Are you sick and tired of being disrespected by men?
Does it feel like the men you date consistently fail to see your worth? Or the male colleagues you work with refuse to acknowledge your hard work and commitment?
I’ve been in your shoes before. By the time I hit my late 20’s, I was done with pandering to men and looking for approval in all the wrong places.
Yes, it’s a patriarchal world we live in, but times are changing and if we women want respect, we have to go out there and get it!
1) Respect yourself first and foremost
One thing you’re going to realize as you read through this article is that gaining the respect of men starts with yourself first.
You can’t force men to respect you, but they’ll be more likely to if they see you have self-respect.
So what does self-respect look like?
- Looking after yourself and your well-being (emotional, mental, and physical).
- Making yourself a priority in your life
- Staying true to your values and living authentically
- Refusing to accept treatment that degrades you
- Nurturing your desires and dreams
Why is self-respect so important?
Well, you can’t expect others to respect you if you don’t respect yourself first!
You need to set the bar and set it high. Show men that this is how much you value yourself and that you won’t accept anything less!
Failing to respect yourself gives men the opportunity to take advantage and treat you unfairly – don’t be an enabler in the disrespect you receive.
But respecting yourself isn’t the only thing you should do, which leads me to my next point…
2) Be respectful to others
Respecting yourself is key, but you also need to be respectful to others. You can’t be rude to the men in your life and expect them to treat you with kindness and honesty.
But that’s a given, so let’s look at this from another angle…
You may respect yourself. You may respect the men in your life. But what if you’re a total jerk to everyone else?
Put it this way:
You’re out for lunch one day with a male colleague you respect very much. The waiter comes along and you aren’t very polite or respectful to him or her. Your colleague, even though you treat him well, will pick up on this behavior.
You’ll certainly lose credibility in his eyes.
So the moral of the story?
To be respected, you have to be respectful.
If a man sees that it’s one rule for you and another for everyone else, he’s not going to hold you in high esteem, he’ll just assume that you’re a hypocrite (and rightly so!).
3) Don’t hide your intelligence
Okay, ladies, we’ve all been there before. Laughing at jokes we don’t find funny. Agreeing with a man’s opinion just to be more likable.
Even pretending not to know how to refill the oil in the car engine so he can play the hero (yes, a female friend of mine once did this, didn’t do her any favors!).
I’m going to hit you with a hard fact – this doesn’t earn us respect.
How many times have you dumbed yourself down just to make a man feel more powerful?
I know I’ve done it plenty of times, and it’s never resulted well.
In fact, when I stopped pandering to the ego of men, their respect levels went straight up. At work, in my relationship, and even with the men in my family!
So, if you’ve got talent – show it off!
If you’re knowledgeable about something, share your wisdom.
If something isn’t funny, don’t laugh!
Never hide your intelligence to make men feel more secure around you. They might like you for it, and it may appease their ego, but they’re never going to respect you for it.
On the contrary, when men see a woman who knows her shit, even if it makes them uncomfortable, they can’t help but admire and give you credit for it.
4) Always be honest
Honesty is the basis of respect. Remove honesty and there’s nothing left.
So why is honesty so important?
Well, if you stick to the truth and avoid lying, gossiping or extreme exaggeration, it shows integrity. It shows that you have values and you try to do the right thing.
And men love that.
When they meet an honest woman who doesn’t stir the pot or play games, they know they can trust her. This naturally increases their respect for you too!
When you respect their right to the truth, they’ll respect you in return.
5) Challenge them and keep them on their toes
This goes hand in hand with the point I made about not hiding your intelligence.
Sherie Campbell, an author for HuffPost, explains:
“Men like the challenge, so do not be afraid to challenge him. Stand your ground in a calm and serious way by being who you are from your truth. If you try and convince or litigate with him your “rightness” you will lose. Be true to what you believe and he will respect and admire you for it. This turns him on and turns him around.”
Look, we’re not in the 1950s anymore – a woman isn’t just to be seen and not heard.
Our opinions count, and believe it or not, most men actually like engaging in friendly debates with women.
We often bring forward more empathetic arguments to the table and we see things from different perspectives. This challenges men and makes them think in ways they might not have before.
Not only will they respect you more, but it’s also an attractive trait to have!
But there’s a catch:
If you’re going to challenge a man, it should still be done respectfully. Going in gung-ho and trying to rip his ego to shreds probably won’t win you any brownie points.
Argue your points calmly, intelligently, and with dignity, and trust me, he’ll be forced to respect you even if he doesn’t agree with you!
6) Keep to your word
“All I have in this world is my balls and my word, and I don’t break ’em for no one.” – Tony Montana.
If you haven’t heard that quote before, it’s a good one to familiarize yourself with, because it’s something many men live their lives by:
Keeping their word.
Without it, they’re undeserving of respect.
The same applies to you! If men see you make promises that you can’t see through, they’ll rightly put you in the category of “unreliable”.
As Michael Gruen writes for RollingStone:
“Keeping your word is about more than just doing what you say you will. It is about showing you have someone’s back. It doesn’t matter if the task is menial; if you say you will get it done, do it because that builds credibility, trust, and self-accountability.”
When you show men you’re holding yourself accountable, it signifies that you have self-respect. And what did I say about self-respect?
It’s the key to being respected by others!
7) Don’t take the back seat all the time
Are you proactive around the men in your life?
If you’re not, I totally get it. Many women were raised to take a back seat and “let the men get on with it”.
But this doesn’t earn you respect. Men like women who take the reins and get stuff done!
Take my partner – he couldn’t believe it when he got home one day and I’d assembled a load of furniture, moved the (very heavy) fridge and freezer, and set up the offices in our new home.
I could have let him do it all, but I wanted to get it done. He had newfound respect after he saw that I wasn’t reliant on a man!
And the same goes for the workplace – if you want to see changes made or take on a project, you need to get out there and make it happen.
I’m not going to lie to you, some men still find women who take control as “intimidating”, but men who are secure within themselves will find this self-empowerment very admirable and respectable!
8) Have clear boundaries in place
Boundaries are your way of saying:
This is what I find acceptable and this is what I won’t tolerate.
As explained by Shona Waters for BetterUp:
“Healthy boundaries in relationships create mutual respect between individuals. Setting boundaries helps us know what’s expected in the relationship. Plus, boundaries show us how we can respect each other’s personal space, comfort level, and limits.”
So why are boundaries so important when it comes to getting men to respect you?
For one, healthy boundaries show you respect yourself. They show that you’ve considered your worth and refuse to be treated less than others.
Secondly, you make it easier for people to respect you when you have boundaries in place. The boundaries set the expectation of how you want to be treated.
This means that men know exactly how they should and shouldn’t behave around you. And when your boundaries are clear, there’s no excuse for disrespect.
P.S – if a man continuously ignores your boundaries, he’s not worth earning the respect of in the first place!
9) Voice your opinions
When you’ve got something to say, say it loud and say it proudly!
I touched upon this earlier; we’re not living in the 1950s anymore.
The vast majority of men, decent men, want women who think and speak for themselves.
Even if they don’t agree with what you’re saying, the fact that you believe in your voice and want to share your opinion will already get you more respect than a woman who stays quiet and says “yes” to everything.
The truth is, for a long time, our voices weren’t heard.
Now, many of us live in societies where we can safely express our desires. It’s up to us to shout louder, make space for our opinions, and demand the respect we deserve!
And if men still don’t respect you after sharing your opinion?
They probably feel emasculated by your ideas, in which case, you shouldn’t worry too much about them respecting you anyway!
10) Know when to apologize
Another trait that men respect is knowing when to apologize.
Men are known to have big egos, but guess what? Women have big egos too!
So, being humble and able to take responsibility for yourself goes a long way in earning the respect of others.
If you mess up, own up to it. Apologize and do what you can to make the situation right.
The truth is, men would respect a woman who rectifies her mistakes more than someone who just apologizes and takes a back seat.
But that’s not all…
Know when NOT to apologize too.
You see, if you take the blame even when it’s not your fault, you’re not respecting yourself. And by now, you should know that self-respect is the key here!
So, don’t apologize when:
- You haven’t done anything wrong
- You’re able to easily fix the situation
- You’ve been sensitive or displayed emotion (this is a common one)
- You’ve told the truth
If you’re constantly apologizing for things you don’t need to be sorry about, it shows a lack of self-esteem and self-worth. This makes you an easier target to disrespect.
11) Maintain your independence
We’ve spoken about sharing our opinions, being proactive, and taking responsibility for ourselves.
All of these factors go hand in hand with being independent.
Now, I don’t mean to the extreme – if you’ve got a partner, it’s okay to lean on him from time to time, just as he should be able to do with you.
I mean being independent in terms of how you live your life.
If you want men to respect you, you have to show that you’re capable and worthy of it.
And let’s face it, being reliant on daddy or living off a trust fund doesn’t really scream strong, independent woman.
Men like women who are brave, who go out into the big wide world and build a life for themselves.
If you’ve got your own:
- Social life
- Interests and hobbies
And you aren’t reliant on anyone for the big things in life, trust me, you’re more likely to be respected by men!
12) Communication is key
How you communicate with people is another surefire way to get men to respect you.
Let’s break this down into two sections so it’s clear. Here’s how NOT to communicate:
- Confrontationally (attacking other people’s opinions in an aggressive manner)
- Defensively (ignoring the point and getting upset, shutting down, or lashing out)
- Being passive-aggressive (indirectly being negative, offending, and then pretending it’s a joke)
- Interrupting others (cutting people off shows you have a lack of respect for what they have to say)
- Displaying hostile body language (arms crossed, no eye contact, legs pointing away from the person you’re speaking to)
All of the above won’t just make men disrespect you, but you’ll find it hard to get along with colleagues, friends and it can even break down romantic relationships.
So, how can you communicate effectively and earn respect?
- Listen to other people’s opinions and acknowledge their feelings and thoughts
- Show positive body language by keeping eye contact, nodding, smiling, and generally keeping a relaxed position
- Speak calmly and clearly, don’t leave much up to interpretation.
- Be direct, if you have a problem, don’t beat around the bush, and get it out into the open in a respectful manner
- Say what you have to say, summarize it, and then give people time to process it (don’t worry if there’s an awkward silence, it means they’re thinking).
Once you learn to communicate effectively, it’s hard for men not to respect you.
As with sharing your opinions, they don’t have to agree with you, but the style in which you’ve made your point means it’s very hard to come back with disrespect.
And if they do, that’s where your boundaries should come in. Set the expectation on how you wish to be spoken to, and if they can’t respect that, then end the conversation!
13) Stand up for what you believe in
Finally, a great way to earn the respect of men is to stand up for what you believe in.
What are you passionate about?
Animal rights? Helping people in your local community? Spreading health awareness and support in areas of deprivation?
It doesn’t matter what, what matters is that you have a purpose in life.
And when you follow that purpose and put all your heart and energy into it, men find this extremely respectable.
You’re not sitting at home on TikTok 24/7, you’re not out at the mall wasting money unnecessarily – you have something that gives your life meaning.
Men will pick up on this sense of purpose, it’s almost like a bubble of energy that’ll surround you. It makes you interesting. It shows you have a voice and you aren’t afraid to use it.
Is it hard to get the respect of men?
The truth is, in the past and even now, women still struggle to get the respect of men.
As I mentioned at the start, we do still live in a patriarchal world. Men are used to having things their way.
That’s not to say all men disrespect women though.
Even during history’s worst moments for women, there have been respectful men out there. And there have been women who have demanded respect through the way they conduct themselves.
So, I believe it is hard in the general sense, but not impossible.
In the workplace, you may feel like your male colleagues get more recognition. They probably do. But that shouldn’t stop you from fighting your corner with dignity! Make it impossible for your boss not to respect you!
In relationships – there are plenty of men who would love, adore, and respect a woman who stands on her own two feet and lives her best life. If you keep meeting guys who don’t respect you, you’re looking in the wrong places!
Or you haven’t got healthy boundaries in place.
And in family situations, well, this can be tough.
Outdated viewpoints may still linger, but it’s up to us women to be the change. If we don’t want our sons to grow up to disrespect women out of default, we have to show them a different way.
We have to set strong, clear boundaries with men, and with ourselves!
We’ve covered 13 points on how to get men to respect you, but I hope the main takeaway from this article is that respect starts at home.
It will be extremely different to get men to respect you if you allow yourself to be treated like crap. You have to earn the respect of others but that starts with yourself first.
And one final word of advice – not every man will respect you, and that’s okay. We can’t force anyone to respect us.
But by following the steps above, you’ll be in a much better position to be respected by the men who do matter to you! Just stick to your guns, love yourself first and foremost, and don’t forget to have strong boundaries in place!