8 small habits that make people instantly respect you, according to psychology

by Lily Gareth | May 1, 2024, 10:57 pm

Gaining respect isn’t a walk in the park. It’s all about putting in the time and showing up consistently with your best foot forward. 

But hey, don’t stress too much about it. I’ve got a bit of a shortcut for you. 

Let me share with you these 8 easy habits, all backed by psychology, that can get people to respect you almost instantly. 

1) Treat everyone with respect

Politeness and treating everyone with courtesy can really make you stand out. And when I say everyone, I mean being from your boss to the janitor in your building.

It’s all about showing the same level of good manners to every person you meet. The way you interact with others says a lot about you. 

So, when you approach people with kindness and acceptance, no matter their social status, their color, gender, or age, you naturally earn their respect. 

It could be something as simple as greeting your coworkers with a cheerful ‘good morning’ or holding the door open for your elderly neighbor. 

These small gestures can make a big difference in how people perceive and hold you in high regards.

2) Show genuine interest

Want to earn some instant respect?

Try this: when you’re chatting with someone, really tune in and listen up. You know, give them the full-on attention treatment.

Think about it: Picture yourself on a date.

Would you rather have someone nodding along while they sneak glances at their phone or someone who’s totally locked in, hanging off your every word and asking all the right questions?

Yeah, I’m with you on that one.

This trick’s been around forever for a reason—it works. People dig feeling like they matter, you know?

3) Take charge

You know who else earns respect? Leaders.

I’m not talking about aiming for the presidency. I mean stepping up when duty calls or when things get dicey.

Instead of sticking to your comfort zone or putting your own needs first, those who command respect are the ones who take charge in tough situations.

Offering to help with the company’s inventory or stepping in to babysit for a friend in a family emergency? That’s like planting a respect seed that sprouts almost immediately.

When you take charge and lend a hand in a pinch, people start to see you in a whole new light.

4) Keep a lid on it

If you’re shooting for respect, here’s a tip: keep your cool when things heat up.

We’ve all been there—seeing someone we looked up to totally lose it and go off the rails, disrespecting everyone in sight.

These emotional bombs could be anyone—bosses, folks we barely know, or even random strangers.

But you know what? They don’t win any respect points.

Whether it’s some jerk cutting you off in traffic or a tense moment in a meeting, staying chill is key.

Not only will it save you from saying or doing stuff you’ll regret later, but it also stops you from disrespecting others in the heat of the moment.

5) Walk the talk

You know that saying, “Actions speak louder than words”?

Well, it’s totally true.

We’ve all had those moments where someone makes a bunch of promises but never follows through. Like that new sneaker store that never delivers on time, or a friend who bails on giving you a ride to the airport.

Sure, mistakes happen, but when it becomes a pattern, respect starts to fade away.

I had this colleague I was super tight with for three years. We were like peas in a pod at work—always together during sales calls, lunch breaks, you name it.

But when I switched jobs, our promise to stay in touch turned out to be all talk.

Every time I tried to make plans, she’d say yes and then flake out at the last minute. It happened so often that I started losing respect for her.

I wish she’d just been straight with me instead of stringing me along.

So, the bottom line is that being consistent with your words and deeds, no matter who you’re dealing with, will earn you respect.                               

6) Embrace your worth

You know what’s a surefire way to get others to respect you? It’s when you show them how much you respect yourself.

Think about it: standing up for yourself when things aren’t fair, sticking to your values day in and day out (even when nobody’s watching), and just being unapologetically you—it all shouts self-respect.

And hey, when you’re confidently rocking your own style, whether it’s your taste in tunes, your diet choices, or your wardrobe, it sends a clear message: you’re comfortable in your own skin.

7) Don’t say yes to everything

Here’s the deal: if you’re always saying yes to everything or letting people treat you however they want, you’ll quickly get a reputation as a pushover.

And you know what happens to pushovers? 

They get walked all over.

That’s why setting boundaries and knowing when to say no is essential for earning respect. It’s about hitting the brakes on people-pleasing and putting yourself first.

For example, let’s say your coworker always dumps extra work on you at the last minute. Instead of always saying yes and feeling overwhelmed, you set a boundary by politely declining and explaining your workload. 

It shows that you value your time and expertise, and others will respect that.

8) Don’t serve the tea

If you want folks to respect you, it’s best to steer clear of spilling the beans.

I know it’s tempting to dive into office gossip or chat about this and that person, but trust me, the fun’s short-lived.

Once the excitement of the gossip wears off, you’re left feeling pretty crummy about it. Plus, there’s the risk of losing people’s respect.

They might start keeping their secrets to themselves or tiptoe around you, worried you’ll blab to someone else.

But hey, if you’ve got a knack for keeping secrets, respect comes easy. People trust you more, and that just amps up the respect even more.

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