“Why don’t they respect me?”

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When people don’t respect you, you start to pick up on subtle little signs.

Years ago, in my early 20s, I noticed a few of them.

  1. People would say, “What makes YOU think you can teach people how to be rich? Are you rich?”
  2. When I would be out with my friends and we’d talk to girls, we’d say, “Hi, my name is R—” (they would turn around and walk away).

Think about how big of a blow that can be to someone. For most guys, being successful with their careers and sexuality is central to their identity.

And what about when it happens to women?

Every woman can share a story about being at work, making an insightful point, and having a manager say, “That’s a nice idea” and move on to the next person…who repeats the same thing and gets all the credit!

Is it that you’re young? Is it that you’re a woman? What can you do about it?

I thought about this when I got a question from one of my readers, Lori:

“I’m a 26 year old who looks 20 in scrubs and work with surgeons and doctors all day. In the hospital ladder I have more authority over nurses working there for 30 years. How can I get them to respect me and stop telling me how to do my job or questioning my decisions?”
–Lori

Maybe you look young. Maybe you ARE young. Maybe you’re a young woman in a male-dominated industry.

If you can’t get the respect of the people around you — if they just think of you as a hot girl, or a little “rough around the edges” — it can be impossible to change their impression of you.

Along the way, we’ve all encountered this.

So how did you beat it?

How have you gained the respect of the people around you? It can be your coworkers…or your parents…or even your friends.

Share your story below.

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126 Comments

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  1. […] Be the Expert: “Why don’t they respect me?” is a post from: I Will Teach You To Be Rich. […]

  2. I’ve come across one way to get senior people to listen.. You’ll need to be comfortable using the jargon of that group of people. My own background is in analytics so I’ll have to use terms such as variables instead of numbers, database instead of list and so on. Once they hear you speaking in terms and phrases expected from someone in your role, they’ll relax, get past judging if you know what you’re talking about, and start to listen. Silly but that’s been my experience.

  3. Interestingly, I am arrogant. I am not a British person living in the UK, and people around me do not tell the world if they’ve done something awesome. But here’s the thing, I also make stuff happen. I tell people I will do some huge X, and then I actually do X. I do that consistently. I was promoted from new hire to senior developer in 8 months (small company though). Whatever my boss threw at me, I did it. I have actual knowledge, and I never wing it. If I don’t know something, I admit it, and whenever I have a case, I back it up. Always.

    • This sounds like it, but it is not always easy to do anything the boss tells you if your conviction tells you otherwise.

  4. Know your shit. Period. Better than those who’re above you know it. And you’ll get away with being cocky or whatever you please. Perform. Fuck the rest. And pay respect where it’s due. Don’t where it’s not. It’s worked always for me and I see no reason why it should not for you.

    • I think you’re oversimplifying a relatively complicated phenomenon. I think Jarrod, a couple of responses down, makes some great points. Just because you have more specialized knowledge and leading an effort and/or team (think project manager) doesn’t necessarily mean you understand how to code, design, etc.

      Being competent and knowing your stuff front and back certainly helps, but I’ve seen senior level employees peg the guy/girl a know-it-all and still refuse to listen to them. In this case, the whole team suffers and guess who’s to blame? The leader.

      Not only do you have to be confident and competent, but you have to understand the people you’re working with. You have to delve into their psyche and understand A.) what makes them tick and B.) why their reaction to you is negative.

      Is it just because you’re some young whippersnapper bossing them around? Are they insecure? Bitter? Why?

      Ryan Holiday recommends “finding canvases to paint on.” It’s something that has stuck with me for a long time.

      I bet that if Lori found a way to make the other nurses look good in front of the doctors she’d start winning their respect. I bet if Lori sent an e-mail to a physician saying that she knows Nurse X works with him a lot and that she’s been really helpful executing the new protocol, solved X problem, and saved the organization $20K last quarter, she’d not only win that nurses respect, but she’s positively reinforce the behavior she wanted to see from the other nurses. My bet is that most of them would work to ensure a similar e-mail was sent about them in the future.

      In summary:
      > Competence is critical, but it doesn’t always engender respect
      > Employ Ryan Holiday’s canvas strategy, even on subordinates
      > (See also: Don’t be a doucher, have empathy, make other people look good)

    • Love this response, agree wholeheartedly.

  5. A woman, working in IT, in a department that is 95% men. I do two things. 1. Like many of the comments before- be competent, and then do better. Study, learn, anticipate needs and do your work the best you can.
    2. Let others praise you. No one likes hearing a braggart, so don’t try to get praise from bragging. Reciprocate by praising others. When someone brings me an idea or I see something they did, I make sure to let them know that I like it and give credit when I apply an idea. For those in a group that doesn’t give praise (publicly or privately) this can help change that. Also, learn how to accept praise graciously. Turn it down, they stop giving it to you. Become a stuffed rooster over it, they will stop it.
    People notice how well you do your work (good and bad). If you aren’t doing your job well, no one will respect you-why should they? If they are trying to tell you how to do your job, it may be a hint that you aren’t doing it right. If that is not the case, talk to your boss about it. There might be a communication issue or they aren’t realising what is going on. Communicate!

  6. Jordan Schroeder Link to this comment

    Confidence, quiet calm, steadfastness, and care about what they care about. I have worked with numerous genius-level software developers for years, and I barely write code at all. I gain their respect (which is stingy, at best) by not competing with them but caring for them, weathering the storms with them, and showing up to the work at hand, even if I can’t understand what ideas they are wrestling with.

    In every instance over the years, they end up consulting with me, explaining the problems they are having, and asking for my perspective, even though they know I’m not an expert or even experienced in their field. It is a privilege to work side-by-side with such amazing people and be counted as an equal.

  7. They probably don’t respect Lori because she doesn’t deserve their respect. You see this in every system that features two or more classes where one is nominally senior but for all practical purposes inexperienced and the other is nominally subordinate but made up of people who have been around for decades. I had a similar experience in the military, where they plunked me – a 24-year-old college graduate – senior to guys who knew their jobs inside and out. There are good reasons for doing things this way sometimes, and you have to walk a fine line where you make it clear that real insubordination is unacceptable, but you also have to pay your dues and get real experience in your common field before you’ll get their real respect.
    If the doctor/nurse relationship is similar to the officer/enlisted one, then the only way forward for Lori is to not only know her stuff, but to practically demonstrate her knowledge in the work environment. The opportunities to do so only come with time. If her judgement saves some lives, if she catches some mistakes (and corrects them tactfully) by her subordinates, her stock will rise. These environments do have a large amount of meritocracy, but they are also structured so that you simply need to put in the time in order to get good enough to advance. You don’t typically get the opportunity to jump up the ladder.
    Frankly, they should be telling her how to do her job. They probably know the day-to-day job better than Lori does even if Lori has better specialized knowledge. Lori needs to be listening to them in this first part of her career. If she shows their experience the respect it deserves they will come around.

    • It’s possible that Lori doesn’t deserve their respect, but a LOT of women that DO deserve respect in the workforce don’t get it just because they are female – especially if they look or sound young. (And it’s not just men who show disrespect. Often women are the worst sexists toward their own gender.)

      Women with the same or better skills than men doing the same job still consistently get paid less and systematically get passed over for promotions. It’s a widespread problem with lots of data to back it up. It’s something that needs to be acknowledged and addressed until it changes.

      And I can tell you – every woman has experienced this kind of discrimination in the workplace on some level, and it sucks. I’m glad Ramit highlighted the fact that sometimes you may not deserve the disrespect that you are receiving, but he wants to help us figure out what we can do about it. Because until it changes we are going to have to deal with it and overcome it on a daily basis.

    • What I said is true for both men and women. New and unproven people are not worthy of any special respect from anyone in their new workplace. You have to earn it. I’m not going to deny there are sexism issues out there, but I don’t think that’s the major factor here. I think it has far more to do with her inexperience and her position as a nominal superior. Obviously I don’t know the details, but from what little she revealed it seems to me like she’s quite new at her job and perhaps feels like her training should be worth more than it seems to be. Well, everyone around her has probably had similar training along with their experience.
      It (unfortunately) might not be enough for her situation, but she will not get any respect without paying her dues. She won’t deserve it, either.

    • ” I’m not going to deny there are sexism issues out there, but I don’t think that’s the major factor here. I think it has far more to do with her inexperience and her position as a nominal superior”

      @Jarrod –

      You’re conflating two things – Lori’s youth/inexperience, and her femaleness. What you don’t seem to be adding into your analysis is the fact that women far more senior than someone in Lori’s position face this same problem. Executive VPs and up who are women can tell very similar stories about having other people – other men – take credit for their ideas, and meetings where they say something to a room of blank faces & looks, but yet the very next man who says the *exact same thing* gets a chorus of “That’s a brilliant/wonderful idea!”

      Over time, not only does that get completely emotionally wearing, but it costs women a great deal in time, prestige, and economic opportunities.

      Men all too frequently just don’t see it because it doesn’t happen to them.
      So they are much more likely to try to ascribe the phenomenon to some other possible contributing factor, because by virtue of the fact they’ve never experienced it, they don’t recognize it when they see it.

    • M-

      I inferred from her letter that she is relatively new – perhaps brand new – to her field yet placed in a position of authority over people with extensive experience in it. If this is is the case then I have experience that directly reflects that situation. While the gender of the newbie can certainly have second-order effects it’s not the driver of the respect level from those subordinates. That may change as she closes that experience gap, but I doubt that is what’s going on here.

      I repeat – if you are brand new to a field with no experience to back up your training you are not worthy of any special respect, regardless of your gender. In some cases you have to borrow some respect from your title until you earn it for yourself, but that’s a very limited line of credit and the interest rate is high. Anyone in that position would be well-served to accept the position they are in and lean pretty heavily on the wealth of experience in their subordinates without abdicating their duty to be the final decision-maker.

    • “While the gender of the newbie can certainly have second-order effects it’s not the driver of the respect level from those subordinates.”

      Jarrod -

      To acknowledge that gender can have any affect at all and only a few characters later propose that it may not be the full driver is your opinion and IMHO, a bit naive. Maybe in the military it is not the “driver of respect from subordinates,” because I’m certain that in the military respect is earned not given out, but it’s naive to think that women at all levels don’t have to prove themselves in a way that is much different than men are expected to. As a commenter above mentioned, women in various levels whether they’re Sheryl Sandberg or Ursula Burns are constantly being vetted no matter how much success they’ve achieved. I’d love for you to consider that it’s different for women, and maybe observe how women are treated in your workplace. The subtle things that are said, the way that they are challenged when speaking up about their opinion/methodology or what have you. Sit back and just watch. I hope that it might make you a bit more sympathetic to Lori and other women in your workplace. But I don’t know, hopefully your workplace is devoid of this type of bias.

      Beyond that, this is a false notion that maybe Lori isn’t getting respect because she hasn’t deserved it. The truth of the matter is that there is a baseline of respect that we should have for our colleagues, one that says with your training, you have done well to be where you are at this point. That doesn’t mean that you’re celebrated or that you get it easy. I simply believe that we have to be team players and help young people along the way not haze them.

    • Stacey-

      First let me be clear that I’m only talking about earning respect above that baseline you mentioned. I just don’t think that’s what Lori’s complaint is about.

      With so little information, it’s hard to draw real conclusions. But here’s how I saw her situation. She seems like a new doctor fresh out of medical school and is having trouble understanding her real place in the structure of wherever she is interning at. She is being asked to put her name on decisions – or at least act like she is making them – while under guidance from experienced doctors above her along with experienced nurses below. If I have read this wrong of course I would offer a different assessment, but let’s go forward assuming I have it pretty well right.

      Basically her position is too big for her right now. People in similar positions are still trainees. I was in a similar situation once. When I say that any possible sexism going on is not the main driver of her problem I mean that I would be surprised if it accounted for as much as an additional 1% of the difficulty of a male in her situation. To put it mildly, she hasn’t earned the right to blame others for her problem. It will do her no good to complain “BUT SEXISM!” when she’s in almost the exact same situation as a man would be.

      Bottom line is that she needs to take a different view of her station. Her people are a resource for her and frankly the organization probably values them much more highly than they do her. That will continue until she proves herself. The subordinates she doesn’t want to listen to can sink her career easily – either directly through feedback or sneakily through sabotaging her at no cost to themselves. I’ve seen that happen, too.

  8. I like to observer what gets respected int he circle and if I want to dominate that circle, I work hard to build and refine those attributes if I can. Listening to people who have succeeded in similar situation will help.

    Most importantly, if it about getting respect, give respect first. Respect is a two way street and you cannot expect respect if you don’t give any.

  9. Surprise people. Throw them off. I learned this trick by accident from a mathematician named Philip I used to live next to, who looked like a 1920s cartoon African tribesman (giant spiky hair, wild clothes, wide eyes), but spoke quickly, competently and about math with a British accent.

    Look a little funny. Talk a little funny. Cultivate it, if necessary. Have clearly contradictory attributes (e.g. high-pitched voice with a large body, or loud deep voice with a smaller body.)

    If they already have to stop, blink and think, “wait, what?” when they talk to you, they’re willing to do the same thing more easily a second time.

  10. Not that it’s fair, but unless we women learn to communicate with power, we often are unconsciously dismissed despite our expertise. Two helpful books are: How to Say it for Women (Mindell) and Giving Away Our Success (Schenkel). Like others have commented: communication and expert execution are key! Go Lori!

    • @Sarah – I’d like to hear more about this: “unless women learn to communicate with power.”

      What’s that look like? What’s that sound like?

      Most of the research I’ve read indicates that most co-workers (of both genders) do not want a woman who communicates like an alpha male. In what ways, based on your own research or the books you’ve recommended, can women communicate powerfully without communicating like men and/or alienating their colleagues?

      I’ll conclude with the fact that I’m empathetic to the plight of women in the workforce, but let’s assume things aren’t fair and that it’s taking us longer to achieve gender equality (in some respect) than many (particularly women) would like.

  11. I used to have these sorts of experiences but then I realized that it could be as much about me looking for the lack of respect as it was about an actual lack of respect. As I became more confident about my skills, credentials and knowledge, the lack of respect seemed to fall away. Whether this was due to my own commanding of respect or due to people’s increased respect for me, I don’t know but it doesn’t really matter. At the end of the day, I know I’m qualified to do my job and that I do it well. If people want to be disrespectful toward me, it may make it less pleasant for me to do my job and may present unnecessary obstacles but that’s more a reflection of the other person than it is of me. How I surmount those obstacles is a reflection of me. As long as I do so in a way which warrants respect, I’ll get it.

  12. If you respect others and are quietly confident, they will respect you in return.

    I work with a lot of twenty-somethings (I’m a baby boomer) and I ask their advice about things I’m not familiar with and then thank them.

    Karen

  13. Don’t put yourself in a position where your own success is dependent on the opinions of other people, particularly a small group of other people.

  14. First, we must understand that respect is earned. I’m talking about the “admiration” respect. Not the basic respect that every human being deserves just for being human. I (a naturalized citizen, young, hispanic, woman, and mechanical engineer) worked for many years at a Japanese-owned organization, started as a technical trainer (teaching construction workers how to install the product my company manufactured) and 5 years later ended up heading the Technical Division over all men who were all older than me. I started at the bottom at this company and quickly earned my stripes by being THE BEST and by knowin my shit (to quote a couple of comments above mine). It doesn’t matter if you are a minority, if you are too young, too old, too fill-in-the-blank. If you strive to be the best in your field, if you seek to solve others’ problems, if you seek to serve, people will follow you blindly, regardless of age, race, or appearance. While there will be those people you simply cannot change because of THEIR own story, filters, and experiences, the vast majority of the world will treat you the way you tell them to treat you.

  15. For women, commanding respect is a different path than it is for men. You have to co-opt certain male behaviors: speak directly, don’t rush when you’re speaking in a group, assume that when you feel you’re right, you actually may be right (versus waiting for someone to validate whether or not you are).

    But I think women also tread a different path, in that there are a lot of behaviors that people DON’T tolerate in female leaders. Women are always supposed to be nice–but never be so nice that it gets in the way of accomplishing things. Or people will see that you’re nice, but not much else. Kiss of death. It’s better to be effective and kind to people individually than it is ineffective and pleasant to a big group. You have to embrace the fact that people won’t be happy with you all the time–but unlike men, people won’t respect you just for making tough decisions. You have to go out of your way to build relationships with people individually, so that when you make an unpopular choice, people know YOU.

    It’s good advice that anybody can use, but it’s especially important as a woman, because men are given a lot more leeway by the public opinion.

  16. Recently, I went through this. There was a colleague that referred to me as “blue eyes.” It was acceptable at first, until he began using it out of context. He began flippantly referring to ‘Blue Eyes’ during Q & A meetings. What I came to realize is that he was very uncomfortable in this environment and was simply trying to take the focus off of him. One day, I went into his office before the meeting and said, “Okay, so I noticed that when we start evaluating your cases, you divert the focus and make reference to my ‘blue eyes.’ So we aren’t going to have anymore of the ‘blue eyes’ references in the professional realm. So come on, get your cases out. I’ll go over them with you so you’re ready and can take the heat for once.”

    My point is that often the person dismissing you, or trying to take credit for your performance is very uncomfortable, lacking knowledge or at the very least, lacking self-confidence. Until that weakness is addressed with that particular person, the problem will persist. So finding a way to build that person up (without kissing their hiney) is a professional way that I’ve used to dissolve situations such as this. I do realize that in many cases, this will not apply. However, if there’s ever a chance to approach it in this manner, it’s always worth a try.

    • Great insight. Taking someone’s behavior at face-value sets you up for a string of defensive excuses and no solutions. The person has hopes, dreams, and fears, also. Especially fears. It’s easier to play the victim and accept you have so-called enemies, but it’s better to strategically let your guard down and try to turn them into an ally by digging deeper.

  17. My friend, like me, a woman in engineering, dyed her hair from blonde to brown to get more respect from male engineers at work. She said she’s noticed a difference in the respect she is given.

  18. I used to work for an executive producer who was a complete misogynist. I always felt horrible after our production meetings. Even if I had worked tirelessly on a segment, he would only listen to input if it was from a male producer. After five years there I was burnt out, miserable and full of resentment. I thought it was just the nature of the industry, and I finally quit.

    My job now has made me realize that sometimes it’s not about earning respect, it’s about finding an environment that fosters it. Yes, you can survive in a toxic workplace if you have the confidence to let things roll off your back. But why stay with a boss that doesn’t reward hard work/talent with basic respect? Many women settle for less than they deserve because they blame themselves (why doesn’t he like ME? what did I do wrong?). The more experience you have, the easier this is to overcome.
    “I used to walk into a room full of people and wonder if they like me…now I look around and wonder if I like them.”

  19. Respect yourself. If you (even subconsciously) aren’t sure you deserve respect from others you will project your fears onto them and they won’t give you any respect.

  20. I was in a male dominated business for 23 years, the automotive industry. My voice was soft, and I being on the shortish side they would try to walk all over me. I simply became More! More of everything! More knowledgeable of the products, more vocal, and I speak up instead of holding back and that eye to eye contact is a must. I make sure my presence is known when I enter a room. Lastly, I no longer put up with interruptions or rudeness.

  21. I’d say the problem is that people assume that their qualifications or position is enough to get them respect and this is false. You earn respect, and this takes time and skill. If you make mistakes, which is natural when starting off in any career, and in fact at any point in your career, the respect will take even more time to come. When I work with people higher up in the food chain but younger than me I really, really hate that they assume they know more than me by virtue of their position. In my business (film and tv) most of the people get jobs because of who they know, who their parents are or how rich they are i.e. how long they can afford to work without being paid or on a low salary. This means a lot of the older people already kind of hate them from the get go. I realize that is kind of mean but it is what it is. Better be humble and sweet and modest, and chances are people will forget that you are young and fall over themselves to help you in any way they can.

  22. Indra Chakraborty Link to this comment

    My first job (also current) out of college three years ago was with one of the largest defense contractors in the world and I started off as an integration engineer. 80% or more of the workforce had a prior army/navy/marine background, in most cases for over 20 years. So, what I was facing was quite challenging: I had nothing in common, did not speak the same language and was years younger, in some cases, same age as their kids. I started off by being very humble, and would often listen to these guys for hours. I asked tons and tons of questions (I still do, but the type of questions has changed) I also tried my best to be honest and very conscientious of my work. As time passed, I gained a lot of trust and was being viewed as a top performer. Within a year and a half, I was elevated (minus the pay raise, but that’s a different issue) to the project engineer role and at a functional level, my role meant telling my prior supervisor what to do. This was a huge shift but I still retained the same principles: honesty, communication and being open. Now I am in charge of 4 projects with task orders in excess of millions of dollars as far as engineering goes. I have the trust of the people – from the production crew to higher level executives. This is how I gained respect – by building trust and by communicating and maintaining a positive attitude.

  23. Luis hernandez Link to this comment

    Hey ramit,
    Interesting question; that just so happens to be the story of my life. Im a 26 yo mechanical engineer but look 20. My job requires me to make technical decisions that can have serious consequences and it is common for my coworkers to have a startled look on their faces cuz i look so young and young people dont know anything right???

    Once i explain the technical aspects that backup my decision it is ok

    Bottom line is i have to trust my knowledge and prove i know what i am doing. After a few well made decisions it is all good.

    Best regards from mexico

  24. I started my computer career in the late 70s in a mainframe shop where the systems programmers were mostly older guys. To be fair, I got more “you’re an operator, what makes you think you can write code?” than “you’re a girl…”. And some of the guys – the ones who liked writing code and figuring stuff out – just treated me like a fellow nerd, which was cool. But for the rest: do you think I got respect by giving as good as I got with cussing, sexism etc? Or learning to code circles around the old guys? Nope. They totally accepted me once I quit that shop and got a job as a systems programmer somewhere else. Go figure.

  25. Oh, and Sun Tzu says “never underestimate your enemy.” So I don’t mind being underestimated :-)

  26. I have found the slow but effective way to gain respect is to tell people what you’re going to do, then do it, and make your follow through visible without shoving it in somebodies face.

    I started consulting on technology at 15 years of age, and most people didn’t have any respect. To overcome this, I would tell them what I could do to make their life better (eg. network your printers so that you don’t have to turn that computer on just to print) then do it perfectly and ask them if they liked the solution. Some of my earliest clients still respect my abilities, although they can’t always afford my rates any more.

  27. I had this problem a couple years ago too. I’m a female civil engineer in a very male dominated field. By experimenting and observing my co-workers I was able to gleam that in order to get respect, you gotta look and act right. So that means, I had to dress the part from head to toe, which included the clothes and shoes you wear and I had to walk around with confidence. When spoken to, I had to speak confidently. It’s all about how you say it. Of course knowing what you are talking about is important but if you dont speak with a confident tone, it won’t matter. You still won’t get respect.

  28. One more thing – looking people in the eye! I’ve noticed that that makes people respect you more!

  29. Richard Blackford, Ph.D. Link to this comment

    I chose to care less about what others thought about me (especially negative) and to behave “as if” they believed/respected me.
    It has worked wonders.
    RB

  30. I’m a pretty analytical, but also friendly, guy. One thing that was big for me was not saying whatever was on my mind. I had to learn to stop, think about whether something was relevant (though it seemed relevant to me), and then decide whether or not to share it. People perceived me as flaky and kind of spacey; when I started doing this (as well as narrowing the kinds of people I shared with), I started getting a lot more responsiveness.

    The other big thing was to be less helpful: instead of helping others to do their job, which got me perceived as a busybody, do *your* job exceptionally well. Then, you can start to become the authority, and other people will come ask you about their problems (instead of you offering unsolicited advice).

    So: mind your own beeswax, and be good, really good, at what you do.

  31. For me, being comfortable in my own skin has made a huge difference. Knowing your stuff is one thing, but saying the stuff you know WITH confidence is a whole nother ball game. Even in my business, the more firm I am in the way I talk vs. being hesitant, I make clear expectations upfront and I share what will come out of the session. Also at my day job, speaking up makes a difference. If you tend to shy away with what you have to share then you are never gonna be looked at as someone to respect. In a meeting I had recently with a room full of top leaders that were director level, they were ALL leaning towards a specific decision. I had opposing opinions/thoughts about what they were saying based on something I learned in a business course. I was hesitating to say it at first but then I said screw it and said “May I offer something?” And they said yes. I explained what I learned in my business course and they were totally receptive and became on the fence about their decision after hearing my input whereas seconds before they were 95% learning one way. That showed me the power of speaking up and sharing what you DO know, even if you think you don’t matter. I was shocked that these top executives in their 40s, 50s changed their ideas after what I said. I am 27 by the way!

  32. In my early 20s I found that people talked down to me because I looked to girly. So I dressed dark. That helped. In my 30s I worked in a male dominated field and found that being ultra feminine was the key. In my 40s I worked for people that treated my generation like dirt. Fighting back with unwavering eye contact and really knowing what I was talking about kept it polite. The truth is there will always be people that do or say or treat others that way. Knowing your job better than others, isn’t the total answer, neither is dressing so they change their beliefs about you. It has to be a total package backed by confidence.

  33. I’ve been in software engineering for 10 years. It’s a lot of dudes.

    Honestly, every once in a while, I just shiv someone (metaphorically, of course) when there are a lot of witnesses. Not often enough that I get the dreaded “bitch” label, but enough to make people think twice about pushing me around. Usually it’s in a situation where a person is making a bad decision and I draw attention to it and make the situation uncomfortable for everyone. Most of the time, I’m super nice. But then there’s the one-off occasion where I very publicly shame a director at my company.

  34. I am short and have a high “girly” voice. I have absolutely experienced sexism and racism in the workplace and in life. In addition to my outside body, I also happen to have years of experience in leadership, administration and a strong academic background. I have earned the respect of my colleagues and peers through collaborative listening, offering them respect and by huge amounts of elbow grease. There is no better way to show someone you can accomplish something than by rolling up your sleeves and doing it – from start to finish.

  35. Despite our respectable accomplishments–academically, socially and professionally–our reputations usually determine the amount of respect we receive from our peers, elders and children.

  36. The biggest thing I notice about people who are respected is that: 1) they come in with an attitude that shows they’re here to learn from the more senior people AND from people on their level, and 2) follow up on that learning, keep the their mentors in the loop, and then dominate in what they set out to do. On top of that, the people that are respected are kind and courteous to everyone. They don’t suck up (which makes you a target for being disrespected, anyway), but they always say “hello” when they come in every morning, congratulate people on a job well done, etc.

    In my experience, too many women come into the office with a “I AM WOMAN, GRRRR, I AM AN EQUAL, I DON’T CARE IF YOU (don’t) LIKE IT!” attitude, which is very off-putting. However, both men and women contribute to their own lack of respect. They never attempt to get to know their colleagues; they sit smugly in meetings as though they own the place and look down on the others, even when they’re very junior themselves; they eschew all learning because “why bother, I’m smart enough without that extra BS;” they miss out on opportunities for growth because “that task is beneath me,” and so on. It’s very off-putting. Then, they wonder why no one respects them. Hmm…

  37. I am a young entrepreneur; the feeling of being young and disrespected has been something I’ve dealt with for many years (29 now and started first door-to-door business at 13).

    Here is a few ideas of where to start:

    -> own your part in it
    -> your outer world is a reflection of your inner world
    -> don’t take it personally – it’s not you, it’s peoples conditioning
    -> know your truth (what is your higher purpose?)
    -> be you, don’t put on a show… we’re intuitive beings… we can ‘see’ through that
    -> meditate (5 mins/day at work… sit in a room alone and do nothing… just sit there and witness your breathing)
    -> be aware of your fears (what is holding you back from owning your personal power?)… then look up ‘relationship psychology’ and find a support structure in your community outside of work to ‘do the work’
    -> recognize that being young ROCKS! Olders peeps are often jealous of a super-smart young’en… let them deal with their own problems -you are young, smart, capable, maybe not jaded, and in many ways have the ability to be mindfully FREE!
    -> be compassionate – offer people love, kindness, and support. This can lead to early ‘stepping on’ but as a long-term course will make you a cherished and highly respected person in the workplace and co-workers will look up to you.

    My final thought:

    If you need to change your ‘way of being’ to accomplish this transformation the majority of people will unconsciously take action to halt your growth. They have a box which they’ve put you in. Once you start breaking down the walls of this box and begin walking in your own, self-generated light people will be unsure of how to deal with you which can lead to emotional outputs (fear, anger, frustration). Holding true to your higher purpose and respecting yourself for your own awesomeness is how you will pull through and awaken a new level of consciousness.

    • Forgot a biggie:

      -> Be your word… nothing brings the tides of respect in and out like being and not being your word.

  38. I often felt like it was a rights of passage when I first entered my profession but things got better over time. The way that I overcame this was to believe in myself more and become involved in other committees and activities that allowed me to take on other leadership roles. Once others see that you do great work your reputation will follow you regardless of how young you look or are. Many of us younger people can also use technology better than our more seasoned counterparts… Don’t forget to use it to your advantage.

  39. Jesus Garcia-Parrado Link to this comment

    This is difficult to answer, but from my point of view there are two key things:

    # narrative coherence. First of all, there is a narrative behind your arguments, take your time to communicate the story behind your arguments, specially if you want to change beliefs, or already done decisions.

    # results. The more referrals you can get for your arguments the better, in case it doesn’t exist, try building a test that bulletproof your arguments.

    I recommend you to watch this movie: 12 Angry Men (1957)

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0050083/

    there are several versions pick up the one you prefer and watch it carefully, probably you will recognize some situations, and can get some clues from how the main character deal with the situations.

    Try don’t take things personal, just find what is wrong on your arguments and fix it.

    Hope it helps, Cheers!

  40. Above all do your best work and let that be the barometer. Sometimes others may have another method that works just as well so allow them the opportunity to explain within reason, If someone doesn’t respect you let that be their problem, not yours.

  41. In the business world, I’ve found that true respect comes from when you demonstrate you are competent and helpful to others, which comes with time. So you have to have the confidence in your own skills and abilities, and know that it will take awhile for others to learn about you and to learn what you are capable of.

    Also, introductions always help. If someone I know and trust vouches for someone I’ve never met, then I am going to trust that new person far quicker. Similarly, if I am trying to gain someone’s respect, I will try to find someone we know in common who can testify to my competence and character.

  42. Generally, respectful behavior is a factor of consequence: the penalty for not respecting versus the reward for extending respect. So, create incentives; be less available and much less talkative. If you are senior in rank but junior in experience, be humble and respectful of the more experienced, but pull rank at the slightest indication of disrespect. Never, however, overreact or show lack of control. Often, an apparent lack of respect is a sign of envy. Cultivate enemies as well as friends. Let your adversary stew in his resentment. Become better. When the situation presents itself and he is forced to come to you for help, mirror his behavior. He won’t like it.

  43. I noticed a huge difference when I changed the way I dressed. I’m sure it was in large due to how I thought of myself and presented. I work in informal education so it’s totally fine to wear a T-shirt to work–when I started wearing button down shirts and sometimes a tie people seemed to speak to me completely differently.

    Context is huge as well, there are universal things that we all respect: how you carry yourself, how you present, how you speak, maybe your resume but context is also important. If you understand what your specific community/industry/group of friends/audience values then you can begin to understand who/what they respect.

    I work with kids–when other teachers see me show empathy and firmness at the same time I can feel the respect from them. These traits aren’t necessarily valued in other places.

  44. 1. Never be self deprecating. If you speak poorly about yourself why would others speak highly?

    2. Your coworkers (and children) are not your friends. It takes a different type of relationship for people to respect you at work. They won’t be as impressed as your buddies when you tell them how you drank 37 beers on Tuesday night.

    3. Be confident in your statements. Nobody is right all the time, but you certainly can sound like you are, and correct things later as needed.

    4. I’m horrible at the first 3! But getting better every day.

  45. To repeat someone earlier, by knowing my shit and not tolerating bad behavior. I’m attractive and I do look young, I think lack of respect culminates in men first listening to what I have to say in regards to business based on the attractiveness factor, unfortunately. What I’ve done is by playing up those details so that people pay attention, and then once I have their attention I do what I do, well. The respect will come later, and that’s OK. I think in situations with women it’s about owning those aspects of yourself, mastering soft skills, and people will pick up on that.

  46. Easy… Demonstrate Value.

    I’m going through a form of this problem as we speak. I’m starting to freelance as a digital marketing consultant, and although I know what I’m talking about, I don’t have much experience. So what I do when I identify a good prospect is create some very personalized media that demonstrates exactly what their problems are and exactly how I can fix them. It’s basically doing a free consultation without having to ask them to schedule one. And it’s kinda like Ramit’s thing about “my free stuff is better than most guys’ paid stuff”. I give a ton of value that is focused on them in a very personal way.

    So put this into the woman in a business meeting scenario. She makes this great suggestion in a meeting but gets blown off. So she needs to go back to her desk and do some work to figure out exactly how great her suggestion is and why it benefits execs. Send an email to her boss that says “Hey Boss, I made xyz comment in yesterday’s meeting and I feel like it kind of got glossed over, but when I went back to my desk and ran the numbers it turns out that if we implemented this it would save every employee X hours (or save every customer Z dollars, or save the company Y dollars on every shipment, etc.). Can we talk about getting this on the agenda for the next meeting?”

    Boom, respect.

    Not sure how to do this so well with chicks in a bar, but I imagine the theme would be the same. Demonstrate value, and personalize it.

  47. My first job was working in a prison with violent offenders. I was a soft spoken white girl and not at all tough. What I learned there has helped me so many times over. Be yourself, be friendly and casual, give credit more than you take it, listen, and be of service and give thanks. Also be brutally honest with why you are there and what you are trying to do. Many of the other women who were free staff put on a tough act and were taken down and messed with on a regular basis. On the other hand I knew without a doubt I was respected and protected.

    I would have to remind the guys I wasn’t there for a dating service and I had a job to do and that job was ultimately for their benefit and when the were disrespectful, I would tell them, “That’s disrespectful and I would like an apology.” I would then shut up and wait for their reply. When I was disrespectful or not my word I would apologize too. And if they had something meaningful to them, I would go and support. I would keep my word and when I couldn’t I wouldn’t give it. And I would ask them about their life and whey they were involved about my project. I knew about their kids and dreams and talents. Working with people is a community prospect so I find being of service and thinking about supporting the community goes a long way in earning respect. Much more so than demanding it.

  48. Today most people simply just talk. They keep on doing it to set themselves up to have ridiculously high expectations placed upon themselves. They do not typically live up to it either. What I recently understood was that expectations needs to be set at a place where it needs to be (average) and deliver excellent results. The old saying holds true: “it’s easy to talk the talk, but you also need to walk the talk” and that’s difficult for most people. Set up the foundation. Make sure you can do the work with excellent results and people will want to work with you, and as a result, they begin to respect your work, and ultimately you down the road

    * Big Assumption * Assuming you aren’t a complete asshole and don’t have the ego of a maniac.

  49. Reading between the lines, it sounds like Lori is a new resident dealing with experienced nurses – if she was a med student she wouldn’t be above nurses in the hierarchy.

    Generally, you will have to be calm and confident to earn the respect of the nursing staff. I’d also recommend you get scrubs that fit you well (are not too big) and make sure you are doing what you can with hair/makeup to look your age.

  50. The first step is to disregard what others think, but at the same time work to establish common ground. What’s important is what you think of yourself. What value do you assign to yourself… to your time? Be confident,. Keep learning. Keep working. Keep putting out good stuff no-one can ignore you. They don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. But even then respect isn’t given. It’s earned, and once you’ve got it, you’ve got to keep earning it. It’s not a title that’s bestowed on you. People will always respect someone who sticks with it. Someone who manages without using lots of resources. Someone who can articulate objectives that will more an organization forward, and who won’t quit until they achieve them.

  51. I am 22 year old male but look 12 so this is a problem I’ve had forever. The things I’ve found to be effective so far are:

    1. Dress sense. I’ll try to dress slightly more formally than everyone else at the event that I am attending such as wearing a blazer over a t shirt or a button down shirt.

    2. Body language. Sitting/Standing up straight without my arms covering my body with a drink or crossing them. Learning to make eye contact is really important as well.

    3. Speaking SLOWLY. I speak way too quickly by default and it conveys nervousness.

    4. Asking for advice. If you are in a room full of people that you look up to, asking for advice on something they know about can make them open up a lot.

    • Aidan, you nailed it! I look 10 years younger and the respect used to be a problem, so I did exactly what you do… and a couple of other things…

      1. Dress – I dress better than 99% of the women I encounter in work situations. Younger girls have a tendency (and I used to do the same, so I’m not pointing fingers, it’s all about what works and what doesn’t) to dress too casually, or as if they’re going out to a drink after work with friends. That’s fine if you want to be average, but if you want respect, you have to dress better. Get a couple of classic pencil skirts, a pair or two of black Louboutin heels, crisp white dress shirts, and a few classic dresses tailored to your body. Make sure your hair, nails and makeup are taken care of, it can be simple, but just as long as it’s taken care of. Also, if you wear contacts, try wearing glasses instead. I know it’s a cliche, but glasses do make one look a little more serious. Also, girls, lipstick is a savior if you look young.

      2. Body language – all that Ramit talks about as far as media training applies here. Develop your toolbox of stories. Speak slowly, in a low voice. This doesn’t come naturally to most people, so practice. Film yourself speaking, and then see what you can do to improve. As Ramit always says, slow it down 50%. Speak clearly. Watch Today Show and see how it’s done professionally. Stand up straight. Don’t twist your legs in a pretzel (especially if you’re a woman, stand with the legs slightly apart, don’t put one front in front of the other). Sit up straight. Put a pillow behind your back on your chair to help you do this. Look people in the eye…

      3. Know your stuff better than anyone else. Do your job better than anyone else. Do what you need to do, when you say you’ll do it. Always come through. Always come through on time!

      4. Don’t engage in office gossip. Be friendly but to a degree. Folks you work with are just that, folks you work with. They should not know when you’re getting your period or who you are sleeping with.

      5. Embrace your inner bitchiness. Make people work for your respect, and then they’ll instantly respect you too. Don’t bow down to people. Have pride in who you are. Don’t spend time trying to make people like you. They either do or not. But if they respect you, it really doesn’t matter whether they like you or not.

      6. Appreciate those that have taken care of you in some way. Make sure to repay them, or pay it forward as they say.

  52. 1 – Be prepared to not be respected. In the beginning, regardless of age, sex, experience, etc., it’s about earning it.
    2 – Ignore the reason you think you’re being disrespected and focus on the job.
    3 – Be respectful regardless of how you feel you’re being treated.
    4 – Get your own work done on time and above expectations.
    5 – Give it some time.

    In the end, if your work and opinion are worth being respected, they will be.

  53. When I was 3, I had a terrible asthma attack and nearly died; spent days in the hospital. After that, for 10+ years, I was on 3x daily steroid treatments to keep me alive. That made me chubby. I had an awful time in school; kids picked on me constantly, called me awful names, excluded me, ganged up… and I was sure it was because I was fat, because that’s what they all said.

    I couldn’t take it any more, so at the end of 8th grade, I lost 30 lbs and turned into a trim size 8.

    I was leaving english class one day and one of the “cool kids” said, “Hey, you’re fat.” But I was wearing tight jeans and tight shirt and looking good, and I knew it. So I turned to him and said, “No, I’m not, but you’re stupid,” and walked away.

    They didn’t make fun of me because I was fat, but because I walked around looking like a dog waiting to be kicked. The minute I stood up for myself, they backed off. Everything changed.

    I’ve never really had the issues women describe, with not being taken seriously, even though I’m always one of just a few women doing whatever it is (both in hobbies and professionally). I credit it to the fact that I learned early on — by accident — that most people are entirely full of crap, and also that the way you walk, talk, stand, look at people, influences how they treat you.

  54. I had a young subcontractor who started acting disrespectfully to me. He seemed to think because his older sister and brother in law were friends of mine, and he was almost my age himself that he could act like he was hanging out instead of at work. So in private I gently said to him, “just remember, I AM the boss here.”
    But it got worse. He got mouthy and even refused to do something the way I directed him to.
    So I kicked him off the site. I stayed calm, but I very clearly told him to leave. Now. Then I called his boss and informed him that, given the way things were currently, this young man would not be allowed to do any work for my company. Since I was a huge part of their business, without my work that young man was not needed and he was let go.
    I had several other people come forward and tell me they had issues with him as well, and they praised and thanked me for handling it as I did. I tried to stay professional about their comments and just said that we were all here to do our jobs, and my job was to make sure that everyone else did theirs. It was amazing how the respect and deference for me went way up, allover the site. (I even had a few people come right out and ask “you’re not going to fire me like that, are you?” Now that’s an interesting conversation starter!)
    You may not have the authority to fire someone, but I can tell you that firing someone was a very quick path to respect for me.
    Incidentally, 3 years later that same young man returned to work for that same company, and he came forward and apologized to me for his past immature behavior, very respectfully expressed his commitment to professionalism and excellence in his performance going forward. He asked to come back on my site, and after a brief conference with him and his boss to set forth expectations, I agreed.
    He turned out to become an excellent worker and a great asset to the team, and I’ve only had good experiences with him ever since.

  55. Respect isn’t given out freely, it is earned.
    For me I do the things I need to do in order to achieve my goals. Some people may notice it and some might not. As painful as it is, I choose to focus on the people that I have earned their respect, because it’s a complete waste of time to focus on the people who don’t notice your progress, and the results of your progress.
    Anyway, that’s how deal with it. I’m sure others have other opinions they’re going to share.

  56. Respect is deeply personal and based off of one’s internal value system combined with personal interpretation within a set social environment. The way to be treated with respect by a particular person is to demonstrate and/or communicate the way in which you need to be treated in order to feel respected. I find in the modern and fast world, quip and offense is celebrated and passed on to create a sense of community within an environment where more personal understandings of each other’s interests, hobbies, and values may not be appropriate to share with one another or discuss amongst a team. If you feel respect-worthy, treat others with intentional respect, and practice respectful action founded in personal integrity — your status no longer contains the question of whether you are respected or not — respect becomes assumed and life and work becomes a bit easier.

    Understand what you contribute, understand what you don’t know, or don’t know you don’t know.

    I own a company that is in an industry dominated by males both above, below, and adjacent of my position. In my experience, there seems to be a line of demarcation that is defined by context alone;
    If I walk into a bunch of guy contractors that don’t know me well (and may not understand that I sign their paychecks) after work on a Friday including me in a conversational list of ‘bangable chicks’ – it may not be respectful, but in context, its flattering, and frankly not meant for my ears. Then the choice is mine alone on whether it’s a subject that is even addressed, and in this day and age, I’d much rather be getting work done than worrying about what people may say about me when unobserved by relevant parties.

  57. In my other life (outside of urban homesteading and writing) I am a Marriage and Family Therapist. Licensed. College. Grad School and multiple certifications under my belt. But I look about 25. (I’m actually mid thirties).
    I have found the knowing what I’m talking about is the corner stone to gaining respect from people. Also, never gossiping, always being as honest as possible, and confronting issues in the workplace as quickly and discreetly as possible.
    Women can be afraid sometimes of confrontation for a number of reasons (so can dudes.) but making friends with it and learning how to do it well quashes problems usually before they begin! And gets people to respect you.

  58. I agree with most of the comments, just be the best in whatever you do and respect would automatically follow irrespective of age, color, gender or race. It might not initially but if you persevere it definitely would.I remember an old adage ‘a woman should work twice as hard to receive at least half the praise the male counterparts receive’ and once they acknowledge you, they accept you and what you bring to the table whole-heartedly.

  59. If you’re a guy and you look young, then grow a beard if you can. My dad had a very young face when he was starting his career as a social worker and he said this helped tremendously. He did this strategically as he transitioned from his first job to his second. It made a big difference.

  60. This a really difficult for women, especially for young women who look even younger than they are. Been there, and it can make you crazy. And no, it doesn’t matter how much you know. But it is always smart to treat more experienced people with respect, and to learn as much as you can from them.

    If you are female (or interested in gender dynamics at work) and truly want to know the facts behind what everyone is up against, read “The New Soft War on Women” by Caryl Rivers and Rosalind C. Barnett, PH.D. It is an extremely well researched study, and makes it clear that a woman’s behavior and demeanor is interpreted very differently from a man’s, by both genders. (No. I’m not selling the book).

    For example, a woman on the fast track can be derailed by one – ONE – mistake. This is simply not true for men. “Nice” women are considered weak, regardless of how smart and tough they are. There are strategies for gaining respect but gender, unfortunately, is a huge factor for the vast majority of women and there is no obvious answer. Rivers/Barnett do, however, offer important insights on what to do.

    After spending years in the workforce I’ve become convinced that the best thing a smart ambitious, young woman can do for herself is to become an entrepreneur – work for herself.

    It would probably help to spend some time in a corporate environment just to gain an understanding of that world, but if your employer starts ignoring you, and you can’t turn it around, make a graceful exit. Do find out as much as you can about why this happened, but learn, then move on, and up.

  61. Respect has to be earned; it will not come to you because of your title only. I am a black female heart surgeon who earned the respect of my peers and the nurses and staff I work with by working hard, fighting alongside them to save patients lives and get them back to their families. It did not come in an instant, but one patient, one midnight vigil, one 12 hour operation at a time.

  62. I’m a small, very sweet, bubbly, happy, pretty blonde with a good figure. I’m also VERY good at what I do and VERY intelligent. I quit caring whether or not anyone respected me. I respect myself and let my work speak for itself. The people that matter, respect me. Those that don’t, are jealous. It is what it is.

  63. Hector G. Diaz Link to this comment

    Gain respect by busting your ass, work harder and smarter.

    Find the best people to surround yourself with (like Ramit) and get held accountable for the results you want.

    Respect you own effort. If you give your absolute best and you know deep down that you did, no one can take that away from you (unless you don’t know your value).

    Seems to me that Lori might need a better strategy for dealing with criticism.
    Doctors work really hard to get where they are, but according to one of the greatest coaches of all time John Wooden, “What a leader learns after you’ve learned it all counts most of all”. What does this mean? If the Doctor is closed minded and thinks he knows it all, then he is being the dumbass.

    Maybe you should ask in a different, more respectful way instead of telling and if they question your decisions, think of them as your student rather than your authority.

    I hope this helps whoever reads it!

  64. i’m a woman, i look young, like 25 with blonde hair. but as a 33-years old engineer, i don’t like it when people tend to act dismissive or ignoring me. in meetings, what i tend to do is waiting
    for the right moment. to ask the right question
    at the right moment. there is always a moment in a meeting when people are digressing, go off topic or start to get angry. this is where i put the focus back on the main topic, by asking the critical question, or summarize the main ideas and ask which want they want to go
    for. this always gets me good reactions, and help.

  65. I would love to learn more about how to earn respect. I eagerly await your follow-up, Ramit.

  66. Yvette Louise Jones Link to this comment

    In terms of getting respect from your colleagues then there is nothing more satisfying than realising that you in the end have achieved this.
    My experience stems from being the daughter of a family business owner working in the business. The business wasn’t anything quite as fancy as a hospital, however it still has credit. A butchers and delicatessen… Some of u may switch off now thinking phahh,, but it is a fine food business having won a ton of awards in the uk,, best of British many times over the years for sausage..

    The point is, you try relating to the butchers and even some staff working there when you are the bosses daughter… A hard task!
    I found and learnt a golden lesson on interpersonal skills, the secret, you have to do the work! You can’t go around nose in air thinking they should respect me I’m more cleaver, better, more qualified, richer.. (Truthfully not that I did anyway) but they will have cause to hate or dislike you then, giving good cause! I wouldn’t like me if I were like that.

    You have to do the work, relate, ask genuine questions about their life where appropriate, build up your relationships, and this won’t happen overnight!!! You have to be genuine! Even if you feel like why bother at times,, bother! They will see you for you! Whoever that is personality wise, and little by little you’ll hear their tone change with you, respect,, that’s the sound of genuine respect.

    And I guarantee you that you will at that moment feel the same. What I’m saying is regardless of how important you may feel you are or your job is,, your still human, you still bleed like the rest of us,, and before you can demand respect you have to be on the same page with people and respect them.

    My advice to the young looking girl,, give the people who you feel are trying to tell you your job or not respecting you your time, listen and reply with your reasons for the opposite to their opinion politely and with grace. Respect is earned. Both ways,

    Yvet

  67. I work on this issue with my staff quite a bit, as we are a grant support unit to scientists – so we are a more informed but less formally educated group. To command respect, we:
    1) maintain a more formal/ professional air at all times – how we dress, no gossip, how we conduct ourselves, showing respect for others and insisting that we are respected.
    2) if we are disrespected, we take it head on. If calling out the “perpetrator” doesn’t work, we bump it up. Across the department, we are collectively known as the team that won’t take any crap. We get away with this because
    3) we are great at our jobs, and people know it. we give credit where it’s due, but support each other and work to develop an atmosphere of quiet confidence, even among our junior team members. They are under instruction to serve as an authority on their topic. If my staff make a mistake, they know I will back them. They are allowed to make mistakes, but they are not allowed to allow themselves or our team to be disrespected. Our VP won’t allow any of us to be disrespected, or she takes it as a personal insult. As a middle manager, I take the same approach. Again, this works because we are damn good at our jobs and we know it.

    I learned that saying “I don’t know” or “I have to ask” isn’t respected, usually. Do your homework, take responsibility, get it right. In meetings with superiors, keep quiet until you have knowledge to share, and then speak up strongly and confidently. And definitely call people on their shit – publicly, if needed, if you are publicly disrespected.

  68. I once got an interesting piece of advice that seems to work. Be prepared to hold a gaze (especially with a difficult person) for an uncomfortably long time. It seems to be a way to assert your authority and ensure that they know you are serious.

  69. Do what you’ve set out to do…be so focused that you do not care what the naysayers are talking about. Then, as you accomplish what you’ve set out to do, what they say will be annoying, but they’ll look stupid to everyone who isn’t ignorant and sees what amazing things you’ve done.

  70. When I set up my business and started meeting clients, my age played a major role in making them belive it was easy to push me over the edge with my prices… One of my clients said “You don’t know what the price is supposed to be… Do it for me at $xxx (1/3 the cost) and I will teach you how to run a business…” obviously I pushed this guy away… another said “You are so young, how will you handle my project… You don’t have any experience in life…” This lady was 45, devorced and besides being nuts, had major trust issues with everyone she knew… These were a few instances where I felt really disrespected… It took me a while to get some good contracts, but once things were in motion, little by little respect built up…

  71. At my previous job, I worked as a personal banker and was the youngest person in my branch. I learned that the best way to gain people’s respect was to not only show that you are competent, but to become an expert in what you do. Once you can prove that, no one can legitimately question your abilities. Anyone who does just ends up looking like an ass.

  72. This is definitely something that I struggled with – I was one of a few females in a male dominated college major, I was the youngest in my graduate school class, and I later became the chief of staff to a CEO of a company with thousands of employees – all before I hit my mid-twenties. My colleagues (those in the c-suite) were all twice my age. I would constantly get remarks directed towards my age (“When I was your age…” “You’re so young, you still haven’t gone through these life lessons…” “How old are you??”) I was also considered the ‘hot girl’ and would constantly get remarks on my appearance or get asked out.

    I thought that maybe if I changed the way I looked, it would help address the stereotypes and help me get respect faster – so I changed the way I dressed and wore glasses (despite not needing them) to look older.

    After a couple weeks, I realized that this was all stupid. Youth and physical beauty both fade, so I needed to learn to embrace them while I had them. The turning point for me was learning to be authentic with myself. Through some candid conversations, I learned that my colleagues were threatened by me (how I looked, my age, the power of my title, etc). This wasn’t something that an unflattering outfit or non-prescription glasses were going to fix. It was a matter of showing how bad a** I was balanced by how friendly and approachable I can be. I learned to advocate for myself. I learned to be bold. I was explicit about commitments I made and always executed on them above and beyond expectations. I showed that I could be an awesome leader and an indispensable team player (who celebrated her colleagues, when appropriate).

    In the end, an anonymous survey of my colleagues (who were still twice my age) had several notes on their respect for me and admiration for what I had to contribute. I think that it’s important for each person undergoing this kind of struggle (male, female, young, old, whatever) to realize that you do have power to change others’ impression of you. But, what I think is more important, is to realize the power of being your authentic self (the best version of yourself) regardless of what others think.

  73. Ramit if anyone can answer this question I think I can. I started out in a tough industry at a very young age. I worked my way through college while working 50 and 60 hr weeks and climbing the ladder in the industry that I was working in. As I gained experience and power I began to run into situations where professionals much older than I wondered how I came to achieve the power and suppossed knowledge that I possessed. I always ignored the opportunities of confrontation and treated everyone with the respect that I expected to be treated with. I earned their respect every single time by working hard and admitting when I was wrong or there was something I did not know. I always try to learn from everyone and I mean everyone around me; successes and failures. In tackling this problem head on with hard work and dedication to the craft while avoiding the unnecessary confrontations of the situation, people will begin to see you as an equal and forget the rest of the situation. To anyone asking this question I would say that respect is EARNED not given. If you work hard and prove that you can give the respect to others that you feel you should be given and you act at the professional level that you claim to have achieved people will not care your age or your sex or your skin color, at least not anyone that matters enough to have any affect on your professional career in the future.

    Sincerely
    Roy Lemke

  74. I think that too many women are disrespected by their own gender. M above just beat me to it. I believe that you do not have to change your appearance to earn respect. Just be yourself, with confidence. You have to know what you are doing, be direct but approachable at the same and create friendly alliances with everyone, but especially colleagues who are at a junior level to you. In this way you are not a threat to them and you can empower them with decision making at their own level. They will respect you for believing in them, and will learn to respect themselves too

  75. As an early web designer and developer, I often took jobs that no one would take and would be hard to get paid for, but I did and overall I’ve done pretty well.
    I didn’t and don’t have a degree and pretty much had to walk the walk to make it go.
    For the young looking nurse, see a pro about the hair and makeup. Look more conservative. If your hair is light, make it dark, and ask for help in looking older.
    Then cultivate a lower voice and a logical tone.
    People may not love this, but it gets credibility.

  76. There are some contexts where I still struggle to determine what the cause of this type of treatment is, but it’s very effective to just take a step back from people emotionally and speak to them from a somewhat stern, objective place. When I feel less-than-respected by someone, I consciously show no reaction to their behavior, make unwavering eye contact whenever I’m addressing them or being addressed, speak in terse, firm, uncompromising assertions or statements of fact, and remove all proactive politeness from my vocabulary (“please,” “thanks,” etc). I also stop conceding things even if I agree or don’t care, and I absolutely refuse to repeat myself (including my own casual repeats, like “hi, hello” or just saying things twice for emphasis). I basically continue this kind of stonefaced handling until their behavior has changed to a level I accept. Works very effectively in most contexts.

  77. Stepping into a role with my fraternity, it felt many times like there wasn’t much respect there for the position. The reputation had been tarnished because the previous officer had actually embezzled money. My strategy was to be crystal clear. Everything, I mean, EVERYTHING was open to all the members. I told them where we needed to go financially, what actions we had to take to get there, and what would happen collectively and individually if we didn’t make it. To be blunt I had to be an a-hole to some brothers who wouldn’t pay up. But I had them sign agreements at the beginning of the year, told them over and over and over again when money was due and what would happen if they didn’t pay. Even went so far as to call collections on some guys. The linchpin of the strategy was that I made sure to put the responsibility on them. I did everything I could to make their lives easier and when that didn’t work there was absolutely no way they could complain. In the end it worked and to brag a little bit my tenure as treasurer was viewed as one of the best in the chapter’s history.

    An interesting aside though is that fraternity life has hyper-replicated the challenges of being in a business. In particular the problem of turnover and having to reestablish your respect with every wave of new members (or new hires). For us, every four years there’s a completely new set of guys. What’s interesting about this is that if you don’t maintain working on your respect, it will crumble VERY quickly. New guys (and hires) always think they’ve found the magic bullet or the secret to success and it typically goes like this:

    New guy: Let’s just do Plan X. Yeah that’ll work!
    Me: Trust me, that won’t work.
    New guy: No, no, it’ll work. *lists reasons*
    Me: That’s great and all, but we tried that exact same thing three years ago and it failed cause of X, Y, & Z.
    New guy: Yeah but… this time is different. And besides those reasons are bogus.
    Me: *flashes back three years: “Yeah guys that’ll totally work!”*
    Me: *shakes head* Whatever newbie. Have fun with that!

    So overall point is that respect isn’t an achievement it’s a process and very much tied into what-have-you-done-for-me-lately.

  78. Reading over these, who would agree that the themes seem to be mutual equivalence, self-respect, and brutal honesty. To unpack these a little bit, a lot of these stories seem to have an element of establishing a relationship where neither party is “above” the other at least on the face of it. As a caveat, competence may dictate someone’s decisions over another’s but no one is strictly above another. Self-respect is where a lot of people have listed tactics like how you behave and dress. It also seems to be the source of calling others out if they try to run you over. Finally brutal honesty, both to yourself and others, is necessary to all of this. For yourself its necessary because you cannot overestimate your own competence and for others it is necessary so they know where they stand with you and it really helps you feed that self-respect because it builds your confidence when you rebuff an attempt to run you over.

    Agree, disagree, think it needs to be refined? Be brutally honest!

    Also some things I think are relevant for the discussion are Brene Brown’s insights on self-worthiness (in regards to self-respect), The Leadership Challenge’s four traits of a leader: Honest, Forward-Looking, Inspiring, and Competent, and if anyone is a Macklemore fan he has a line about sparring with your ego as a metaphor to getting over yourself.

  79. I am definitely not the best engineer on my team, but I do everything in my power to back my team up, especially when all hell breaks loose I put my best foot forward and go through hell and back with them. Even if it means I stay up for 48 hours straight with them while we bring a network back up. I may not have the answers or the same level of insight into the issue as they do, but just being there for them to bounce ideas ooff of, white boarding their ideas and troubleshooting scenarios, and just helping them stay focused has won me their respect. They in turn have helped me tons in my career and have insisted on mentoring me.

  80. I graduated college at 18 and went to work at a major financial institution. Age was a bit of an issue even if people didn’t realize quite how young I was. So I grew a mustache. However, I realize this may not be advice other folks can use.

    More generally I would recommend two things. First, be awesome. Any surface strategy only buys you a few minutes. You must really know your stuff to sustain any respect you get for more than a moment. But for that moment, try to cultivate “gravitas”. Slow your speech. Pause. Don’t smile or ask for approval all the time.

  81. When having to drive one’s idea through the clutter of cross-conversations during a meeting, I practice what I learned from Dale Carnegie and it’s contrary as well to augment the effect.
    Example:
    ten people chit-chattering in unison over something wrong, I just say, slowly, articulately, my idea by stating a question (Dale Carnegie rule to attract attention) while introducing an element of aggression and /or profanity (to impose oneself in a male-dominated environment) and/or humor (to remove the negative connotation): “What if we all tried to introduce (your idea) into the shit and rub their nose hard in it until it splatters their goblin faces?”
    Or: “Hey… wait a minute! Where do they think they are trying to do with our balls, er sorry, our concept? Roll with their tongues or bite?”
    Or: “Oh really? Where are the bloody figures, how do you come to that result? My calculations say the contrary, but only if wind-speed is considered…” When big-eyes and frowns turn to you, just correct, cool as shit: “wind-speed AND empirical, hard-assed stats, mind you!”

    Results are astonishing. But make sure you are quite at ease when doing it, else it can backfire when one or two has no sense of brown-tinged humour…

  82. Also working in an IT company. I agree with some of the comments here about needing to be very knowledgeable to earn the respect of your coworkers and superiors. But that will only get you so far.

    There are two issues that bother me most:
    1. When a new project comes up and you are not even considered to be part of it. When you have to prove yourself EVERY time and only then are you invited into a project, it really starts to bother you. Getting the same type of standing a male colleague has is very difficult for a younger women.
    2. Typical female strengths are considered to be weaknesses. There has been a lot of talk about soft skills, but in reality, very few male bosses and colleagues really value them. Almost no boss or colleague of mine has ever really understood the value of something like empathy. Even tough this can be very valuable, even in the IT world.

  83. ramit it is a very good initiative, i have been working in an IT company for than 2 years ….. well i firmly believe that the term “give and take policy” people give a smile to those who smile on them … the important thing to gain respect … is we should be having very good knowledge in very subject .. politics or movies and to be humble .. a good speaker always grab the attention always prepare urself for a good speech among your co workers and give value to ones point of view ……

    get your colleagues to be in touch with you in every meetings and gatherings …. :)

  84. You just cannot care what others think. Most of the time they are just jealous. So keep plugging away and while they are wasting their time talking crap you are slowly moving up and succeeding. Respect is not the most important goal. Making your own life work for you is more important than what someone that you don’t value the opinion of thinks of you.

  85. I have found that the key is to find those people that do respect you, and grow your reputation from there. Just like the fraternity example, it is a constant exercise.

  86. To get respect, give it. Ask questions. Listen to others’ stories and experiences. No matter their education or age, everyone has a story to tell and experiences that informed them about how to do their job, live their life…For a while, speak less and listen more. In the end, when you do speak, I think others are more apt to listen when you spend the time to hear them. Unless you walk into a situation where the universe is in complete alignment with you, you are an unknown and often threatening in some way: to their safety, self esteem, sense of identity, earned rank etc so go in humble respecting how it feels to be on the receiving end of you.

  87. I find to get respect, you have to require it of yourself. Sure, being competent at your job is good and respect-worthy, as is giving respect. But the fact of the matter is, some people never want to give it, or don’t, not out of malice but instead just didn’t think about what they were saying or how they were saying it. Or some people are arrogant and are okay with being disrespectful to others.

    The solution is to demand respect. If someone is not respectful to you, call them on it. Only you can speak up for yourself. So do that. This is in the context of the workplace. If you can be funny about it, or diplomatic, then bonus points. But if someone is disrepectful, you need to send a message that it is not okay. Every time. For your own self esteem. Don’t ask me how I know this.

    In your personal life, same goes, with some changes. With family, you have to deal with them unless they are so unhealthy that you have to cut them loose. But if they aren’t that bad, just call them on it. Every time. And don’t be afraid to dish out what they are serving to you, too.

    If you have a friend or home employee that is disrespectful, and the benefits don’t outweigh the costs, let them go. The sooner the better, for yourself. It took me child #2 to realize that I can’t afford to deal with people that don’t treat me with respect or don’t reciprocate in my life. And when I let them go, I regretted not letting them go sooner.

  88. My (female) boss says that people started listening to her after she turned 40. Something to look forward to…?

    It helps to have colleagues with whom you can discuss this problem explicitly – so in a meeting, they can reiterate what you’ve said, using your name. It’s equally important to do this yourself for your other colleagues – celebrate them and give them credit. Also, try to cultivate a mentor/advocate who can give you good press.

    And in some fields, particularly medicine, you’ll probably have to learn to let it roll off your back because changing that culture is not a fight you can win on your own.

  89. The best thing that I found works was to “find fault at others”. Always, have your facts ready when you are putting any new ideas. Like a print from the net that backs up what you say and stuff like that. Always works. Thats how you build respect. Over a span of time, you will notice that you dont need any back up prints. People have fallen in line and your opinion is respected.
    Women tend to be more quiet in work places. I was just one women in the office of 20-25 people. It is hard to have your voice heard in office meetings. But, when its your turn, make a big deal of it. Then, you kind of get the hang of it and it becomes habit to “interrupt someone” else and make your point!

  90. Adam Grant has some insightful thoughts about how “powerless communication” (acknowledging shortcomings instead of strengths, tentative instead of assertive talk, and asking questions instead of giving answers) can earn you respect & attention. I especially recommend the first 4 minutes, where he tells a story about how he earned the respect of much older US Airforce employees as a 25 year old fresh out of grad school, by making a joke about his own age.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_ffqEA8X5g

  91. In all seriousness from the time I was a 22 year old whippersnapper to now, I have had every other type of job insecurity except this one. Bottom line, if you do the work and produce results the respect will come. To take it a step further, the work that you do has to match your expectation above everyone else’s and then you will be in a league of your own. Have standards and meet and exceed them. I have been promoted from assistant to senior manager several times in my career because the proof was in the pudding plain and simple.

    Also , I have grown up in a family of doctors, every beginning doctor has been where Lori is now. Again do the work know your stuff and people will have to listen to you because it will start to mean that they are not doing their job. It takes mere months after being in your position for the turnaround to happen.

  92. Respect yourself first and you will have earned the respect of the most important person in the room.

    • William Charles Link to this comment

      I can imagine this on the front of a motivational poster. It sounds really cheesy but it’s incredible true.

  93. Well, I’m 21 years old and considered a leader in my current position. I’ve been able to establish trust by always making sure I always have the answer to my colleagues and bosses questions. If I don’t know right then, I say that I’ll check for them and have the answer in minutes. Be the go to person and be dependable. This will create a trickle-down effect and you’ll have the social proof to pass as an expert in no time.

  94. Female/40′s/Marketing

    Sometimes you have to realize that you are just in the wrong environment. I’ve been both shocked at mistreatment/disrespect as well as flabbergasted at support/respect.

    We often tend to “take what’s given” as women, instead of focusing on what WE want and saying “no” to people, projects and/or environments that do not support us.

    It should NOT MATTER what we look like, or even what we dress like, unless you are in a very professional environment, like Legal or PR or broadcasting. Frankly, tech/engineering/development leads the way these days, and look at how Zuckerberg dresses! He doesn’t even have a decent haircut and looks 12! Bill Gates NEVER gave a crap what he wore, and neither do many tech leaders.

    It should not matter if we are young, petite, pretty or homely. The work should speak for itself. Sometimes, a more attractive person will sway a decision based on that, but mostly, it’s about the bottom line.

    However, there is an emotional and perceptive decision made by others, whereby they decide in their heads whether or not you are to be admired, followed and/ore included. This is basic. And what works is being confident, self-assured, prepared, capable/educated, enthusiastic, supportive and well-connected.

    Some pointers:

    - Don’t volunteer all the time, unless you really want to be part of the project.
    - Don’t be too emotional, talkative or gossip. Focus.
    - Hit the zone, where you are comfortable yet putting your best foot forward.
    - Don’t let inappropriate behavior upset you – deal with it directly and neutralize it.
    - Take credit where it’s due.
    - Don’t wait to be validated or even have others agree with you. State your case and be satisfied with YOUR opinion on the matter.
    - Don’t compare your situation with others; instead, point out where you excel and what you have accomplished (when discussing salary, etc.)
    - Be patient. Be OK with silences. Make them wait for your answer.
    - Don’t take the first offer, ever. Women are notorious for not negotiating. Ask for 15-25% more than would make you happy, ALWAYS. And have a lot to negotiate for: salary, raises, bonuses, equity, vacation, flexibility, benefits, perks, etc.

    The bottom line is that it is mostly a male world, so for women it can be very difficult to relate and conduct ourselves in ways that are effective at work. We empathize, want to connect, we like to discuss/brainstorm, we bristle at those who are short with us, we don’t like to confront or argue, etc. While you shouldn’t try to act like a man, you should at least learn how they communicate and find strategies/tactics that work in THEIR language. Because they are not interested in changing their way of operating.

    Know that most men are insecure, so take what they do/say with a grain of salt. But mostly, STOP waiting to be encouraged, validated, supported and championed. Men will actually behave WORSE if you best them or show them up.

    Believe me, I know. My boss held a contest, asking for marketing ideas. Mine were clearly the best. Instead of awarding me the prize…he pretended the contest was never begun. Insiders told me so 100% “You won, but he didn’t want to acknowledge that.” Can you imagine?

    I think – even though it was years ago – I will let him know that was NOT cool. (I know, women shouldn’t hold grudges, but COME ON!)

  95. I haven’t had time to read all of the comments, but I know how it feels to work with condescending older people. This is what I wish I knew in my 20′s:

    Whining about lack of respect isn’t going to get you any so don’t do that. (Not saying Lori does that, but I automatically flinch when I hear someone cry “Waaahhh, why don’t they respect me?”)

    Respect is a two-way street. You expect people to earn your respect and you give respect when earned.

  96. If you’re young and don’t have the age spots to fool people into thinking you know stuff, you have to actually Know Your Shit. And never be wrong.

    I’m usually summarily dismissed until someone asks me about a problem or needs HR advice. I tell them what they need to know. If people think you know what you’re doing, and YOU act like you know what you’re doing, no one will ever question you–but if they do, be prepared to step up or shut up. (And if you make a mistake, apologize and fix it.)

  97. A technique I learned very young and that has worked at every place I’ve ever worked at is also my favorite quote is “Work hard be humble.”

    Always work hard;
    - If something needs to get done even if its not your job title (don’t step on toes) just do it. Even if its something way beneath you like mopping a spill.
    - If someone is sick be the first to pick up the slack.
    - Help everyone around you whether they ask for it or not and double help them if they hate / would never help you, (kill them with kindness).

    This will make people respect you if for no other reason then they know they can depend on you.

    The second part of the quote is the most important, “be humble.” If your arrogant or an ass no amount of hard work will make people respect you. Don’t say things or do things that make others think you feel above them. Probably most important never and I mean NEVER be part of gossip and rumors at work. That is the easiest way to loose respect is by lowering yourself for some quick and fleeting cool points with the local drama queens.

    That quote and the meaning behind it has made me a fast rising star at every place I’ve worked. I have always reached the level of job I want even starting below entry level within an one year goal. So work hard and be humble.

  98. Many people find it hard to trust at first but when they come around their trust will add up to respect.
    I remember that I had just finished high school and was 17yrs old when I was recruited by my aunt to sell vehicle spare parts and operate a press machine. At first people were skeptical of my ability to do a good job. I was to work with mechanics with an experience of 10-30 yrs and they were expected to trust a newbie. I was determined to learn so I took every opportunity to do so.
    It important to have the thirst to know how they run things before adding ua input. that way you can put your ideas in their language.
    Then to quote others above me, ask alot about the field u work in that way you will feel comfortable you kow how and who run things and they will feel utilised since they feel they know alot.
    when I left the job to go for campus they could stop asking for me.

  99. Being better and knowledgeable without being seen as a show off. There’s a need to understand men a bit. Men tend not to offer help until asked. As a woman, perhaps when you notice problems stand by to offer help but don’t until asked.

  100. I was going to put this in the post on 10 life hacks but the comments are closed, so I will share it here. It’s about hacking traditional martial arts, have a look-see:

    http://voices.yahoo.com/how-learn-traditional-martial-art-more-quickly-12114922.html?cat=5

  101. Just gain more money and power than other people. If someone doesn’t fall in line, fire him. The respect will come with ease.

  102. It helps to be comfortable in your job and your industry. If you are in the right place, doing the right thing, people look at you differently than when you are just going through the motions or when you area square peg in a round hole. It’s hard to respect yourself when you don’t like your job, and it’s impossible to win respect from others when you don’t respect yourself.

  103. Two simple things:

    -Lead by example
    -Live authentically and disregard what others think.
    *When I tried to conform to what I thought others wanted me to be like, I not only disrespected myself, but I gained no one else’s respect.

  104. Some of these responses actually made my skin crawl…

    One woman said she “shivs” someone occasionally- publicly shaming them for a mistake or miscalculation (not so often that she’s labeled a bitch), and another said to make it a point to interrupt during a meeting to make a point.

    I detest interrupters and back-stabbers. You ladies are at best rude and at worst untrustworthy and antisocial.

    My recipe for respect is self respect, kindness, professionalism, direct communication and an attitude of confident curiosity. Learn from everyone. If someone is rude to you or oversteps boundaries, call them on it immediately. Be grateful for your blessings and praise others when they demonstrate high value.

    When my business was taking off I had a “best friend” who cornered me and tried to tear me down emotionally with caustic speech and irrelevant broad criticism (ie “you never graduated college,” “you don’t have enough experience,” etc)

    I was hurt and angered by her outburst. I’ve worked my ass off for over a decade so that I could build my own business and although she’s right that I’m still technically several credits away from a B.S. in Psychology, I have 2-3 times the number of undergrad hours of most graduates due to my switching schools and degree plans.

    She later revealed that she was just jealous of my success. Even though I kindly asked for an apology and for a game plan so that we can avoid a future similar scenario, she has glossed over my direct, actionable and very reasonable request. Though I am pleasant to her if she contacts me I no longer feel very friendly toward her nor compelled to seek her company or do her any favors.

  105. Remember: it’s not about you. It’s about them. You earn their respect when you bring something valuable into their lives. It took me months to gain respect at my workplace, but I accomplished it little by little by looking at the person/people next to me and asking myself, “How can I make this person’s day easier?” or “How can I make this person smile?” This works with coworkers, bosses, and clients. When you are able to make their day easier, they appreciate you more and value your opinion more.

    Like other people said above, giving respect gets you respect. When I show respect to people who have been in the company longer than I have, they share their experiences with me and see my success as their success.

    Say thank you. Show your appreciation and gratitude for the things that people do right and do well. Praise people.

    And if the people you supervise make a mistake, don’t make a big deal out if it and don’t make a scene in front of customers or other coworkers (doing so makes your company look bad and makes YOU look bad). Talk to that person in a private area, and TEACH them how to do it right instead of belittling them. If they see that you care about their success, they will respect you and they will be more motivated to improve their knowledge and skills.

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  108. Learn there habits of constantly discussing beer, boobs, and sports. No one actually does any work. There are numerous studies showing this. Work is about spewing the most deception so everyone can do nothing with their time. Nine times out of ten its them not you. Ignore, ass kick, and be on point at all times. Problem with that is they will hate you even more. Especially if you are young, because then your just a punk kid, a rebel, someone trying to prove a point. These people would die in a true state of nature outside of civilization. Respect is not earned (well people with narcissistic personality disorder think it is earned), it is implicit until it is clearly lost, but then everyone makes mistakes so I guess its always present.

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