Have you ever asked yourself why people cut you off while you are talking? If it happens to you frequently you might be facing a serious problem without even knowing it.
When I was insecure and shy, people constantly interrupted or ignored me. Some of them even messed with me. I can remember a waiter who would intentionally not understand what I had ordered 3 or 4 times in a row.
Me: “I’d like apple juice.”
Him: “Orange juice for the boy in the jacket.”
It was hilarious to him and to everyone at the table but me.
Other times people would try to scare me with loud noises or acting as if they’d hit me.
Why did they do that?
“People tend to go as far as you let them.”
It’s so easy to blame others for being rude and it’s totally understandable! But unfortunately, you can’t change other people. You can only change yourself.
Here are a few tips that helped me put an end to disrespectful behavior.
Reflect on your social skills
Before you can start to change anything you need to know which areas could use some improvement.
- Do you have a sarcastic sense of humor? If you do then look into that. Ask someone who you can trust if you hurt people with your jokes.
- Are you genuinely interested in other people’s stories or is it just something you have to endure to be able to talk about what interests you again?
- Do you think small talk is a waste of time and everyone who enjoys it is dull and superficial?
- Do you add value to other people’s lives when talking to them? (fun, interesting stories, tips,…)
- Are you trying to keep the conversation going but it always ends sooner than you want?
Reflect on these questions and if necessary adapt your behavior accordingly.
If you haven’t done it yet, pick up a copy of How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie.
How to get respected by others
If you are sure that someone treats you disrespectfully you must not remain silent about it! Tell them “Excuse me, is there any reason why you treat me like that? Have I offended you in some way?”
You set boundaries of what behavior is acceptable for you and what’s inacceptable. If someone crosses that line you have to stand up for yourself!
That does not mean starting a physical confrontation! Always avoid that!
Do what most people won’t
Another way to get respect is by doing activities that are outside of most people’s realities.
A friend of mine hitchhiked from Austria to Spain last year. From there he went to a remote island with nothing but a bag pack, water, olives and a baguette.
Every day he walked more than 30 kilometers (about 19 miles) just to find fresh water and shelter.
Experiences like that tell everyone around you “Hey this guy has a story to tell, you better listen.” It also raises your social status substantially.
Important: Please don’t put yourself in dangerous situations! Do only what you are capable of.
I know some people seem to live to make your life miserable. Stay away from them! However, most people don’t act like jerks out of sheer sadism. If you get cut off or ignored time after time again, there is a good chance there is more to the story.
Make it a point to find out what people truly think about you, even if it hurts. Not knowing the cause is much worse. I suggest you ask a person you can trust what is going on. Insist on 100% honesty! Reassure that you can take the truth and don’t become defensive. Listen closely to every feedback you can get even if it hurts. After a while you will be grateful for it.
Back when I was in high school I asked a female friend of mine to create a list with stuff others disliked about me. Man, did that hurt! But you know what? I improved every single thing on that list and in retrospective I am damn proud I did it.
When your social status is high you get respect automatically. So what does social status mean?
Here are a few examples:
- The CEO of a company has high social status in the company. The intern very little.
- The DJ has high social status in a nightclub whereas a normal visitor has low social status.
- At the university the professor has high social status but a student has little.
Even if you have low status right now you can get it quickly by hanging out with people who have high social status. But how can you meet them?
Easy. The solution is spare time activities. Meet these people when they are not in their usual environment. It’s much easier for example to befriend a DJ in a volleyball class than in a busy nightclub.
These folks have what you want: social skills, confidence and social status. You can learn a ton from people like that! Just hang out with them, have a good time, add value to their lives and as a reward everything they represent will rub off on you.
I have one last piece of advice before I wrap this post up:
Treat mean people with kindness and see their childish behavior as a chance for you to become even greater.
You might not realize it as of this moment, but they are the ones who push you to become the best version of yourself.
What are the most disrespectful things people have done to you? Scroll down and share your story in the comments.