10 small habits that make people instantly respect you

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Respect is something you earn, not something you can buy or win. It’s all about your actions and your habits. You don’t have to do big things to get respect. Little things can make a big difference too.

In this article, we’re going to look at ten small habits that can make people respect you. They’re easy, anyone can do them, and they really work.

Let’s dive in. 

1. Be on time

Being punctual is one of the simplest yet most potent habits you can cultivate to earn instant respect.

When you’re on time for appointments, meetings, or social events, it sends a clear message to others – you value and respect their time.

Nobody likes to be kept waiting. It’s frustrating and can even be seen as a sign of disrespect.

On the other hand, when you show up on time or even a little early, it demonstrates your reliability and integrity.

It tells people that they can count on you to honor your commitments.

Now, we all run late sometimes. Life happens, right? But make it the exception rather than the rule. If you’re going to be late, let the other person know as soon as possible.

It shows them that you respect their time and their schedule, which is sure to earn you some brownie points.

2. Listen more

Have you ever been in a conversation where it felt like you were talking to a brick wall? Not a great feeling, right?

On the flip side, do you remember a time when someone genuinely listened to what you had to say? It makes a big difference, doesn’t it?

Active listening is a powerful way to earn respect. When you take the time to truly listen to what someone else is saying, it shows that you value their thoughts and opinions. It’s a sign of respect and empathy.

But listening is more than just being quiet while the other person talks. It’s about giving them your full attention.

Put away your phone, make eye contact, and show them that you’re genuinely interested in what they have to say.

And don’t just wait for your turn to talk. Respond to what they’re saying, ask follow-up questions, and show that you’re engaged in the conversation.

When you listen more than you speak, people will not only respect you but also feel more comfortable opening up to you.

3. Keep promises

I remember once, early in my career, I promised a client that I would deliver a project by a certain date. I was confident that I could get it done and wanted to impress them with my efficiency.

But then, life happened. Unexpected tasks popped up, and before I knew it, the deadline was looming and I was far from finished.

I had to call the client and admit that I couldn’t keep my promise. It was a tough conversation, and it taught me a valuable lesson about the importance of keeping promises.

When you say you’re going to do something, people take you at your word. They trust you to follow through. If you don’t, it breaks that trust and can damage your reputation.

But when you keep your promises, no matter how big or small they may be, it shows people that you’re reliable and trustworthy. It builds trust and earns you respect.

4. Treat everyone the same

Did you know that one of the things that people most admire about the Queen of England is that she treats everyone the same, regardless of their status?

Whether she’s meeting a world leader or a local school child, she’s known for her consistent respect and kindness.

In our daily lives, it’s equally important to treat everyone with the same level of respect. This means being as respectful to the waiter at your local restaurant as you are to your boss at work.

Why? Because respect isn’t about who holds more power or who can do something for us. It’s about recognizing the inherent worth and dignity in every person we meet.

When you treat everyone with the same level of respect, it shows that you don’t base your treatment of others on their social status or what they can do for you.

Instead, it shows that you believe in treating all people well because it’s the right thing to do.

And trust us, people notice this. They’ll admire and respect you for it because it shows your character and integrity.

So remember: from the CEO to the janitor, everyone deserves your respect. 

5. Be humble

Humility is a trait that touches the heart. We’ve all been around those people who constantly talk about their achievements, their brilliance, their everything. It can be a bit overwhelming, right?

But then, there are also those who do great things and yet remain humble. These are the people we tend to respect and admire the most.

Humility isn’t about downplaying your achievements or pretending you’re less than you are. It’s about recognizing that while you have accomplished great things, there’s always more to learn, more to achieve, and more ways to grow.

A humble person knows their worth but doesn’t feel the need to broadcast it to everyone else. They let their actions speak louder than their words. And there’s something incredibly respectful and endearing about that.

So, strive for greatness, achieve big things, but stay humble. Let your work tell your story. When you step back and let others shine too, it creates a beautiful harmony that people can’t help but respect.

Humility isn’t thinking less of yourself; it’s thinking of yourself less. And that? That’s where respect begins.

6. Say thank you

This one might sound a bit obvious, but you’d be surprised how often it gets overlooked.

I learned the importance of saying ‘thank you’ from my grandmother. She made a point of expressing gratitude for even the smallest things, and it left a lasting impression on me.

She would always say, “Gratitude is the key to a happy life and the bridge to others’ hearts.” It took me some time to truly understand what she meant. But as I grew older and started implementing this simple habit, I saw how true her words were.

Saying ‘thank you’ is more than just good manners. It’s a way of acknowledging someone else’s effort, kindness, or consideration. It shows that you don’t take things for granted and that you appreciate what others do for you.

Whether it’s thanking your barista for your morning coffee or your colleague for their help on a project, those two little words can make a big difference.

People feel seen and appreciated when you thank them. It builds positive relationships and fosters mutual respect.

So now, I make it a point to say ‘thank you’ often and sincerely. And I’ve found that this small gesture of gratitude often opens the door to great respect.

7. Be honest

Honesty can be tough. It can be uncomfortable to tell the truth when a lie would be more convenient. It can be scary to be open and authentic when it’s easier to hide behind a facade. But you know what? That’s exactly why honesty earns so much respect.

Being honest shows that you have the guts to be real in a world full of fakes. It shows that you’re not afraid to stand up for what’s right, even when it’s not popular. And people, people really respect that.

But let’s clarify something here – being honest doesn’t mean being rude or insensitive. It means being truthful, but also tactful. It means speaking your mind, but also considering others’ feelings.

Remember that one time you had spinach stuck in your teeth and your friend told you about it?

That was embarrassing for sure, but you appreciated their honesty, didn’t you? That’s the kind of honesty we’re talking about here.

So, whether it’s telling your friend about the spinach in their teeth or owning up to your mistakes, strive to be honest.

It might not always be easy, but it will earn you respect. And at the end of the day, that’s worth more than any convenient lie.

8. Stay calm

Did you know that staying calm under pressure is a trait often associated with great leaders like Winston Churchill and Nelson Mandela? It’s true! Their ability to remain cool in the face of crisis not only helped them make better decisions but also earned them immense respect.

Life is often like a roller coaster, full of ups and downs. It’s easy to stay calm when everything is going smoothly. But the real test comes when we hit those inevitable bumps.

Staying calm doesn’t mean you don’t feel stressed or anxious. It means you’re able to manage those feelings and not let them control your actions. It shows emotional maturity and resilience, qualities that people deeply respect.

When you stay calm under pressure, you’re better able to think clearly, make rational decisions, and handle the situation effectively. And it doesn’t go unnoticed. People admire those who can keep their cool in tough situations because it shows strength of character.

9. Respect boundaries

Now, this is something I’ve learned the hard way. When I was younger, I had this friend who I was very close to.

We shared everything and spent a lot of time together. But sometimes, without realizing it, I would overstep her boundaries.

Once, she had been going through a tough time and wanted some space. Instead of understanding and giving her the space she needed, I kept pushing to help. I thought I was being a good friend, but in reality, I was disrespecting her boundaries.

It led to a confrontation where she told me how my actions were making her feel suffocated rather than supported. It was a wake-up call for me. From that day on, I made a conscious effort to respect not just her boundaries, but those of everyone around me.

Respecting boundaries is about understanding and accepting that everyone has their own personal space and limits. It’s about giving others the freedom to feel comfortable and secure in their own space.

When you respect someone’s boundaries, it shows that you respect them as an individual. It’s a sign of understanding and empathy, qualities that can earn you great respect in return.

Now, whenever someone sets a boundary with me, I respect it. And if I’m unsure about someone’s boundaries, I ask. It’s made my relationships healthier and has earned me the respect of those around me. 

10. Keep learning

Let’s be honest here, no one likes a know-it-all. Those who think they have nothing left to learn can come off as arrogant and closed-minded. That’s not the kind of attitude that earns respect.

The world is changing all the time and there’s always something new to learn. Whether it’s a new skill, a new idea, or a different perspective, continuous learning keeps us growing and evolving. And that’s something people respect.

I’ve met people who’ve stopped learning because they think they know enough. But let me tell you, they’re missing out! Life becomes so much more exciting and fulfilling when you stay curious and open to learning.

So, whether you’re at the top of your field or just starting out, remember there’s always room for growth. Stay curious. Stay open. Keep learning. It shows that you’re not afraid of change and growth, and that’s a quality people deeply respect.


Earning respect isn’t about being the loudest in the room or having the most power. It’s about how you treat others and yourself. It’s about being honest, humble, reliable, respectful, and open to growth.

These habits might seem small, but they can make a big difference in how people perceive you. They can earn you the respect you desire. But remember, these habits need to be practiced consistently. They’re not a one-time deal.

So start today! Cultivate these habits and watch how they transform your relationships and your life.

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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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