13 reasons why people don’t respect you (and what you can do about it)

Have you ever wondered why certain people cut you off when you’re trying to make a point?

Or why they make fun of you during a social gathering?

It can be very discouraging and uncomfortable when you’re not appreciated, more so respected.

The cycle of giving and gaining respect is essential to any kind of relationship. It doesn’t come by easily and you have to work for it.

If you can’t figure out why people have been disrespecting you, read along. These 13 reasons may provide you some insight into your situation and suggestions on how to address it.

Top 13 reasons why people don’t respect you

1) Your jokes tear down people

Jokes are meant to be funny.

The problem with this is that if people don’t know you and vice versa, your jokes could backfire even if they have no intention of being hostile or prejudiced.

Saying something like “Hey, I was kidding,” or “It was a joke”, will all be too late.

Jokes, even when they are “half meant” can cause social suicide, especially if they make fun of other people or tear them down. When this happens, you undermine their self-worth.

People will find your humor annoying and they won’t want to waste their time listening to you.

What you can do:

Be more observant of how other people respond to your jokes. Be more mindful of how they can affect the conversation.

Humor is different for everyone and while it may (sometimes) be okay to joke around people you’re comfortable with, you might offend someone who would be within earshot of the joke.

Remember, there are enough people who become hostile towards people who think it’s okay to joke about others in a way that puts them down, and anyone who doesn’t know you will assume that you fall in this category.

You don’t have to stop joking around. You just need to find another way to show your sense of humor so you won’t end up offending people.

2) You talk about yourself too much

Ever notice how people just shut down and make certain facial expressions when you begin talking about yourself?

This may be due to the fact that they are tired of listening to you. People love to talk about themselves because it makes them feel good, especially when they talk about accomplishments.

But let’s face it: no one likes to hang around narcissists — people who talk about themselves all day.

When you talk about yourself too much, you don’t allow a healthy conversation to happen. People can get impatient and even interrupt you. They can eventually end up avoiding your presence so they won’t have to sit and listen to you blabber all day.

What you can do:

If they can listen to you, why can’t you?

Make the conversation about the other person and be involved. Ask questions not out of politeness but out of genuine interest so you can reciprocate the kind gesture that was given to you.

People love to share stories about themselves because it creates bonds that help strengthen relationships. If you make them feel you are present, involved, and focused on them, they will start to do the same to you.

3) You don’t talk about yourself at all

If narcissists fall on one end of the conversation spectrum, a socially awkward person who doesn’t talk at all falls on the other end. With every social interaction, there must be a balance of exchange.

When you don’t talk about yourself, you give little to no reason for people to be interested in you.

You could be the smartest person in the room, but if you don’t make an effort to show that, then no one will bother to find out.

What you can do:

If you really feel awkward talking about yourself, no pressure!

You can start with subjects that are impersonal. Choose neutral topics such as traveling, sports, or current events.

When you feel that you’re ready to open up, speak your mind, and share your stories, do it. It can be life-changing.

4) You look like you have low self-esteem

They say beauty is skin deep. And while self-esteem goes beyond physical appearances, how you feel when you look at yourself in the mirror affects it.

You can be the most beautiful person in the world, but that won’t matter if you slouch and look like a mess.

According to a study, your posture may affect your overall mood. In fact, it can help increase “confidence in your own thoughts”.

When you have bad posture, you give the impression that you are lazy. People may think you lack the confidence to carry out a conversation, let alone make good decisions.

What you can do:

Did you know that power poses bring confidence boosts, too?

Strike a pose every morning to get your dose of self-affirmation and see the difference. Sure, looks don’t matter to a lot of people, but how you present yourself does.

Remember: impressions count.

Change up your wardrobe and get on a skincare regimen. Throw in a couple of hours of exercise while you’re at it. A little self-care can go a long way.

5) People interrupt you and you’re okay with it

It’s normal in conversations for people to be interrupted and not all of them are intended. But if it happens to you more often and you seem to be okay with it, that may be the reason why they don’t respect you.

Even if you feel you’re being courteous, you should know where and when to draw the line.

When you allow people to interrupt you, you let them think that it’s okay to talk over you and that your opinions don’t really matter.

What you can do:

The next time someone interrupts you, try to finish what you’re saying then go back to that person. What’s important is that you let people know that you want to be heard.

Saying things such as “Hang on, please let me speak”, or “Excuse me, I’d like to finish what I was saying” can help. You can even raise your hand and change the tone of your voice so the attention is drawn back to you.

If in case you don’t get the chance to finish what you want to say, it’s okay.

What matters is that you let people know that you have something to say, so that later on, they will give you the chance to speak up.

6) You interrupt others who are talking

In some situations, like family gatherings, you get to hear everyone talking all at once and the only way to break the conversation is to butt in. It can be chaotic and crazy, but altogether fun to watch.

It’s interesting to mention one study that showed interruptions in conversations depend on who you’re talking to, which, in reality, is according to gender.

When you interrupt people when it’s not absolutely necessary, you make people feel that what they say doesn’t matter to you. They will find you rude and you may find yourself talking alone.

What you can do:

Put yourself in the other person’s shoes and think of how you’d feel if you were rudely interrupted. It’s not the best feeling in the world.

Unless the person is trash talking or making fun of someone else, hold your tongue. Wait for the other person to finish before you jump in. If you really have to butt in, make sure to be polite about it.

7) You discriminate against gender, religion, race

If you were a standup comedian and wrote your skit, uninhibitedly, around gender, religion, race, and ethnicity, many people may find no offense to it. In fact, a lot of them may find it entertaining.

However, if you’re not and you find yourself saying discriminatory remarks against age, race, and gender, you might end up having a fistfight that might trend on social media.

In this day and age, topics like these can get very sensitive. Over the past years, movements and organizations were established to support equality and inclusion.

When you say discriminatory remarks about age, gender, religion, race, or ethnicity — whether or not you’re aware of doing so — you downplay histories of oppression that thousands of people experience to this day.

You lose people’s respect because you devalue who they are as individuals. It’s damaging and plain hurtful.

What can you do:

If you’ve been hurt before because of what was said about you, you shouldn’t wish the same for other people.

Try to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and think about how it would feel to be on the receiving end of your remarks. More importantly, acknowledge your own biases. Be honest with yourself.

8) You don’t listen

Ever heard mothers tell their young kids, “I know you can hear me, but you’re not listening to me?”

Effective communication is a reciprocal process and active listening comprises half of it.

When you refuse to listen to someone else’s ideas and opinions, you don’t give the respect that’s due to them as a person. This gives off the impression that they don’t matter.

Ultimately, not listening is just plain rude.

What you can do:

Pay attention. Even if the topic of the conversation doesn’t spark a lot of interest, do your best to be patient and give your undivided attention.

Let other people exercise their right to express themselves. By giving them a chance to speak, you give the relationship a chance to grow.

Who knows, you might even learn a thing or two.

9) You don’t follow through with commitments

How many times have you confirmed plans with your friends for a get-together then flake at the last minute?

Did you ever promise your parents that you’d take them out of town for a couple of weeks, but never go to?

If you make a promise to do something and don’t do it, people will think that you won’t be able to keep your word in the future. You end up losing their respect and they won’t have a reason to listen to you ever again.

What you can do:

Walk the talk.

Trust is an expensive currency nowadays and when you build that with people by following through with your commitments, you gain their respect. Make it a point to hold up your end of the bargain.

If circumstances won’t allow you to and not because you lost interest, make an effort to at least pick up the phone and explain. It’s better than being stood up.

10) You don’t set boundaries for yourself

Did you ever have friends who would go to your house anytime they want, raid your fridge, and sleep on your couch without even asking if that was okay?

Or did you ever pick up a friend to go to a party only to find out that you’d also have to pick up 3 more people because your friend committed to it already and you’d say yes even if you really didn’t want to?

Solid boundaries are good because you create your own personal space.

When you don’t set them for yourself, people, even those closest to you, may think you don’t have a spine and will take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

What you can do:

You don’t need to say “yes” all the time and you shouldn’t feel guilty about it.

Make a list of what you said you were okay with, but weren’t. If these instances happen to be with your friends, ask to talk about them. Be clear on your boundaries and why you’re setting them.

Understand that in reality, some people will behave irrationally even when the boundaries are super clear. If your friends don’t bother acknowledging the boundaries you set, they may not be worth keeping.

11) You focus on the negative

As people get older, they tend to pay more attention to anything negative. It’s like defense and protection from harm.

When you have all this negativity in and around you and nothing positive comes from your lips, people lose interest in what you have to say. You’ll end up missing out on the good things in life — like your friends.

People generally don’t want to be around pessimists. So the next time you call your best friend, you’ll most likely get directed to voice mail.

What can you do:

If you find yourself to be naturally inclined towards the negative of things, ask yourself why.

Life isn’t perfect. Not all days are fun, and it’s normal to have off-days, as most people do.

But you need to find a balance between the good and the bad. It should be a conscious decision to make to improve your outlook in life as well as your relationships.

12) You don’t keep your anger in check

Getting angry is a normal reaction and people behave differently when they blow their top.

More often than not, getting angry ends up in saying hurtful things because you tend to lose all sensibility about the situation. It puts a lot of strain on your relationships if you let your emotions get the best of you.

When you choose to lose your temper even because of the smallest things, people may think you are crazy. You show them that you have no self-control whatsoever and can’t keep things rational in stressful situations.

You lose relationships that way.

What you can do:

When you feel you’re about to burst with anger, take a step back, and find ways to best calm you down.

When you make an effort to be more level-headed during these difficult conversations, it brings about a chance to talk it out and see things from the other person’s perspective.

13) You talk about people behind their back

People talk. But it’s different when you talk about people behind their back.

Some people may get away with this kind of behavior, but let’s face it — it’s not really classy when you talk about other people behind their backs. In fact, this behavior really is more of a reflection of who you are rather than the person you’re talking about.

Talking about people behind their back is a sign of insecurity.

Doing this also shows people that you lack the courage and humility to say things to their faces. These aren’t necessarily reasons to respect you.

What you can do:

Make time to do some self-reflection on why you behave this way towards people. There may be underlying reasons that you need to accept and address. Could it be jealousy, anger, or peer pressure?

Whatever the reason, understand that what you say about people is not just your own perspective, but is a reflection of who you are.

If it will help to talk about it to the person, do it. Telling the truth takes guts and confrontation may not be your strong suit. It’s always better to be respected by being brutally honest.

The Golden Rule

Respect is essential to any relationship. While it is earned over time, the key to it is really about opening the communication lines amongst people, especially those who are close to you.

Don’t be afraid to speak up. More importantly, don’t forget to listen.

Looking in the mirror can be liberating. It may be a hard pill to swallow when you realize the things about yourself that make people disrespect you. But awareness is a big step to having better relationships.

On the other hand, sometimes, people aren’t intentionally disrespecting you. They may be going through something really personal, or they may have experienced something in the past that led to their behavior. These are things beyond your control.

Charles R. Swindoll said:

“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.”

The respect cycle goes beyond the concept of “eye for an eye”. It is more about treating others how you want others to treat you.

To gain respect, you must give it.

Be the compassionate person who sees the good in other people. It may not be the easiest thing to do, but being the bigger person always pays off.

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