There is more to earning respect than coming from a great university, having a good income, or being well-connected. We all know people who tick all those boxes who are still losers by nearly every definition. All you have to do to prove it is to check out who’s running in the elections.
So how does one stop being disrespected? Without hiring a pack of goons, that is?
We’ve outlined eight things that most highly-respected people have mastered. Bookmark and pin Bruce Kho to your favorites, and maybe— just maybe – you might master them too.
1.) Learn to say no
If you are unable to say no to people making unreasonable demands, it will be impossible to get any respect from anyone. This holds true regardless of how close those people are to you.
An unreasonable demand from a girlfriend, a parent, or even your child is still unreasonable, no matter how much you love them. If you give in often enough, they will no longer see you as your own person. Instead, they will see you as just a tool and you will become nothing more than a way for them to satisfy their own ends.
Of course, it’s not enough to know how to say “no”, especially because Filipino culture admittedly puts too much of an emphasis of going with the flow, and because a lot of Filipinos are prone to self-interested emotional drama.
It’s also important to learn how to deliver that “no” in a respectful way, and how to make a rational case if you have to. Not that rationality always works, but the fact you are able to refuse someone and make a case for yourself is often enough to gain the respect of others.
2.) Know how to handle your promises
This is so important to gaining other people’s respect that you can probably stop reading everything else on this list. To begin with, you don’t want to be in the position of making any promises you can’t keep. So don’t.
Avoid the urge to please others and don’t promise to do anything that isn’t feasible for you at the moment. Learning to say “no” is important for that part.
But what do you do if you’ve already made a promise? What if you love a challenge? Simple. Do whatever it takes to follow through with it.
If you aren’t able to keep your promise, set the expectation that you couldn’t well in advance. Don’t keep them waiting. While they may not necessarily like what you’ll tell them, they will respect you for having the cojones and the decency to tell them in advance.
3.) Don’t tell everyone your goals – and don’t advertise your failures
As much as possible, avoid sharing your goals. There is compelling evidence to show that when we tell other people our goals, the reward centers in our brains are stimulated, which perversely makes us less motivated to work towards that goal.
Ironically, by sharing your aspirations with everyone, you may be making it much more difficult for yourself to achieve those same goals. Not only will you be more likely to fail, but people also become much more aware of any failures you may have.
To be clear, everyone fails. That’s a given. Failure is often necessary for us to be able to learn and grow as people.
Of course, other people usually only see it that way when it comes to their own failures. When you fail in public, others will tend to interpret that as you being a screw-up.
Instead of telling everyone what you want to achieve, as much as possible keep that goal to yourself. That way, not only are you more likely to meet your goals, other people will be more likely to see you as a doer and a go-getter, simply because you never created the opportunity for them to see you fail.
4.) Learn to be open-minded
“#Canceldt culture” is as dumb as it gets. Yes, we don’t have an obligation to act on ideas we don’t believe in and we don’t have to respond to people we disagree with. But it’s crucial to try to keep abreast of different points of view – even the ones you are uncomfortable with.
This takes quite a lot of effort and a great deal of willpower – which is why mentally and morally weak people don’t even try it.
In any case, it’s important to keep an open ear and an open mind to ideas that may be contrary to your own. After all, it’s only by listening to opposing ideas that we are able to find potential problems with our own ways of thinking.
Yes, we know there are a lot of stupid ideas out there. But being able to present an open mind without freaking out at opposing points of view is also a rare quality these days. It can be incredibly empowering to earn the respect of people who would otherwise oppose you, and having an open mind is the only way you can earn that power.
5.) Learn and discuss big ideas — not people
Being the person people turn to for advice on important concepts and ideas is an enviable place to be in. This means it pays off to keep yourself up-to-date on current events as well as new developments in your industry and in your personal hobbies.
Your goal is not to be a “know-it-all”, because everyone hates those – especially other know-it-alls. What you want to be is the person people turn to for all those Big Boy Conversations™ about life, current events, and important ideas that they cannot discuss with others.
Rumor-mongering and petty discussions about other people, on the other hand, may earn you friends, but rarely their respect. That kind of parlorista-talk may be entertaining at first, but it’s ultimately harmful to how other people perceive you if you engage in it too often. If you’re in a situation where you’re talking about a person you dislike, try your best to be fair and try to focus on their specific actions rather than their personal qualities.
6.) Never apologize when you believe you’re right
One ugly truth about apologies is that they are often weaponized. Apologies are quite often, merely forced out of people as a way of winning disputes or asserting social status.
As a result, most apologies do nothing to help underlying problems, and they certainly have nothing to do with right and wrong. Sooner or later, one of those “apologies” may very well come back to bite you in the ass.
If you believe you did something wrong and someone demands an apology, then an apology should be given promptly and freely.
But if you truly believe that you are in the right, an apology will basically be you admitting to yourself that your experiences do not matter. It is an admission that the truth holds no value. It’s a signal to others that you do not have any principles and that you might say anything to have an easier time.
You can empathize and tell the other person you understand how they feel. If they are open to an explanation, then you should give a truthful one. But if you are right, then apologizing before they have made a convincing case will not do you any favors.
7.) Don’t be a hypocrite
Nothing destroys respect faster than hypocrisy. Unfortunately, some hypocrisy is an unavoidable part of the human condition. We’re all hypocrites in some way – it’s just part of being alive.
And we all understand this at some level. Most of us are surprisingly tolerant of hypocrisy. We would go insane if we weren’t.
But what most of us can’t tolerate is the type of person that that constantly disparages certain types of behavior in public, but privately does the exact thing they condemn other people for.
While it’s true hypocrisy has nothing to do with whether or not certain deeds are right or wrong, being blatantly hypocritical tags you as someone who cannot be trusted. As far as most people would be concerned, you will only say things for personal gain or to improve your image.
In short, don’t take the moral high ground unless you are absolutely certain you can hold it. And chances are you can’t. So it’s probably best not to even try.
8.) Take care of yourself
Contrary to what lesser blogs and men’s magazines may imply, being well-groomed, properly-styled, and healthy isn’t just about looks. It’s about respecting yourself. And if you cannot respect yourself, how can you expect others to respect you?
The choices we make about our appearance and our bodies are a direct reflection of our underlying self-image. This site has a ton of resources on care and grooming, style, and health and fitness that can have a major impact on how other people perceive or treat you.
What other tips for earning respect can you share? Comment below!