only you can do that.
    • You can project confidence through body language. Stand tall, look ahead of you instead of at your feet, and don't fidget or act jittery, or you'll look insecure.
    • Walk in to a room like you belong there.
    • Speak slowly and loudly enough for everyone to hear.
    • Being confident doesn't mean being perfect. In fact, knowing your flaws and working to address them will make you even more confident.
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    Be optimistic. It is easy to point out the downside of a situation, but if you make the effort to overcome your obstacles through constructive thinking, taking decisive action and facing the problems head on, you can lead happier lives and be an encouragement to others. If you're an optimistic person, people will also want to be around you more, and will be more likely to respect you.
    • Find ways to assist people who need help and your own troubles will seem less overwhelming, and you'll feel better for doing it! Volunteering is one possibility. But so is dropping in on a lonely neighbor, calling a long lost relative or helping your children build something in the backyard.
    • Nobody respects a person who whines or complains all the time. Keep as many of your negative feelings to yourself as you can.
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    Stick to your word. Don't make promises you know you can't keep, or you are unsure you'll be able to keep. It is much more respectable (and more difficult) to just say "No, I can't do that," or even "I don't want to do that." This is where you have to respect yourself and your own will, and make it clear to others in a polite and assertive way. And when you do make a promise, keep it. People won't respect you if they think you're flaky, unreliable, and generally not a person they can depend on.
    • Sticking to your word is important not only in a professional setting, but also with your friends and family. You don't want your loved ones to lose respect for you because you keep letting them down.
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    Excel at something. This is the easiest way to command the respect of others. Whether you're really good at your job, an amazing tennis player, a killer dancer, or an impressive painter, if you have a talent or a knack for something that other people can see and appreciate, you'll be much more likely to earn their respect. Of course, truly excelling at something can take a lifetime, but even making the effort to devote some time and effort to it every day will inspire awe and respect in people.
    • Obviously, you shouldn't try to get good at something just so people will respect you. But being good at something and caring about it definitely helps.
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    Admit to your mistakes. It's okay to make mistakes; everybody makes them. However, you should still remember that you are the final judge of everything that you say and do, and be ready to face up to your mistakes, learn from them and move on. You may think that people will only respect you if you look flawless and like you've never made a mistake in your life; in fact, people will admire your ability to admit that you screwed up, and will see you as more human and down to earth.[2]
    • This also means apologizing to people when it's necessary. If you've hurt someone, suck up your pride and say you're sorry for your actions.

Part 2
Respecting Yourself

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    Stick to your boundaries. Clearly communicate what you are willing to accept and what the consequences for trespassing of these boundaries are. Do what you announced to do (or not to do) every time the trespassing happens. You don't want to be known for letting people walk all over you simply because it was easier than putting up a fight. Know what your limits really are and don't compromise unless it's absolutely necessary.
    • For example, if you want to go out to meet friends with your partner, inform them of the time and that you will leave at this time; whether they are ready or not. If your partner is not ready to go, leave the house without them. Do not let them call you back or change your plans in any way. Do not try to justify your actions, and refuse to accept blame. If at all, tell them that you informed them of the consequences and they are only suffering consequences that could have easily be avoided if they had played by the rules.
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    Keep your property in good shape. Keep your home and surroundings clean and well kept. Your neighbors will respect you and the neighborhood will be a better place for everyone. Treating others with respect is the most important thing to do; if you treat someone with respect, they'll treat you with respect. Keep your car clean, your school or work materials organized, and your desk clean, and people will see that you put time and effort into your belongings.
    • Also, be aware of where your stuff is. If you're the guy who loses your sunglasses or phone every month, people will think you're irresponsible.
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    Learn to say no. If you want people to respect you, then you can' t give in to them all the time. You don't want to develop the reputation of the boss who will let his employees get away with anything, the parent or teacher who is a complete pushover, or the friend who will let anyone borrow twenty bucks without ever asking for it. It is definitely unpleasant to say no to the things you really don't want to do, but once you get in the habit of turning down unreasonable requests, your life will get much easier.
    • People will respect you more if they see that you have your own priorities and that you won't just drop everything to help them.
    • Doing favors for a friend or coworker isn't necessarily a bad thing; just make sure that the favor-giving isn't one-sided though.
    • When you say no, don't apologize or ramble on too much about why you can't do a certain thing. Say no, give a simple reason, or offer an alternative solution. Keeping it short and sweet will keep you from giving in or sounding wishy washy.
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    Avoid getting overly intoxicated in public. If you really have respect for yourself, then you don't want to end up in the hot tub of someone you don't actually know wearing nothing but reindeer antlers. Drinking a little can be fun, but keep it to a reasonable level so that other people see that you care about keeping your health, dignity, and memory intact. If people see you as someone who stumbles around incoherently as soon as he hits a bar, then they'll think you don't really value yourself.
    • It's okay to let loose a little bit, but giving up all control is another thing.
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    Stick up for yourself when you need to. If you want to respect yourself, then you can't be too nice to people who are putting you down, acting ridiculous, or asking you to do things that are compromising. It's easier to be nice to everyone and to get along with everyone 100% of the time, but that won't get people to respect you. If you want people to respect you, then you have to stand up for yourself when you've been wronged, and to avoid taking crap from people, even if it may be the easier option.
    • If people know you stick up for yourself when it's needed, they will respect you more and will back off.
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    Avoid apologizing 24/7. This is another classic trait of a person who doesn't respect himself. Women especially are prone to apologizing repeatedly when they've done nothing wrong. Don't apologize to your boss for not taking on eight more hours of work the day before Thanksgiving; don't apologize to your friend for not being able to loan her $300; don't apologize to your boyfriend for stating your point of view. The takeaway is: do not apologize if you've done nothing wrong.
    • Apologizing all the time for no reason will make you look weak and not worthy of respect.
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    Know your value. If you want to respect yourself, then you should know how much you're worth, whether it's as a member of your company, a member of your school's debate team, or as a member of your two-person relationship. Remember how amazing you are, how much value you are adding to a situation, and remind yourself of all of the reasons that people should be happy to have you on their team or by their side. Don't let people make you feel like you're worth less than you really are, and if you don't feel valued where you are, try to find an alternative place.
    • This is especially true for the workplace. If you've been putting in extra hours and extra work at your company for a long time but have gotten no recognition for it, it's time to stop waiting around and talk to your boss about it.
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    Remember to put yourself first...or at least not last. Of course, if you're a mother, a teacher, or in a position where other people depend on you, it's impossible to be completely selfish or to always put yourself in the #1 position. Still, you should aim to look out for yourself before you think of strangers, friends, co-workers, or other people who also want the same thing. This doesn't mean you shouldn't be generous, but it does mean that you shouldn't put everyone else's needs above your own.
    • If people see you as the kind of person who puts him or herself last, then you won't be respected. People will think they can walk all over you.

Part 3
Respecting Others

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    Greet people in a proper and friendly manner. Open, warm and acknowledging greetings are appreciated and returned by others. A positive and uplifting greeting makes each person feel wonderful and if you can also manage to make a compliment, it personalizes your attention and makes them feel special. Charisma is in large part acknowledging the worth of another person and helping them to feel good about themselves.
    • If someone does not reciprocate or acknowledge your greeting, give that person the benefit of the doubt. Be polite. It is possible that they may be deeply absorbed in thought or worried about something, and as a result failed to acknowledge you.
    • The same goes for a lukewarm response to you––don't take it personally. Many people are shy, poorly trained in good manners or even overawed. Give them the space to thaw; most will come round when they realize you don't hold anything against them.
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    Never bully others or take advantage of their weaknesses. Bullies are not respected because they don't show respect. Allow people to keep their dignity. Bullies are incapable of showing respect because they typically do not even respect themselves, and/or may not know the definition of respect. And intimidating others to get what you want from life is a fast road to loneliness and being ostracized.
    • Don't tease people. While it may seem like fun and while you don't mean it, people can really feel offended by teasing that pokes at the heart of something they care about or stand for. It soon turns into disrespect, especially if you insist you're just joking when they ask you to stop, and you don't.[3]
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    Deal with bullies appropriately. In turn, deal with bullies in a respectful manner, so as to disarm them of the one thing they really want––your weaknesses revealed. If they take something from you, start to tease you, or try to treat you like less than dirt, say something like: "May I please have that back? By the way, that's a cool bike". Staying polite and not getting flustered will easily throw a bully off guard. Don't shower them with compliments, as once you lose your unpredictability, they will take advantage of that.
    • Simply keep it a short, nice phrase and then be on your way or back to your work.
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    Give everyone a chance. Don't prejudge people, and be pleasant to everyone. Even if you realize someone is a jerk, remain civil and have class; you don't need to stoop to their demoralizing level and play their game. People around you will respect your ability to stay above it all more than bad mouthing or confronting them in a mean way. People will be more likely to respect you if they see that you're open-minded and free from bias.
    • Judging people will often do nothing more than reveal your own insecurities.
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    Be prepared to see other people's side of the story. If you're strident, always presenting your point of view loudly and refuting anyone else's version of events and life in general, you'll be viewed as a boor. Few people can stand the person who hogs the limelight constantly and refuses to acknowledge that other people have a say too. Stay cool and if something does fire your passion, share this by all means but acknowledge that your point of view is but one of many.
    • Having had a hard life is not an excuse to abuse or take advantage of other people. Bear in mind that most people you meet have faced battles of one sort of other in their own lives and may well be experiencing problems right now too. Seek help for emotional hurt that is eating you up so that you can lead your life as you want it to be, and not according to a past you're still trying to defeat.
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    Don’t act like a know-it-all. People do not appreciate it when you act superior to them. Once again, listen and respect their opinions, even though these may be different from your own. Remind yourself that the wisest people in the world are those who acknowledge how little they really do know, for there is so much yet to discover.
    • If you do catch yourself acting like a know-it-all, use humor to make light of it, and say something simple like: "Sorry, I seem to have gotten a bit too passionate about this topic. Obviously I care about it but I've been rude talking so much. Sorry! Please let me know what you think of this matter. I am a good listener you know!"
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    Be discreet. If you really want to respect people, then you can't go around spreading their gossip to anyone who will listen. If you have a reputation for being a blabbermouth, people won't respect you and they won't tell you the juiciest information. Instead, take the information in and don't share it; this will make people more likely to come to you in the future and will respect you as a person who knows when to keep his mouth shut.
    • Don't try to gossip as a way of getting popular. Sure, it'll make people want to hear what you have to say more, but that doesn't necessarily mean they will actually like you more.
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    Respect people in positions of authority. As the principal in Eastbound & Down says to one of his rebellious teachers, "I don't think you understand the employer-employee relationship." Though this is meant to be funny, you don't want to be the person who doesn't respect his boss, his landlord, his mechanic, his teacher, or anyone in a position of authority higher than you. This doesn't mean that you should sit quietly if you feel that someone is treating you poorly, but it also doesn't mean that you should disregard your boss like he's just one of your annoying friends. However, if you think that an authority figure is treating you poorly, write him/her a letter of protest and stay polite. You will probably win, providing that you aren't boisterous.
    • Respecting people in positions of authority will make people more likely to respect your position. If you show a complete disregard for the rules, people won't think very highly of you.
    • It is important that you "recognize" authority, not "revere" authority. Recognizing authority means that you acknowledge the authority of superior figures and obey their rules, but will not suck it up and endure it if they treat you poorly. Revering authority, however, means that you think that your authority figures are perfect and won't make any mistakes, so in front of people of higher authority than you, you will always put yourself last. Always recognize authority, but never, ever revere authority.


  • Be very careful when dealing with two individuals with different core philosophies, as if you please one of them, the other might lose respect for you. This conundrum can often be side-stepped by being true to yourself and respectful of both opinions. You don't need to agree with other opinions; rather, just make it clear that you're willing to listen.
  • Try to find what you're good at, and use it. If you're a good singer, be in a school or community musical, sing for events, etc. People will recognize you and your talents.
  • There is a fine line between confidence and cockiness. You can accept compliments, you don't always have to be nonchalant, but don't act like you are better than everyone. People find this annoying and aggravating.
  • Remember that people notice the example your children are following. If you treat your children lovingly and teach them to have respect for yourself and others, you will be treated with respect also.
  • Bring beauty to your surroundings by giving your neighbors a pleasant view of your home and your personality. Invite the people in your neighborhood to draw near with genuine interest and friendliness. They will want to care about you, too.
  • To gain respect, you must deserve it. It is not always about being the best at what you are at. That is only one aspect. Your actions have to be justifiable and your character has to be accountable. Never force people to respect you or to do the things you want them to. That is pathetic. Accept the things that can be and the things that can't.
  • Watch what you say. People tend to take things the wrong way. Don't accidentally be offensive!
  • Don't reject compliments in an effort to seem modest. The best way of responding is a simple "Thank you!"


  • Be circumspect about how much you reveal about yourself to others. It grows harder to respect someone who fails to acknowledge the boundaries between enough information to know someone and too much information, especially in workplace and social contexts.
  • Don't worry if you mess up once or twice or even forget about being a role model! As long as you know what you did wrong and you try to fix it, that's all that matters.
  • Don't lose yourself in socially promoted "virtues" or "requirements" that give an allure of "respectability"; this confuses respect earned for the person you are with outward signs of amassing things or doing something to fit in, be it having five Ferraris in the garage or murdering someone to fit into a gang. Neither of these will earn you respect––notoriety or envy maybe––but never respect.

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