Some people seem to have a sign on their back that reads, “I am a target. Please screw with me!” They are made fun of, pranked, tricked, startled, and what not. I once was a guy like that myself. But I learned how to break out of it and naturally get respect from men and women alike. Here are 9 rules that I learned throughout the process.
Rule #1: Never play the clown
Many (young) men are tempted to seek the approval of others by doing crazy things like binge drinking. Sure, consuming more alcohol than anyone else gets you some laughter and attention. But it also gets you a Hitler beard drawn onto your face with a waterproof pen and images of the final result all over the internet.
If you want to get respect, always be up for fun but never try to impress others by playing the clown.
Rule #2: Behave according to the situation
Have you ever been to a party and saw a guy sitting silently on the couch, nervously munching cheerios? Chances are you even were that guy once or twice. I sure was.
Here is the big problem with it, though: It doesn’t add any value to the party.
Obviously, it’s a way for shy and introverted people to cope with the anxiety induced by a crowded party. I totally get it. But still, putting yourself in a situation like that at all, even though you clearly hate to be in it, is counterproductive because it erases a lot of the respect others have for you and it puts you in the ‘weirdo zone’.
Rule of thumb: Always behave according to the venue and the situation you are in.
- When at a party, enjoy the party.
- When doing sports, do sports.
- When in a social group, socialize.
- When at a nightclub, drink and dance.
- When at the zoo, look at the damn animals.
It’s perfectly fine not to like drinking and dancing. But that means you should probably not go to a crowded party.
You have to make a decision beforehand. E.g., “Do I want to go to the party?” If the answer is no, then don’t go! If the answer is yes, then go there and have fun. Don’t be the guy who looks out of place. Make your decision and stick with it. That’s how you get respect.
Rule #3: Learn to take a joke
Everyone is sometimes subject to humor at their own expense. Screwing up is natural, and it’s just as natural to laugh at the screw-ups of others.
Take this video of a guy destroying a TV on live television in an attempt to play virtual tennis, for example:
Hard not to laugh, right?
The ability to laugh at yourself is key because it takes away all the power from those who laugh at you and unites you with them. Instead of a guy who can’t take a joke, you become the confident guy who can laugh it off.
Rule #4: Don’t stay in a situation that is making you feel bad
In the past, I would often go out and stay at a club way longer than I wanted because my friends didn’t want to go home yet. I was tired, drunk, and wanted to leave. But I stayed. Big mistake!
All my lingering on did, was make me hate clubs and bring everyone who got in contact with me down. But, fortunately, I learned from my mistakes.
Now, whenever I feel that the night is over for me, I say goodbye and leave. Even if I was there for just an hour. When the energy is gone, it’s gone. Staying only makes things worse.
By the way, the same is true for conversations with women. Don’t feel obliged to stay if the conversation isn’t going anywhere. Excuse yourself and leave.
Rule #5: Speak with a respectable voice
People who aren’t able to speak up are treated as a doormat. They regularly get cut off or lose the attention of their listeners. Thus, you need to be able to cut the air with your words if you want to be heard! Here are some tips that have helped me speak with more authority:
- Speak loud and slow down. Breathe through your stomach and remind yourself to take breaks.
- Don’t be afraid to lose others’ attention when you pause. Breaks make the listener curious about what’s going to come next.
- Avoid apologizing all the time. Reserve the word “sorry” for when you are really sorry. I know, this a habit and therefore takes some time and effort to get rid of, but it will make you a more confident communicator.
- Get rid of all these little ‘void fillers’ such as “ahm”, “a”, or “uhm”.
- Decide on what you want to say. Then say it with confidence. E.g., when you are talking about the economy but you aren’t sure anymore if GDP growth over the last quarter was 2% or 3% just decide on one and say it as if it was a fact. Trust me, no one is going to fact check you if you seem confident in what you are saying.
Rule #6: Carry yourself with confidence
I see so many men walk around as if they were trying to hide within themselves. They look down. Their shoulders hang. Their back is arched. Needless to say, weak body language doesn’t exactly help get respect from others.
That’s why I have a terrific exercise for you to fix all of the things that make you look weak. It’s simple: Record yourself on video to see how you look from the outside. That’s it!
When I did this exercise myself, I was shocked how goofy I walked and how I always slouched when I sat somewhere. But, as with a lot of things, awareness of a problem is often the solution.
Tips to improve your body language:
- Practice walking as if you were being pulled up by an invisible string that’s attached to your head.
- Stand tall with both feet firmly on the ground and your weight distributed evenly. Imagine roots growing from your feet into the ground, anchoring you at that exact spot.
- If you have bad posture from slouching in an office chair all day (like me), make sure you start strengthening your core muscles. To have good posture you need a strong core.
- Slow down. All of these jerky movements, that so many guys make when nervous, will only make you look insecure and raise the chances of you tripping or knocking stuff over.
The last thing about body language I want to bring up is looking unhappy all the time. I know, it doesn’t seem like a big thing, but looking like you are at the brink of a depression isn’t going to get you great results in any area of your life – especially with women. Again, awareness is the solution.
Rule #7: Don’t be the guy who is always available
Are you one of those people who is always ‘in’?
Let’s say a friend throws a party. Are you the guy she doesn’t even invite because she knows she can just call you up last minute and you’ll be there in a bit?
Don’t be that guy!
You need to develop a busy lifestyle. Great men are in high demand. They go to parties, they do sports, they meet with friends, they go on weekend trips, they have jobs or are busy with university or school. In short, they aren’t always available.
Become the busy guy who is naturally unavailable at times rather than the guy who sits at home waiting for the phone to ring.
Rule #8: Respect yourself to get respected by others
If you think of yourself as a shy weakling it’s going to be an uphill battle to get others to respect you.
You need to know that you deserve to be taken seriously. You need to know that people will listen to you when you talk. You need to know where your boundaries are and what to do when someone crosses them. But how?
One of the best ways to develop self respect is doing things outside of your comfort zone.
- Travel alone
- Overcome some fears of yours
- Start conversations with strangers
- Go skydiving
- Join a boxing gym
- Go to an all women yoga class
I know, this “do things outside your comfort zone” thing comes up time and again in my posts. But not without a reason. Whatever it is that makes your cringe, doing it will earn you the respect of the person whose opinion should count most to you: yourself.
Additionally, overcoming these fears gives you a big chest and makes you feel like you can handle whatever challenges life throws at you.
Rule #9: Do stuff regardless of anyone else doing it with you
Formerly, I often didn’t do the things I wanted to do because no one would join me and I didn’t want to be alone.
What I discovered later, was that as soon as you start to just do what interests you, regardless of anyone else doing it with you, others will follow you.
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