How to Earn Respect without Being a Jerk

We can all be jerks sometimes, however, if you truly want to earn respect, this can’t be a permanent state and you have to change.

“Respect” Defined

Respect is a feeling of deep admiration elicited by someone’s qualities behavior, actions, or achievements. Basically, it’s something we all want from other people but it’s not something you can easily demand. In fact, openly trying to command respect from others can be interpreted as being insecure and that, in turn, will earn you even less respect.

What It Means To Be A Jerk

Let’s quickly touch on the points on what it means to be a jerk so you can avoid those things.

  • A typical jerk can’t handle any kind of criticism and typically, they care more about winning an argument than anything else. Typically, they only talk about themselves and they’re willing to dismiss others, their feelings, or their needs in order to get what they want.
A jerk is self-centered
  • Jerks often deliberately use insults and name-calling to keep other people down and they often believe that they’re at the position in life just because of their own merit and they never had any kind of help.
  • Most jerks often think they’re the victim or they were blamed by others and they have to stand up for themselves and they also assume that life, in general, is a zero-sum game and they just want to come out ahead no matter the cost.

While some jerks may be successful in achieving what they want in the short term, in the long term, they will always lose any kind of respect; so here’s what to do instead.

9 Ways To Earn Respect Without Being A Jerk

1.Do Not Walk Away From Conflicts

An easy way to earn respect is by not walking away from conflicts but accepting it at what it is and doing so in a graceful manner. So what does it mean? You speak up when it’s necessary, either for yourself or even more so for others. If you think something is wrong, say something, don’t just shut up.

Do not give in to peer pressure
Do not give in to peer pressure

2. Be Immune To Peer Pressure

I know it’s always easy to fit in and speaking up can be hard but often, in a group, there is a certain dynamic that makes you do things that you will later regret. Most of the time, people don’t look up to Joe average, instead, they respect leaders that swim against the stream and maybe say something that could be interpreted as unpopular at the moment but in line with their beliefs and value system. So that means you have to be your own person and consider yourself as the decision-maker in your life and not as someone who is controlled by others or mainstream movements and you just have to tag along.

3. Embrace Criticism

I know, even the most confident people sometimes struggle with criticism especially when they’ve worked really hard on something and put everything they had into it. Criticism can hurt especially if it’s voiced in an absolute way and no other positives are mentioned, however, if you shift your mindset from criticism being a form to put you down to criticism being a tool to making you better, things all of a sudden change.

In my experience, failure and criticisms are key components to growth, not only in your business but also on a personal level. Most people don’t try to be jerks intentionally and they do something that annoys others. If they know about it, they can change the behavior, learn from it, and grow from it. It may hurt in a moment but it will make them a better person down the line.

4. Accept That Not Everybody Will Like You

Yes, we all want to be liked and to be liked, you have to be likable in the first place. However, at the end of the day, we all have our value system and if you stand up to those values, there will inevitably be people that you disappoint and that is okay and you have to be okay with that.

Assertive & Aggressive
Assertive versus Aggressive

5. Know The Subtle Difference Between Being Assertive & Aggressive

Being assertive means that you’re not a pushover when people try to talk you into something, you think about it and you speak your mind, you bring arguments, pros, and cons, why you make your decision in a certain way and you leave it at that.

Being aggressive means you raise your voice, you may use physical intimidation, or try to simply put others down with your presence.

6. Give Up Trying To Be Right All The Time

I know it feels good to be right which is one of the reasons I probably went to law school because most lawyers want to be right, however, if you just try to be right to win an argument, it will damage your relationships long term because people don’t want to be around you, they don’t want to discuss things with you because they think that you’re never open to constructive criticism and arguments and you will never change your mind anyway.

If you argue, ask yourself, why am i arguing? Do I just wanna win the argument or is there a deeper thing behind it that I want to achieve? Also, keep in mind that we all think of ourselves more highly than of others. In surveys, people always think they are smarter than others or that they have better motivations than others, that they’re more careful than others, this is called the blame bias and just knowing that we automatically assume other people are less smart than we are or that they made a mistake just means that you’re often judging them in a way that is not fair.

So, if you want to earn respect, rather than just blaming others or assuming that others are stupid, think about what you may have done that is not super obvious that may have contributed to the negative outcome.

7. Keep An Open Mind

Your mind is open and you’re willing to change your opinion based on facts that are presented to you. Jerks, in particular, are often very stubborn and unable to accept different opinions or facts and they always want to argue in a way and just be right. By falling into this trap, you deny yourself any ability to grow and to get better.

Also, other people will notice that they will look at you as a person who is stuck in their ways, who is never going to change, and they will not try to use you to promote something in a company that needs adaptive performance, change, or innovation.

8. Do Not Be Afraid To Show Your Vulnerabilities

At first, it may seem counterintuitive because you think “oh if I’m perceived as a strong leader, people respect me more”, however, if you are a strong leader and you’re very confident and secure with who you are, you have no problems with sharing your struggles along the way because that will give people a path and perspective showing them that you struggled but you nevertheless succeeded and it makes them be more hopeful about their own lives.

At the same time, they will have something going on in their lives right now that bothers them and if they can see that you also have something that bothers you, they don’t feel alone and they feel more normal which in turn, enables them to become better.

Always keep in mind, everyone has problems but by being the leader and sharing your own vulnerabilities and putting yourself in a light that is not super favorable, you become more human and people will respect you more. Also, it can be a way to be really funny without hurting anyone else and people will look at you and respect you more for it.

9. Analyze Your Problems & Act On Them

Last but not least, one good way to earn respect is to analyze your problems and to act on them. If you are unhappy with your relationship, don’t just complain about
it, talk to your partner about it, maybe go to relationship counseling and also look at yourself and how you can change to achieve what you really want.

CONCLUSION

So in a nutshell, take control. Don’t blame others and don’t waste your lifetime. if you follow these nine techniques and you speak like a gentleman, I truly believe you will earn more and more respect at your workplace, in your neighborhood, or in your community, and wherever you are where you are in contact with people. People will look up to you and when you’re in a situation where you need something, people will be much more willing to help you than if you’ve always been a jerk because then, you’re on your own.


Gentleman’s Gazette

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