How to Command Respect Without Being a Jerk: 12 Actionable Ways

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by  Travis Snyder | Last Updated:  Feb 24, 2021

“I firmly believe that respect is a lot more important, and a lot greater, than popularity.” Julius Erving

As men, we crave the admiration and reverence of the people in our lives.

But knowing how to command respect doesn’t always come naturally, and it’s not something we’re taught in school.

Fortunately, it’s something we can practice and improve on.

This is an area I’ve worked on throughout my life and it’s a skill you’ll want to perfect too.

When you’re respected, your life is better in every way—from your relationships to your career.

In this article I’m going to show you how you can get more respect from others via 12 actionable ways.

What Does It Mean to Command Respect?

For guys, the most common advice we get on how to conduct ourselves ranges from don’t be a pushover to don’t be an a**hole.

So, how should we act?

Being respected is better than being liked. Respect means you’re considered worthy of high regard.

You’ll never get everyone to like you, but you can carry yourself in a way that makes people think highly of you. Try too hard though, and you might come off as a jerk.

12 Effective Ways to Command Respect From Others

Implement these tips and you’ll notice an immediate positive change in how people respond to you:  Respect Yourself First

Before anyone else will respect you, you have to respect yourself.

First, work on understanding and accepting yourself. Then, build confidence in yourself by focusing on your strengths and what you bring to the world.

As Jordan Peterson points out in the video above, by respecting yourself you’ll live a richer, deeper, and more meaningful life.

Improve Yourself

After you’ve gotten to know yourself better, don’t stop there.

Continue to learn and develop as a person. Personal growth is a major part of our existence as humans and it keeps us energized and fulfilled.

If you remain stagnant in life and don’t build on your foundation of knowledge, you’ll become stale and boring. People will respect you more when you continue to learn and challenge yourself.

Personally, I’m an “improve the mind” guy. My bookshelf is filled with personal development books, from Viktor Frankl to Tony Robbins.

If you believe you suffer from being “too nice”, Robert A. Glover’s fantastic book No More Mr. Nice Guy will give you a lot of actionable advice for taking control of your life and cutting back on the approval seeking.

No More Mr Nice Guy: A Proven Plan for Getting What You Want in Love, Sex, and Life
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But you can also improve yourself by learning additional skills or picking up new hobbies.

Either way, always have a growth mindset. There are a lot of ways to improve as a man and the great thing is you can decide how you want to go about it.

Demonstrate Strong Body Language

It’s difficult to command respect when your head’s down, your shoulders are slouched and you’re closed off to the world. Stand tall and portray calm and confidence at all times.

When you walk around as if you’re depressed or angry at the world, you’ll turn people off. Instead of wanting to be around you, you’ll become the guy they try to avoid at all costs.

Keep your head high, your body tall and your shoulders stretched, and move at a measured pace. When all else fails, carry yourself like Clooney in Ocean’s 11 and you’ll be in good shape.

A big part of feeling confident is looking good. Check out our Style section for actionable recommendations on how to look and feel your best. 

Maintain Strong Eye Contact

You can have strong body language but if you don’t look people in the eyes, they’ll know something doesn’t add up.

Being able to make strong eye contact with people is a good sign that you respect yourself and you respect them.

When talking to one person, look him or her in the eyes for about five to 10 seconds at a time before briefly breaking your gaze. When talking to a small group of people, be sure to look at each person during the course of the conversation. And whatever you do, don’t look at your phone while engaging with someone.

If the thought of looking deep into a person’s soul gives you anxiety, you’re not alone. As with most things, the more you practice it the more comfortable you’ll become doing it.

Respect Others

Follow the old adage of treating others the way you want to be treated. If you’re rude to other people they’ll be rude to you right back. Be kind and take the time to listen to people and they’ll do the same in return (except for a**holes).

Appreciate that other people have different perspectives on life than you. We have a tendency to believe everyone thinks like we do. In reality, people have varied upbringings and life experiences that dictate their beliefs.

You’ll be a more respectable person if you’re able to empathize with others’ viewpoints.

Have a Point of View

Have a strong point of view supported by wisdom on subjects that are important to you. Being able to offer meaningful thoughts will not only make you a better conversationalist, you’ll also be a better leader.

You don’t have to be the guy with an opinion on everything. But it’s important to have a perspective on the things that matter to you.

For example, one thing I feel passionately about is that you shouldn’t settle in life. Unfortunately, I think a lot of people do, especially when it comes to their careers and their relationships. 

My point of view is that you should figure out what would make you truly happy and work hard to make it a reality. It sounds obvious, but a lot of people don’t do it. On a related note, wanting the best for yourself and not settling is a highly respectable quality.

I’ve had a lot of great conversations with people as a result of sharing this unwavering belief.  Opinions spark ideas, create common ground between people and help you communicate better.

Be Open-Minded

While it’s important to have strong opinions, keep yourself open to other viewpoints.

That doesn’t mean you have to waver on your convictions, but embrace new ideas and fresh perspectives. As we get older, we gain more knowledge and experiences and our opinions evolve.

Be Assertive, Not Aggressive

There’s a fine line between being an assertive person and being aggressive. Assertive people confidently speak their minds while being respectful of others. Aggressive people demand things and attack others.

This is one I’ve struggled with in the past. I’d often go from 0 (pushover) to 100 (aggressive a**hole) when talking to someone I disagreed with. I’d either sit there and be quiet or let my frustrations bottle up and then explode in anger toward the person I was talking to.

I eventually learned that, as with all of life, the key is balance. In this case, that means calmly and confidently stating your beliefs, even when they challenge what others’ are saying. The key is being respectful of their opinions too, and trying to find common ground.

To be assertive, voice your beliefs with courage and in a positive way. And accept that you can’t control how people will react to you. Be willing to accept constructive criticism, and learn to respectfully say “no” when someone is asking too much of you.

Stand Up for Yourself

When someone is treating you poorly, insulting you or challenging you, stand up for yourself. Whether you’re dealing with a jerk or someone who is asking too much of you, know when to say enough is enough.

Be polite and respectful to them, especially if they aren’t trying to be mean. But stand your ground. If you don’t stand up for yourself, no one else will.

Determine what exactly you’re objecting to and communicate your objection in a considerate way that doesn’t put you in attack mode.

Control Your Emotions

Being overly angry, sad or even happy all the time isn’t a good look for anybody. And it won’t garner you any respect.

Keeping your emotions in check even with things are hard shows you believe in yourself. Stay calm, cool and collected at all times and people will look to you as a leader in difficult times.

Be aware of your emotions and the “why” behind them. Then, find a different, more productive way to express them without drama.

Be Vulnerable

We can’t be good at everything. We each have specific strengths and weaknesses. But acting as if you’re good at everything will put you firmly in the jerk category.

Always trust in your strengths, but accept that you’ll struggle with some things. Acknowledge your vulnerabilities and seek help from others when needed. 

Be open and express how you feel. Say what you want to say and don’t be afraid to ask for support when you need it.

If you find it difficult to be vulnerable, I highly recommend you give Models by Mark Manson a read. While its focused on dating, most topics are equally applicable to improving your relationships as a whole and thus your ability to command more respect.

Models: Attract Women Through Honesty
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Cut Out People Who Don’t Respect You

If someone continues to disrespect you even after you’ve addressed their behavior, do your best to cut them out of your life.

Sometimes it’s difficult to cut someone such as a family member or co-worker out completely, but try to limit your interactions with him or her.

Life is too short to deal with people who refuse to respect you. 

Time to Walk the Walk

There you go. Believe in yourself. Be assertive. Have a point of view. And follow the rest of the suggestions above to start commanding respect today. Master this area and you’ll experience more fulfillment and success in all aspects of your life.

Did you enjoy this list? Do you know someone who could use this advice? Share this article and you may just save one of your friends from becoming an a**hole, or worse—a pushover.

And be sure to subscribe to The Adult Man on YouTube for more great content on how to be your best self.


How do you command respect in the workplace?

Commanding respect in the workplace is like commanding respect anywhere else. Respect yourself and carry yourself confidently. Be an excellent communicator and make sure you’re clear with your expectations and what’s expected of you.

How do you earn respect as a leader?

A respectable leader listens to his team members, keeps an open mind and is honest about his strengths and weaknesses. He takes responsibility for himself and his team. He communicates well and isn’t afraid to make decisions, stick by them and learn from them for the future.

How do you command respect without being rude?

Consider the people you respect that aren’t rude. How do they talk, act and carry themselves? Follow their lead along with the advice in this article and you’ll earn the respect of others.