9 behaviors that instantly make people respect you when you first meet them

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There’s a huge difference between demanding respect and earning it.

Demanding respect can leave people feeling pressured and uncomfortable, while earning it allows them to genuinely admire you for who you are.

Earning respect is all about the way you behave, particularly when you first meet someone. And those who are good at it know that there are certain behaviors that instantly make others respect you.

Below are some behaviors to practice that can help you earn respect from people the moment they meet you.

1) Authenticity

Nothing earns respect faster than being genuine.

In a world where it’s so easy to put on a facade, authenticity stands out. And people instantly respect those who are comfortable in their own skin.

Being authentic means being true to who you are. It’s about expressing your true thoughts, feelings and beliefs, rather than trying to fit into a mold that society or anyone else has created.

But remember, authenticity shouldn’t be an excuse for rudeness or disrespect. It’s about being honest and real, while also being considerate of others’ feelings.

Authenticity commands respect because it shows courage. It shows that you’re not afraid to be yourself, even if it means standing out from the crowd.

If you want to be respected as soon as you meet someone, let your true self shine. But always do it with kindness and respect towards others.

2) Confidence

In my own experience, confidence is a powerful magnet for respect.

I remember walking into a business meeting a couple of years back. I was new to the industry and didn’t know a soul in the room. But I walked in with my shoulders back, a strong handshake, and a ready smile.

I wasn’t pretentious or overbearing. Instead, I was open, listened more than I spoke, and asked intelligent questions when needed. My confidence wasn’t about proving myself to be the smartest in the room, but about showing that I was comfortable with who I was and what I brought to the table.

And you know what? The people in that room respected me for it. They saw my confidence not as arrogance, but as self-assuredness. It demonstrated that I trusted my abilities and judgment without needing to belittle or outshine others.

Confidence can indeed command instant respect when meeting someone for the first time – as long as it’s genuine and not inflated arrogance. Be confident, believe in yourself, and others will respect you for it.

3) Listening skills

In a study by the Harvard Business Review, it was found that good listeners are often perceived as people leaders.

Listening isn’t just about staying silent while the other person talks. It involves showing interest, asking pertinent questions, and providing feedback.

When you first meet someone and show genuine interest in what they have to say, it sends a powerful message. It shows that you value their thoughts and opinions, which in turn commands respect.

If you want to make a good impression and earn respect quickly, work on your listening skills. Show genuine interest in what others are saying, and they will likely respect you for it.

4) Empathy

Empathy is a powerful tool for building connections and earning respect.

When you meet someone for the first time, showing empathy means you’re able to understand their feelings and perspectives. It shows that you’re not just self-focused, but that you genuinely care about others.

But empathy is more than just understanding. It’s about communicating that understanding back to the person, letting them know you get where they’re coming from.

People respect those who show empathy because it’s a sign of emotional intelligence. It also shows that you’re a kind and considerate person who values others’ experiences and emotions.

When you meet someone new, try to put yourself in their shoes and show empathy. You’ll be surprised at how quickly it can earn you respect.

5) Respect for others

Respect is a two-way street.

When you meet someone for the first time, showing them respect is a surefire way to earn their respect in return. This means treating them with kindness, listening attentively, and valuing their opinions.

But it also means respecting their boundaries and personal space. If they seem uncomfortable with a topic of conversation or a particular situation, it’s important to acknowledge this and adjust accordingly.

People are more likely to respect you when they feel respected by you. Make a conscious effort to show respect to everyone you meet – it will surely pay off.

6) Kindness

Kindness is a universal language that everyone understands and appreciates.

When you meet someone for the first time, a simple act of kindness can leave a lasting impression. Whether it’s offering a warm smile, giving a sincere compliment, or extending a helping hand, kindness can instantly earn you respect.

Because in today’s fast-paced world, where people often prioritize personal success over the well-being of others, acts of kindness stand out. They show that you’re not just about yourself, but that you genuinely care about others.

Kindness communicates compassion, empathy, and respect – all values that people admire and respect.

Never underestimate the power of being kind. It’s one of the most immediate ways to make people respect you when you first meet them.

7) Honesty

I remember a time when I was asked a question in a group setting, and I didn’t know the answer. Instead of trying to bluff my way through, I admitted that I didn’t know.

This honesty didn’t make me look weak or incompetent. Instead, it demonstrated that I was secure enough to admit when I didn’t have all the answers. It showed humility and a willingness to learn, which are both qualities that people respect.

People generally value honesty over perfection. They appreciate when you can admit your mistakes or knowledge gaps, rather than pretending to know it all.

When you first meet someone, don’t be afraid to be honest. It can be a powerful way to earn their respect.

8) Dependability

Dependability is a trait that people highly respect.

When you meet someone for the first time, demonstrating that you’re a reliable and trustworthy person can earn you their respect instantly. This could mean showing up on time, keeping your promises, or following through with commitments.

Dependability shows that you take your responsibilities seriously and that others can count on you. It’s a sign of integrity and professionalism, qualities that people highly respect.

Strive to be someone who keeps their word and follows through. Being dependable can make a strong impression and earn you respect when meeting someone new.

9) Self-awareness

Self-awareness is arguably the cornerstone of earning respect.

It’s about understanding your strengths and weaknesses, and knowing how your actions affect others. When you’re self-aware, you can manage your behavior in a way that’s considerate and respectful to others.

Self-awareness shows maturity and emotional intelligence, traits that people deeply respect. It allows you to take responsibility for your actions, grow from your mistakes, and continuously strive to improve.

If you want to earn respect when meeting someone new, strive for self-awareness. It’s a trait that not only earns respect but also makes you a better person overall.

Final thoughts: It’s all about connection

At the heart of earning respect lies the human need for connection.

Respect isn’t about putting yourself on a pedestal or asserting dominance. It’s about fostering a genuine connection with those around you, built on mutual understanding and regard.

The behaviors we’ve discussed – from authenticity and confidence, to empathy and self-awareness – all serve to strengthen this connection. They’re about showing up as your best self and treating others with kindness and consideration.

A quote by the philosopher Immanuel Kant encapsulates this beautifully: “Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, never merely as a means to an end, but always at the same time as an end.”

The essence of respect lies in recognizing the inherent worth in every individual you meet. When we approach each interaction with this mindset, respect becomes less about commanding and more about connecting.

So as you step into your next interaction, remember to bring these behaviors along. Not just to earn respect, but to create meaningful connections that enrich your life and the lives of others.

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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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