If you want people to respect you, stop doing these 17 things in public

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If you want to earn respect, be respectable—plain and simple.

And if you go “Huh? There’s nothing SIMPLE with that!”, well…let me assure you that it’s actually quite easy to do. 

You just have to avoid doing certain things and people will generously and automatically give you their respect.

In this article, I will talk about 17 things you should avoid doing in public if you want to earn people’s respect.

1) Being aggressive

Bare-faced aggression is one of those things that will leave a bad impression on others, even if you’re in the right.

So that’s why you should take care not to raise your voice and threaten others if you care about being seen as respectable.

And as an added bonus, when the time comes when you have no choice but to be aggressive, it will make a stronger impression and make people more willing to listen.

2) Having a public meltdown

Emotions—especially anger and hurt—can be quite hard to control. This goes double for those who might have experienced severe trauma.

Unfortunately, you can’t exactly count people to be understanding, especially strangers who know nothing about you.

That’s why it’s important to know your limits and do your best to not be too emotional in front of other people. 

Vent quietly to friends in private if you must, but keep your calm in public. And if you find it difficult to control, then find a safe space to let it all out, like in the comfort room.

3) Slamming doors 

There’s no two ways around it — slamming doors is rude.

It tells people that you’re either rude and passive-aggressive, or you don’t care enough about others to make sure the door closes quietly behind you.

You might not care about being prim and proper all the time (and, indeed, who can?) but it doesn’t take much to be mindful about how you close your doors to not startle others.

4) Getting dead drunk

Drunk people are unpredictable and terrifying. One moment they can be doubled over vomiting all over your carpet… and then throwing fists at random people the next.

Suffice to say, the last thing people want to see is someone being dead drunk out in public. 

And if you’re seen drunk in the open consistently enough, then it’ll be hard for you to ever regain people’s respect.

That is to say, make sure to know your limits and avoid getting drunk when you’re out and about. If you find this a challenge, have a friend guard your alcohol intake and drive you straight home if possible.

5) Cutting in line

Nobody likes standing in line, so it should perhaps come as no surprise that people don’t like it when people cheat the system and cut in line.

And yet some people try to find ways to do so anyways, sometimes even abusing priority lanes by pretending to be pregnant or disabled when they’re not.

So don’t do it, even if you think you can get away with it. 

Not only are you making yourself look bad, you’re making things harder for those who actually need those priority lanes.

6) Talking trash about other people

No matter how charming you are or how many bottles of beer you’ve downed, if you don’t show other people respect, you’re not getting any in return.

If you want to be respected, you shouldn’t gossip.  Take care not to just carelessly talk negatively about others and bash them for whatever reason you see fit.

So as tempting as it might be to engage in gossip or to roast that random person whose fashion sense is 600 years out of date, keep your mouth shut.

7) Smelling funky

It might seem superficial not to respect others simply because of the way they smell, but most people judge others based on their hygiene.

So if you want to be respected, the least you can do is to at least try to be as inoffensive as you can. Brush your teeth, make sure you take regular baths, and wear clean clothes.

Don’t go overboard on the perfume either—you don’t want to burn people’s sinuses off.

8) Breaking traffic rules

Think about it—would you be inclined to respect someone who ran a red light and almost crashed into your car, or would you rather flip the bird at them instead?

As tempting as it may be to disregard traffic rules sometimes, they’re there for a reason. Disregarding them puts you and everyone else sharing the road with you in danger.

People aren’t generally inclined to respect people who are an active threat to themselves.

9) Being rude 

Outside of the dark corners of society where outcasts gather, being rude and crass will not earn you respect. Rather, it makes people not want to associate with you.

The world we live in is harsh enough, and we live with more than enough misery in our day to day lives.

If you want to be respected, be someone who will take away that misery and make living easier for others, not someone who does nothing but foul the air.

10) Smoking in a non-smoking zone

Gone are the days when smoking was seen as a sign of class. These days people are more and more concerned about the health risks of smoking instead.

Non-smokers generally don’t want to end up six feet under because people keep on subjecting them to second-hand smoke, and barely tolerate it even where it’s allowed.

So if you ever smoke where there’s a big sign telling you that you’re not allowed to, don’t expect people to respect you.

11) Being obnoxiously loud

Nobody wants to sit down for an hour-long bus ride only to have the people seated behind them be obnoxiously loud for the entire trip and the one in front of them blasting their music on max.

There’s a time and place for that noise, and public spaces certainly ain’t it. 

It’s loud enough out there, and people would certainly prefer less noise, not more.

So spare everyone else your family drama and keep your voice down low.

12) Not minding other people’s space

A thing to always keep in mind is that when you’re out in public, you’re moving in a shared space and you should be mindful of others’ boundaries too.

So don’t zoom around carelessly in the supermarket or take up more space than you actually need on the train.

People will notice this, and if you prove yourself mindful consistently enough you’ll earn people’s respect.

13) Acting entitled

There’s a reason why we like to complain about the Karens and the Kens—it’s the entitlement. It’s downright annoying.

Nobody has the patience or grace to respect someone who goes out of their way to call the police over people having a barbecue in the park, or to complain over being served sugar instead of honey.

So if you don’t want people to lose their respect for you, just don’t act like you’re the most important person in the world.

14) Public displays of impatience

Just because you’re impatient doesn’t mean that the whole world has to know about it.

So if you start tapping your feet, grumbling under your breath, and frowning at the waiters because your order hasn’t arrived quickly enough for your liking, expect people to look at you and go “what’s their problem?”

Things sometimes just take time. You have to deal with it.

15) Interrupting unnecessarily

As a rule of thumb, you should try to avoid interrupting other people, regardless of what they’re doing.

They might be having a conversation, holding a meeting, or playing a game—it doesn’t matter. People don’t want to be disturbed, and will consider interruptions disrespectful and rude.

And yes, this is the case even if they don’t bring it up or make a big fuss about it. If you must interrupt someone, make sure it’s actually worth their time.

16) Joking about other people’s misfortune

There are some people who think that they can get away with anything so long as they say that they’re just joking.

But that’s not how it works—hurtful words don’t stop being hurtful just because they were said as a joke. If anything, that can even make it worse.

So don’t go around turning your neighbor’s PTSD, depression, and poverty into punchlines for your jokes, no matter how tempting it might be.

17) Disrespecting those who can’t fight for themselves

Disrespecting and being cruel towards those who can’t stand up to themselves is a surefire way to become the world’s most hated person.

So if you want people to respect you, then you should never be cruel towards children, animals, the elderly, and the disabled.

You might be surprised at how unforgiving people can get if you do any of these things.

Last words

 As far as respect is concerned, the things you don’t do are actually more important than the things you do.

In general, winning people’s respect boils down to being mindful towards the needs and feelings of other people, especially when you’re out in public sharing your space with them.

Now, there are times when it’s better to go against what I’ve described in this article, but they are so rare and specific it’s not worth trying to describe them.

So if you want to gain respect, just avoid doing the things I mentioned. 

And if, even if you do all of them, certain people still disrespect you, well…it’s on them. That I can guarantee.

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Tina Fey

I'm Tina Fey, the founder of the blog Love Connection. I've extremely passionate about sharing relationship advice. I've studied psychology and have my Masters in marital, family, and relationship counseling. I hope with all my heart to help you improve your relationships, and I hope that even if one thing I write helps you, it means more to me than just about anything else in the world. Check out my blog Love Connection, and if you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter

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