8 subtle behaviors that instantly make people lose respect for you, according to psychology

It’s a tough pill to swallow, but the way people perceive us is often based on our behaviors.

Subtle actions can have a huge impact on how others respect you. And the scary part? You might not even realize you’re doing them.

In the field of psychology, there are certain behaviors that are notorious respect-killers.

And I’m here to share 8 of these with you, all backed by psychology. Don’t worry, it’s not about calling you out. It’s about awareness and growth.

Here we go – exploring the 8 subtle behaviors that can instantly make people lose respect for you.

1) Overpromising and underdelivering

One of the quickest ways to lose respect is to make grand promises and then fail to follow through.

Psychology tells us that people value reliability and consistency. We trust people who do what they say they will – it’s as simple as that.

But when someone consistently overpromises and under-delivers, it sends a clear message: they can’t be trusted to keep their word.

This behavior not only damages your reputation but also erodes the trust that others have in you.

Remember, it’s far better to under-promise and over-deliver than the other way around. Managing expectations isn’t about playing it safe, it’s about respect and integrity.

So, before making a promise, make sure you can keep it. It’s better to be honest upfront than to let someone down later on.

2) Being dismissive of others’ opinions

We’ve all been in situations where our opinions were dismissed without a second thought. I remember a time when I shared a new idea during a team meeting. Instead of considering it, my boss outright dismissed it, saying “we’ve always done it this way.”

That stung. It made me feel unimportant and disrespected. And according to psychology, this is a common reaction.

Dismissing others’ opinions without consideration can lead to a loss of respect. It sends the message that you don’t value their thoughts or contributions. And trust me, people notice.

Every opinion, even those different from ours, deserves consideration and respect. After all, diverse perspectives often lead to the best solutions.

So next time someone shares their thoughts with you, listen and consider them carefully. You might not always agree, but showing respect goes a long way in maintaining it.

3) Constant negativity

Let’s face it, no one enjoys being around a constant downer. And it turns out, there’s a good reason for that.

Our brains have a natural tendency to mirror the emotions of those around us, a phenomenon known as emotional contagion. So when someone is consistently negative, it can drag down the mood of everyone else.

Being constantly negative can quickly chip away at the respect others have for you. It paints a picture of someone who’s not constructive or solution-oriented, but rather stuck in a rut of pessimism.

While it’s okay to express concerns or frustrations, it’s crucial to balance it with positivity and proactive problem-solving. This shows that you’re not just focused on the problem, but also on finding a solution.

4) Excessive self-promotion

We all know someone who can turn any conversation into a highlight reel of their accomplishments. While it’s great to be proud of what you’ve achieved, excessive self-promotion can quickly become tiresome.

Psychology suggests that people who constantly brag about themselves are often seen as insecure and needy. It sends out a signal that they’re seeking validation from others.

Remember, respect isn’t something that can be demanded, it must be earned. And constantly talking about yourself isn’t the way to do it.

True respect comes from humility, authenticity, and the ability to recognize and appreciate others’ achievements. So next time you’re itching to share your latest accomplishment, take a moment to ask about the other person’s day or achievements too.

5) Lack of empathy

In our fast-paced world, it’s easy to get caught up in our own lives, forgetting to put ourselves in others’ shoes. But lack of empathy can lead to a rapid loss of respect.

Empathy is about understanding and sharing the feelings of others. It’s about showing kindness and compassion, even when it’s difficult.

When we fail to show empathy, it can make people feel misunderstood and unimportant. It sends the message that their feelings don’t matter.

But when we take the time to listen, to really understand, it builds connections and fosters respect. As humans, we all long for understanding and connection.

6) Gossiping

I remember a time when I was the subject of workplace gossip. It was hurtful and damaging, and it made me lose respect for the people involved.

Gossiping is a behavior that can instantly make others lose respect for you. It not only hurts the person being talked about but also reflects poorly on the person spreading the gossip.

It sends the message that you can’t be trusted with sensitive information, and that you choose to talk about people rather than to them.

The next time you’re tempted to engage in gossip, consider how you would feel if the roles were reversed. Always strive to be someone who builds others up, not tears them down.

7) Not taking responsibility

We all make mistakes, it’s part of being human. But how we handle those mistakes can greatly impact how others perceive and respect us.

When someone consistently avoids taking responsibility for their actions, it can be frustrating and disappointing. It portrays them as someone who isn’t accountable or mature enough to admit when they’re wrong.

On the other hand, owning up to your mistakes and making a genuine effort to correct them shows integrity and humility. It sends a message that you’re human, you’re learning, and most importantly, that you can be trusted to do the right thing.

Remember, respect is earned through actions not words. Taking responsibility for your actions is a powerful way to gain respect.

8) Ignoring boundaries

One of the most important aspects of any relationship, personal or professional, is respect for boundaries. When someone consistently ignores or dismisses your boundaries, it can feel like a direct disrespect to your personal space and needs.

Ignoring boundaries can range from physical space invasions to emotional oversteps. It sends a message that the person’s comfort and needs don’t matter to you.

Respecting boundaries means understanding and acknowledging that everyone has their own limits and comfort zones. It’s about giving people the space they need and deserve.

In the end, maintaining respect comes down to treating others the way you’d want to be treated – with kindness, consideration, and respect for their boundaries.

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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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