12 behaviors that make people instantly respect you less

We all want to be respected.

Respect is the currency of human societies. And if people don’t respect you, you’ll find yourself constantly being left out, both at work and in your personal life.

In many ways, earning the respect of others begins with respecting yourself. However, there are several things you may be doing that cause people to lose respect for you.

Once you’ve lost somebody’s respect, it’s extremely hard to get it back.

With that in mind, take a look at these behaviors that make people immediately respect you less. Modifying your behavior can quickly help you earn back the respect you deserve.

1) Diminishing your achievements

Here’s the brutal truth: no one will respect you if you don’t respect yourself.

One way to earn the respect of others is to let them know what you’ve achieved in the past and where your expertise lies. But if you don’t tell them, how will they know?

We are all taught to be modest. And that’s an important skill. But there is a time and a place to let people know when you’ve accomplished something, without being boastful about it. 

Because if you continually act like you’ve never achieved anything, people will start to believe it. And that will make it much harder for them to respect you.

On the other hand, another quick way to lose people’s respect is by…

2) Bragging

There’s a difference between acknowledging your achievements and bragging about them.

Nobody likes someone who is always talking about how great they are. Bragging to earn the respect of others can often backfire and cause them to respect you less. 

A recent Harvard study shows that humblebragging, a way of showing off while appearing to be humble, can cause you to lose the respect of others even quicker than regular bragging.

What does this mean for you?

Well, it comes down to one word: sincerity. 

You can recognize your own achievements and abilities without bragging by stating them clearly and simply when it’s relevant. And trying to appear falsely humble can backfire just as easily as constantly telling everyone how great you are.

3) Being dishonest

People respect those they can trust. Therefore, being dishonest is one of the quickest ways to ensure others don’t respect you.

Part of being a person worthy of respect is being honest. That doesn’t mean blurting out everything that comes into your head. But it does mean avoiding  lying.

And remember that dishonesty can take many different forms. You don’t have to tell an outright lie to be thought of as dishonest. 

Taking credit for other people’s work, copying from others, and gossiping can all be forms of dishonesty, and can quickly lose you the respect of those around you.

The same goes for keeping your promises. People respect those who do what they say they will, so make sure you don’t promise people things you aren’t capable of or willing to give them.

4) Being indecisive

It can be hard making decisions. But if you want to earn the respect of others, you need to be decisive in any choice you make.

Here’s why:

People respect decisive leaders. Those who are willing to take the responsibility to make a decision, even if it may be wrong, are generally the people others turn to for leadership. 

It’s hard not to respect someone who can make a firm decision.

If you struggle to decide on a course of action, whether at work or at home, it may cause people to lose respect for you. Often, even the wrong decision is better than no decision at all.

But good leaders aren’t bullies. Because few things lose you the respect of others quicker than…

5) Being insensitive

If you struggle to earn the respect of others, it’s possible that it’s because you are insensitive to their needs.

Being sensitive to the needs of others doesn’t mean being a doormat. Instead, it means acknowledging their feelings and experiences as a person.

People respect those who demonstrate compassion and sensitivity, just as much as they respect those who can be forthright and decisive.

Are you often insensitive to other people’s needs? If so, that could be a reason why you’re not getting their respect.

6) Using people

youre the toxic one 12 behaviors that make people instantly respect you less

No one likes being used.

No wonder, then, that people lose respect for anyone they think is using them or others for their own ends.

All relationships require some degree of give-and-take. 

If people get the impression that you are using them, to advance your career or fill your own emotional needs, without regard to their feelings, they will quickly lose respect for you.

You see, nobody wants to be around a user. So make sure you give as much as you take in your relationships with others.

7) Never admitting fault

This might seem surprising. But admitting when you are wrong can actually be a great way to earn the respect of others.

No one likes to be wrong, especially in public. But accepting responsibility and recognizing your own failures is a key sign of maturity.

According to Dr. Sanam Hafeez, a New York City-based neuropsychologist, “Admitting we are wrong shows others that we are compassionate, empathetic, sympathetic, and good listeners.” 

These are all traits that make people respect you.

So by never admitting when you’re wrong to protect your image, you can actually do much greater harm than you would if you just owned up to your mistakes.

8) Dismissing other people’s ideas

Just as you earn respect by highlighting your own good ideas and standing up for what you believe in, you also earn it by taking other people’s ideas into account.

It’s fine to have a strong opinion – in fact, that can often help people respect you more. But if you are always overly critical of other people’s ideas when they don’t agree with your own, people will notice.

Not being open to new ideas can make you seem immature and self-centered, which are not traits people respect. Learn how to critique someone else’s idea constructively and stay open to the opinions of others if you want them to respect you.

9) Not drawing clear boundaries

On the other hand, if you want to be respected, you also need to stand up for yourself. And that means drawing clear boundaries.

Whether it’s telling your boss you won’t answer emails outside of work hours or conveying to a romantic partner that you are not comfortable with some of their behaviors, clear boundaries are a fundamental key to human relationships.

It can be awkward telling people what your boundaries are and insisting they respect them. But in the long term, people often respect you more for having that conversation with them.

10) Never asking for help

In his hugely popular book How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie talked about the Benjamin Franklin effect.

Franklin had an unusual strategy for getting people to like and respect them. He would ask them for a favor.

This strategy has been studied and replicated. It turns out, people tend to like people they have helped.

Asking for help shows that you have a good sense of your own strengths and weaknesses. It also demonstrates that you respect the expertise and abilities of the person you are asking for help.

Often, people will respect you for coming to them far more than they would if you try to appear as though you have everything figured out all the time.

11) Being ungenerous

Lynn Taylor, workplace expert and author of Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant: How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job, points out that being generous with your time and helping other people when they need it is one of the best ways to earn respect in the workplace.

Be willing to share what you know with those around you, and take the time to help people where possible. Not only will this make them like you more, but it also gives you a chance to show your skills and abilities rather than just telling people about them.

12) Not respecting others

By now, you’ve probably noticed that you can influence the way people treat you by how you treat them.

And if respecting yourself is the beginning of earning the respect of others, respecting them is the final key.

Be respectful of other people’s time, opinions, skills, and emotions. People are far more likely to respect those who respect them.

Respect is earned

We all deserve a certain level of respect from one another. But if you want to go beyond basic human courtesy, you need to demonstrate to others that you are a person worthy of their respect.

Avoid these behaviors, in the workplace and outside it, and you’ll find people are far more likely to respect you the way you want them to.

Picture of Ryan Frawley

Ryan Frawley

“Ryan Frawley is a France-based writer with a passion for psychology, philosophy, science, and anything that attempts to answer life’s biggest questions. Reach out at ryan@ryanfrawley.com”

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