In today’s world, it’s not always easy to get the respect you deserve. There’s a lot of people that take their frustrations and insecurities out on you every single day.
Getting disrespected sucks. It ruins your day, makes you feel unimportant, and lowers your self-esteem when you don’t do anything about it.
It’s no fun in the park getting walked over, getting ignored, and getting outspoken by people who are louder than you.
And on top of that, if it’s not handled correctly, it builds up a lot of repressed emotions that can lead to crazy bursts of anger, resentment, and frustration.
You know it when you see it — your boss yells at you today more than usual, your girlfriend doesn’t listen to you, or some guy knocks over your drink and calls you a loser — you know.
It’s a symptom of the Nice Guy syndrome, the syndrome where guys feel uncomfortable to assert themselves when it’s needed.
The good news is, with a huge mindshift change and a lot of conscious effort, it doesn’t have to be that way.
So in this article, I’m going to show you how to start breaking out of this Nice Guy loop and show you how to demand to respect from others…without being an asshole.
The Wrong Way To Get Respect
Growing up, I was the textbook definition of a Nice Guy.
I’d retract into my metaphorical shell of shyness when people would deal with me in a way I didn’t want to be treated.
“Hey, will you do this for me?”
The answer from me, was always yes…even if I didn’t want to do it.
I was afraid to stand up to the bully who pushed me around and picked on me in class, my opinions rarely got heard when I wanted to fix a problem, and as a result, I didn’t have a lot of respect from my peers and from myself.
I let myself suffer from people treating me like crap. And it caused me a lot of problems with anxiety, self-esteem, and confidence.
So when I first got into personal development, one of the topics that was constantly on my mind was how to get respected.
How to become a person that people look up to, treat with common decency, and listen to.
That came with a caveat: I didn’t want to become the same person who I previously hated for not listening, putting me down, and not giving a shit about my feelings.
I didn’t, and still don’t, want to step on people’s toes and become an asshole, even if people listen to me.
Regardless of my intentions, when I first started speaking up for myself, I just spoke louder.
I trained myself to speak my mind all of the time, so that way, I was guaranteed to get heard and respected. That should work, right?
Instead of being a shy insecure guy, I just became a loud insecure guy. I disregarded other people’s feelings and became that asshole that I never wanted to be.
This brings me to my first piece of advice.
1. Don’t Demand Respect
Demanding Respect is an oxymoron. Demands don’t get respect — they get resentment.
Of course we still all deserve respect, but in order to get it, you have to give it first.
That was the complete opposite of what I did when I first tried to get respect. I “demanded” that people listened to me, and although people heard me, they didn’t actually listen.
I was that asshole who just tried to force my opinion on everyone else, which is still the same insecurity of feeling disrespected, just expressed in a different way.
People who get respected don’t demand it. They earn it by giving people respect first.
Instead of being Nice Guys, they are Good Guys. They:
- Want to do things for the greater good of humanity
- Genuinely care about helping people without expecting anything in return
- Live true to their values
- Speak their minds when appropriate
Becoming a respected person is all about giving respect first. It’s about respecting your values and what you want for yourself.
Don’t demand respect. Earn it.
2. Apply The 90/10 Principle of Business To Your Life
Eben Pagan, in his $10,000 business seminar ‘Get Altitude’, mentions that successful businesses give 90% of their content away for free.
The remaining 10% of paid content is what brings in the boat-loads of money.
These badass companies offer a ridiculous amount of content for free, and when they ask for people to buy their products, customers won’t mind spending lots of money for it. Free and valuable content pays off.
Getting respect is the same way. Whether you’re the CEO of a company or the president of an organization or simply the host of an event, giving 90% of the value is a critical element.
Otherwise, when you ask people to do things for you, they won’t want to help you out. If you try to say something important, they’ll be less likely to be influenced by you.
Why? Because they won’t respect you.
Think of a boss or manager of a job that you absolutely hated. He probably worked less hours than you, demanded that you print the TPS reports to place on his desk at 2:33 AM, and never once asked about how your day was going.
As a result, you resented this person and wished they’d slip on a banana and hit their head on a rock.
Don’t be that guy.
Instead, put in 90% of the value of whatever situation you’re in, and when you do, don’t feel bad about asking for the remaining 10%.
Are you the CEO of a company? You better be working the hardest to make sure profit margins are up before asking someone else to do it.
Hosting a dinner party? You better not rely on everyone else to bring the food and set up your house for you.
It’s not about getting respect from the other person — it’s about becoming a respectable person yourself.
It’s about creating more value than you consume. People will see that you’re putting in effort in your life, that you’re a responsible person, and that you go after what you want.
When your peers see that, they’d gladly help you out when you need it.
They’ll listen to you. They’ll know your values and will know to treat you with the respect you deserve, even if you aren’t the “nicest” guy.
Think about Steve Jobs. He had his fair share of issues and screamed at his employees a lot, but because he was creating so much value for everyone around him, he had the ability to demand the best from the people in his company.
If they didn’t live up to his expectations, they weren’t in the company for much longer.
Steve Jobs — respected human being.
3. Listen Intently
In his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey describes how effective people seek to understand others first, then desire to be understood afterwards.
This is the complete opposite of most people, who usually wait for their turn to talk or tell someone that they’re wrong before they’ve finished speaking.
“Use empathic listening to be genuinely influenced by a person, which compels them to reciprocate the listening and take an open mind to being influenced by you. This creates an atmosphere of caring, and positive problem solving.”
Listening is the skill that provides the most ultimate social value.
When you listen to people talk, they feel important because you’re giving them undivided attention and care. When they feel important, they like you. And when they like you, they actually listen to you.
“Talk to someone about themselves and they’ll listen for hours.”- Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People
This goes FAR above any loud spoken dominant asshole who pretends to have any influence on others.
I’ve come to notice that these people have an “influence illusion” to Nice Guys, and when I thought I was getting outspoken or getting disrespected by these louder guys, that wasn’t the case at all.
These people weren’t liked as much, and although they spoke their opinion MUCH more and were more forceful about it, it wasn’t taken with much weight.
Don’t let them fool you.
But when you want to get the respect of people around you, it is important for them to like you.
So instead of trying to prove yourself to them by speaking your mind louder than the people around you, seek to understand them first.
Ask questions and try to figure out what they’re thinking. Then, only after you understand them completely, seek to be understood. Your peers will respect you for it.
4. If People Like You, You’re Doing It Wrong
Over the course of running this blog, I’ve gotten a surprising amount of negative feedback.
“This article is bullshit and stupid and helps nobody.”
“You write personal development stuff? That’s lame.”
(and my personal favorite) “Go kill yourself, you’re a piece of shit.”
The best part? That feedback was on my first article I ever wrote. I have since taken it down because it wasn’t written well anyways, but for a period of time I felt like shit for getting criticized on my works.
I’d gotten some comments on some of my other articles by other readers that were personal attacks on me, and initially, it really got to me. And it occasionally it still does.
But as I was re-reading Tim Ferriss’ advice on dealing with haters, I read a little nugget of wisdom that’s rung true in other areas of my life besides just blogging:
After letting this sink in to my subconscious, I felt inspired to keep writing even after all the negative comments. I’m glad I did.
I’ve since then received e-mails from people all over the world about how they appreciate the articles that I’ve written and videos that I’ve published.
It has helped me connect with other like-minded individuals, provide a platform for a personal growth, and speak my mind to the Internets.
Had I quit when I received negative feedback from the haters across the globe, I would’ve eliminated all the amazing benefits I got from the people who do get it. The people who do understand and connect with what I’m talking about.
Don’t let the haters get you down in any area of your life.
Expect it, and when you find yourself face-to-face with someone who has nothing but negative things to say to you, just smile and know that you’re doing something right.
5. Don’t Worry About Being Liked
Focus on VALUE instead of being liked. When you focus on value, people won’t like you — they’ll need you.
They’ll love you.
Or they’ll hate you out of jealousy. But they’ll never be able to discount your worth, kill your self-esteem, shatter your confidence, or have any influence on you.
You’ll know your value in the world, and you’ll still be able to influence people with a certain type of respect.
Just like Steve Jobs.
6. Stand Your Ground Unapologetically, But Without Judgement
There are some people who, no matter what you do, won’t listen to you or respect you, even when you do it first. As men’s coach Mike Hrostoski says in his article on How To Connect With Anyone, love them anyways.
There will always be people who will try to shut down everything you say, and at that point, it’s not a logical premise — it’s a personal attack.
In that case, leave him with his own garbage and move on with your day.
But if you’re like me and have grown to not be tolerant of people who are consistently disrespectful to you, consider the option of figuring out what the actual problem is.
“Why does it feel like we’re not getting along?”
“What’s the real problem, here?”
If you try to ask questions about it and they’re not receptive, no big deal.
It’s respectful to try and solve the problem, but it’s an asshole move to force something that’s not going to happen anyways.
Don’t keep pushing.
Just focus back on adding value to the situation around you, and go on with your day. No need to judge them — they could just be having an off day/week/life.
But if they keep trying to shut down your opinion or blatantly disrespect you, then stand your ground and do what you feel is necessary.
If it’s an employee or a co-worker, fire them or talk to someone about it. If it’s a friend or girlfriend and this is a reoccurring theme, it’s time to move on.
Stand your ground unapologetically, without judgement, and with respect for yourself.
All in all, if you’re constantly getting disrespected by the people around you, you need to do something about it. You should begin to speak your mind, give more value to the people around you, listen more, and stand your ground without judgement.
You’ll be able to respect yourself for living true to your values and you’ll be able to “demand” respect of those around you.