People who become more respected as they get older often display these behaviors

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Being well-known and well-respected has a lot of perks.

Some will even say that it’s the key to success: it’s about who you know, not what you do.

Some people are well-known from the get-go, while some become more popular as they get older. 

While they started as the average Joe or Jane, they were able to develop their reputation and attract friends, lovers, and business connections.

But what sets them apart? Is it natural-born charm? Or honed people skills? Do you simply get more graceful around other people as you age?

This topic is fascinating to me. 

As a rule of thumb, people who become more respected as they get older often display these behaviors.

So, after researching and reflecting upon my own journey, I’ve come up with a list of 12 of the most common behaviors of people who were able to develop their standing over time.

Let’s go!

1) They use social media wisely

In the digital age, it may seem like being incredibly prominent on social media is the key to expanding your reach.

And while there’s definitely some truth to that, most people overestimate how important it is. They, therefore, devote too much time and energy to their social media presence.

Truly well-known—and, most importantly, well-respected—figures may not have the most followers or the most likes or comments on their posts.

But you can bet money that they have rich connections with other people in real life.

It’s easy to forget that the internet is not the real world. Our “friends” on social media aren’t necessarily our friends outside these apps and websites.

This doesn’t mean that they explicitly avoid using social media. It means that they use it well. They know that it has great potential, but they’re also aware of its limits.

2) They help people without expecting anything in return

In the business world, people think everything should be transactional. You won’t do something for other people if they don’t do something for you, either.

But the most well-liked and successful people have realized this isn’t true.

In order to form and develop genuine relationships (not just business but personal ones as well), you need to help people without expecting anything in return.

You need to do it willingly out of a sincere desire to provide value to other people.

And sure, some people might take advantage of you this way.

But in general, people will notice and appreciate the things you’ve done for them. Then, they’ll provide you with tenfold value.

After all, these people aren’t just nice. They’re genuinely kind.

3) They’re open-minded

There are 3 main reasons why being open-minded makes you more popular.

Being close-minded is unpleasant

A close-minded person is typically arrogant and dismissive of other people’s ideas and opinions.

They think they’re the best person for the job at all times or think that they know everything. And who would want to be around a person like that?

Open-minded people are more empathetic

On the flip side, if you take the time to really understand where people are coming from with their thoughts and feelings, you’ll cultivate a deeper sense of empathy.

This then allows you to become a more sociable and likable person.

They know that the times change

We all know that stereotype: old people are stuck in the old ways of old times. However, the people who get even more admired as they age are the opposite.

They’re open-minded enough to accept that cultural attitudes shift over time and adapt accordingly.

4) They’re respectful

I mean, duh, right?

People who are polite and respectful will be far more likable than people who are crass and vulgar all the time.

But here’s the difference: they’re polite and respectful even with people they disagree with.

Because it’s easy to be nice to people you get along with. But being able to remain friendly with people who have different ideas than you is what allows these people to climb the social ladder.

Again, it goes back to being open-minded and empathetic.

5) They’re honest

And here’s another thing: they’re honest and sincere about their niceness.

They’re not fake-nice. They don’t try to gas people up just to get extra friendship points.

So when they compliment other people, they mean it. And they don’t hesitate to offer constructive criticism as well if asked for it.

Another overlooked part about honesty is being honest with yourself. These people know themselves and know their limits.

They don’t try to force themselves into becoming people they’re not. They know that you can’t please everyone.

Thus, they’re able to play to their strengths and develop social bonds with the people who matter in their sphere of influence.

After all, your best self is also your most authentic one.

6) They uplift other people

Another common misconception in the business world is that you’ll need to tear people up in order to get ahead. 

But this couldn’t be further from the truth. 

They’re never spreading rumors behind other people’s backs. Rather, they’re always singing praises about their colleagues.

People think that “office politics” involves trying to out-dog people in a dog-eat-dog world. 

And while this may help you in the short term, it’s far better to forge connections that will help you out in the long run instead.

7) They’re resilient

While these people are nice and may seem like flowers and sunshine on the outside, make no mistake: these people are tough, gritty people.

They’ve been through a lot of failures in their long lives and have, therefore, developed an iron core of grit and self-determination.

And so they’re able to take punches—and even fall—yet still get back up on their own two feet. 

This is a recurring theme in the most successful people in all fields.

From entrepreneurs to athletes to politicians, all of them know what they want and will strive for it no matter how many bumps there are on the road.

No wonder people have so much respect and admiration for them, no?

8) They keep trying to learn

Just because they’re old doesn’t mean they know everything. And they know this themselves!

That’s why these old, respected people are constantly trying to learn and improve themselves. They understand that learning never stops.

This is why you still see these people:

  • Attend seminars
  • Get second degrees in their 50s or 60s
  • Reading books
  • Keeping up with new research
  • Talking to younger people
  • Develop new skills
  • Studying current trends

Not only does this allow them to stay relevant in their careers, but it also makes them able to talk about topics and trends that younger people are more aware of.

9) They’re authentic

Most people can tell if you’re not being true to yourself. You become awkward and unlikable if you try to force yourself into becoming someone you’re not on.

Look at these old, popular people. What stands out the most with them? 

In my opinion, it’s how they give off an aura of self-assuredness in the way they move and talk. They’re completely comfortable in their own skin.

They’re relaxed and authentic—which makes other people feel like they can be relaxed and authentic with them as well. This is the key to cultivating genuine relationships.

10) They stick to their values

Over time, these people have solidified their value system and moral compass.

This is where their sense of self-confidence and determination comes from. They know what they believe in, what they think is worth fighting for, and what they want in life.

Don’t get me wrong: they’re not preachy or judgemental. They believe that the best way to convince other people is through their lifestyle and actions.

Such behavior is admirable and respectable to other people—even if they may not share the same values.

11) They say thank you

Another reason why these people are popular is because they always express gratitude to others. Whether it’s as small as getting them a cup of coffee or as big as funding their next project.

Relationships are not just about doing things for other people, after all. Other people will want to help you as well.

And when they do, it’s crucial to express gratitude in a sincere, heartfelt way. 

Forget to thank them, and people will start feeling used and resentful. Obviously, this will only drive them away from you.

12) Being compassionate

Honestly, the things I’ve listed in this article come down to being kind and compassionate.

Have you noticed how these older people are often so soft and gentle with the way they interact with others?

They practice kindness with every person they meet, and this helps other people develop soft spots for them, too.

I believe that this is partly due to their age as well. The older you get, the more struggles you’ll go through. You’ll see more other people fail, too.

Thus, they develop an inherent sense of compassion for other people that just bleeds into everything that they do.

To conclude

Have you been displaying these 12 behaviors? 

Most of us (including myself) probably display some but don’t display others.

And that’s okay. After all, it’s not about being perfect but being better than last time.

We don’t need to be old to start realizing and doing these things, too.

Keep these things in mind as you go about your life, and I’m sure you’ll enrich your social circles—whether in your career or personal life.

Ethan Sterling

Ethan Sterling has a background in entrepreneurship, having started and managed several small businesses. His journey through the ups and downs of entrepreneurship provides him with practical insights into personal resilience, strategic thinking, and the value of persistence. Ethan’s articles offer real-world advice for those looking to grow personally and professionally.

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