“One of them wants only to be someone you’d admire
One would as soon just throw you on the fire…
“After all is said and after all is done,
God only knows which of them I’ll become.”
– Fleet Foxes, “Someone You’d Admire”
In our own way, each of us would love to be someone to who others look up to.
Even if that’s just our sibling, child or friend…
Knowing that you are a role model and inspiration for another human being is a great feeling.
But it can be hard to know if someone is just flattering you or being nice to get things from you.
That’s why learning to separate true admiration from ambition and sucking up is so important.
Here are 10 undeniable signs someone looks up to you for real.
10 undeniable signs someone looks up to you
1) They want to get involved in causes you care about
One of the most undeniable signs someone looks up to you is that they want to get involved in causes you care about.
Whatever is near and dear to you matters to them, whether it’s rescuing stray animals and taking them to the shelter, or signing petitions for anti-war activism.
Maybe you’re all about growing organic food to offset the environmental and economic ravages of mass farming, or focused on international human rights law.
No matter how specialized or intense your passions and causes are, the person who looks up to you will express enormous interest in them.
They will want to know more, find out ways to get involved, and consider entering a career similar to yours.
Part of the way to be that person whose causes connect with others? Write a personal mission statement as Inc. advises:
“Just as your company mission statement guides the activities of the business, a personal mission statement guides the activities of your personal life.
“Develop a personal mission statement, and then identify causes that resonate with that mission.”
2) They imitate your behavior and beliefs
English satirist and playwright Oscar Wilde famously said that “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”
When someone looks up to you, they imitate your behavior and beliefs. They want to be like you.
I think of my favorite sports stars growing up and how I would watch them speak in interviews and play on the ice, on the court and on the field.
I wanted to play sports like them, but I also wanted to be like them: I wanted to speak as they did, share their view of life and the world.
I wanted to imbibe their credo and make it my own: use it as my own winning formula in life.
Even the simplest statement or phrase would captivate me.
That’s how it is when somebody admires you.
Another great quote about this comes from Niccolò Machiavelli:
“A prudent man will always try to follow in the footsteps of great men and imitate those who have been truly outstanding, so that, if he is not quite as skillful as they, at least some of their ability may rub off on him.”
3) They model their fashion and personal style off of you
Another definite and undeniable signs someone looks up to you is when they try to copy your fashion style.
You may wonder how important clothes and style are in the bigger picture, and that’s debatable.
But when it comes to those we look up to – whether it’s a celebrity or just our older brother – how they dress and the accessories they wear mean a lot.
From cool Raybans to ripped jeans, the person who looks up to you will tend to ape your look.
“Positive copying is fairly commonplace, and it can be quite flattering. In these cases, you won’t feel harmed or threatened by this copying, though it may get a bit awkward every now and then.
“A positive copycat may: Ask you where you got an outfit they love and then buy it.”
Sometimes people copy the fashion and styles they see in movies and TV. After all, brand placement wouldn’t bother if that were not the case.
But when somebody copies another person’s style or pays homage to it who they know in real life it’s a sign that they definitely look up to you and want to be more like you.
4) They care a lot about the music and entertainment you like
Growing up, I was obsessed with what music “cool” people liked and loved.
I still am quite influenced by recommendations from friends or people close to me about music, films and television programs.
If someone I respect or look up to recommends or enjoys something, I find there’s a good chance I’ll be into it as well.
This is how it is when somebody looks up to you.
They want to know what you’re into, why it moves you and what you love about it.
They want to watch shows with you, download the music you love, and think about the messages and storylines that speak to you.
They admire you, so they want to see the narratives and myths that have made you who you are and keep you going in life.
Here’s a great article on TimeOut about the importance of good friend movies and some specific suggestions.
“When it comes to relationships, it’s usually romantic films that grab the spotlight, but there’s something special about movies that celebrate mates.
“From true-to-life coming-of-age tales to workplace dramas, friendship is portrayed in many different ways on screen.”
5) They always have time for you
This is among the clearest and most undeniable signs someone looks up to you: they make time for you.
Those who don’t mean a lot to us often get treated like an afterthought.
But those we look up to tend to come first on the schedule.
In fact, in many cases, someone who looks up to you will clear his or her schedule to be around you and coordinate schedules together.
Making time means that you respect and look up to someone.
Otherwise why go to the trouble of spending valuable time with them, talking to them, or caring what they’re doing?
While your friends may go through ups and downs, those who admire you will always find a way to try to be part of your life and spend time with you.
“While people evolve, friendships evolve. We become increasingly busy with our own lives and we may become increasingly closer to our friends at the same life stages as us,” writes Jillian Eversole.
“Before you know it, so much time can pass and with that time, friendships can fade.
“Your world will get smaller and I promise you that you will wake up one day yearning for your friends and for more than a very small circle of family.”
6) They speak well of you to others
When you care about someone you say good things about them to everyone you know.
It’s sort of like the flip-side of negative gossip and rumors. Those are what will happen when somebody lacks respect or admiration.
Praise and endorsement are what happens when somebody looks up to you.
They tell people you’re great: they recommend you professionally, personally and in any way possible.
This includes in a business context.
“Be imaginative and share details that highlight the ways in which the person is interesting, and describe them as someone others would want to get to know.”
The power of speaking positively of someone is bigger than many of us realize.
Getting a good or bad reputation isn’t random: it’s the collection of what people say about you when you’re not around, including your colleagues, boss, family, friends and romantic partners.
7) They pay attention to what you say and to your advice
Thinking of those I look up to, I’ve always valued their advice and words a lot.
I wanted to hear how they saw a situation or issue because I respected their life experience and philosophy so much.
As in the above point, this goes just as much on the career level as the personal level.
As Cayenne Consulting observes, being a positive role model can also pay big dividends in the workplace:
“You may be driven, successful, and smart, but whether you choose to show respect or not speaks volumes about how other people see you.
“Everyone notices if you are taking people for granted, not showing gratitude, or stepping on others to get ahead.”
8) They introduce you to other like-minded people
Somebody who admires you tends to become a great connector.
They will find others who think and act like you and encourage you to link up.
They want to keep the party going by getting together a group of like-minded folks.
Because they admire you, they want to bless you with new connections and show you that they are an asset to you.
On the personal level, this applies to new friends, potential romantic interests and those who share your interests.
On the professional level, it can be new contracts, new clients and new connections who can boost your professional career enormously.
Your person who looks up for you can also be an excellent bridge for you to start doing more activities that get you in a social mood and atmosphere.
Some of the things your pal might get you to do?
“Join a sports team or take a class. Attend a happy hour. Volunteer for an event.
“Always make it known that you would love the opportunity to meet other people. From that, people will start inviting you to things.”
9) They’re interested in your spiritual and religious views
Somebody who looks up to you is deeply interested in what’s important to you religiously and spiritually.
They aren’t satisfied by just knowing about and admiring the surface characteristics of you. They want to go deeper.
Spirituality and religion are about as deep as you get because these beliefs inform how we live our lives and approach existence.
“Spirituality is a broad concept with room for many perspectives. It has to do with having a sense of peace and purpose and feeling connected to something bigger than ourselves. It typically involves a search for meaning in life,” writes Reach Out Australia.
“Spirituality can be complex and you might feel overwhelmed or confronted, so don’t be afraid to talk about it with a trusted family member, friend, teacher or religious leader.
“Listening to other people’s experiences and making them feel meaningful for you might help you decide what spirituality means for you.”
10) They help you out even when it’s inconvenient and hard
Even good friends sometimes duck out at the last minute when the going gets tough.
But somebody who looks up to you goes the distance.
They’ll be there to help out even when it’s inconvenient or difficult.
Whether it’s helping repair a busted cupboard door or giving you a ride you really need, somebody who looks up to you won’t be put out at all.
They’ll relish the opportunity to be there for their role model.
And they won’t want anything back in return either.
Being a genuine and helpful role model
Being a role model isn’t easy. None of us are perfect and knowing someone sees you as their hero can be intimidating.
But the upside is that it pushes you to be that beacon of hope for them.
Good parents understand this, as do positive leaders, politicians, professionals and spiritual and religious leaders.
Being a genuine and helpful role model isn’t about being flawless or having good public relations.
It’s about adding more to people’s lives at the end of the day than you take away.
Of course, this is easier said than done.
But it is definitely worth it and achievable when you focus on how your words and actions are affecting those around you.