11 Subtle Behaviors That Make People Perceive You Better

Minor shifts in your behavior can have a huge impact on how you're received.

Behaviors that make people respect you more Pekic | Canva

I’ve learned a lot about human behavior through years of awkwardness. People don’t need to know very much about you to make a snap judgment about the kind of person you are. You can take advantage of this by making a few subtle shifts in your everyday behavior.

Here are 11 subtle behaviors that make people recognize you more:

1. Sharpen up your physical appearance

We can’t change how we came out of the womb, but we can maximize our appearance. There’s a reason you feel better after a haircut or a manicure. What does it say about you? Looking at a body we like in the mirror makes a difference. We might claim that caring about how we look is shallow, but it alters the perception others have of you and that you have of yourself. That’s nature. It’s reality. Your resistance to this will keep you miserable.


2. Have emotional control

If you are quick to react with anger, you lose respect. Avoiding this is to nurture what I call ‘the gap.’ Reactive people have tiny gaps, meaning they don’t create any space between a triggering stimulus and their emotional response. Non-reactive people command tremendous respect because they have nurtured gaps wide enough to allow any tension in themselves to dissipate.

RELATED: 6 Tiny Ways To Emotionally Regulate Yourself, According To Neuroscience

3. Stop always being available

You don’t always need to respond to that text. You don’t always need to smile, laugh, or get back to people. You shouldn’t be always available, and your real life can reflect this. It can’t be an act. It is a sense of scarcity that creates the perception of high value. Create a life that makes you and your time scarce. What impression does always being available transmit? You aren’t focused on your own stuff, you aren’t in high demand, and you probably don’t have a mission — people will sense this.


4. Dole out unexpected flattery

Overly nice people are a dime a dozen. While most people try desperately to impress, you do it differently. Your compliments are rare, unexpected, specific, and come from a genuine place. This makes you unforgettable.

RELATED: Fear vs. Flattery: The Difference Between Being Catcalled And Complimented

5. Talk less

I was always ashamed that I spoke little at school. Much of this came out of my shyness, but even today, I often find it difficult to find the words. Speaking less demonstrates comfort in one’s skin if coupled with a relaxed demeanor. It gives the other person a chance to speak more, which is most appreciated, and pitches you as open, thoughtful, and generous with the space you give. Speaking less also generates a mystery about you that keeps people interested, and wanting to know more about you.


6. Be relaxed and move slow

Quick movements and fidgeting make you appear like a nervous woodland creature in the headlights. You can encourage relaxation, and even a calmer mind, by moving a little slower. It’s a positive loop. Not rushing around like a headless chicken signals you are in control, you have time, and you go at your own pace. This alone will shift the perspective others have of you as well as the one you have of yourself.

7. Talk a fraction slower

One of the major contributors to my overcoming social anxiety was adopting a thing called ‘slow talk.’ Talking slower helped tremendously because it gave me time to think. It slowed me physically and slowed my thinking too. This is what my anxious self needed most: Space. Most of us rush through life and wonder why we’re anxious. Talk slower and you will calm down, elevate your perceived status, and garner respect.

8. Know your boundaries and exert them

People-pleasers have few boundaries. They equate pleasing people with an increase in their self-worth and then wonder why they go to sleep at night depressed. People who command respect don’t allow an invasion of their time and energy. They know when and how to say ‘no.’ This is how to stay sane and maintain the energy that the world needs from you. Boundaries keep all this in check, and others will be inspired rather than offended by it.


RELATED: 8 Simple Ways To Start Setting Boundaries You Can Actually Keep

9. Dress well

The seemingly superficial can make a huge difference. Dress well and you will feel better and create an entirely different impression versus looking scruffy. It makes a huge difference. 

10. Stop trying to impress everyone

Many of us grew up picking up the idea that if we please other people (our parents), we’d be rewarded and we’d be seen as good little boys and girls. But people pleasing people is not a life strategy that will lead to anything good for you unless you prefer to see your soul gradually diminish and people slowly lose respect for you. Instead, be valuable and serve people when it’s appropriate. Confront the reality that you’re being insincere. You don’t believe what you’re saying when you’re overly nice to everyone, do you?

11. Hold people’s eye contact

Nothing says ‘I’m confident and I am interested in other people’ than holding someone’s gaze, especially for a little longer than might feel comfortable. Sustained eye contact will stand out in a fidgety world where everyone avoids each other’s gaze, glued to the adult version of a baby pacifier: their phones.


RELATED: 14 Tiny Behaviors That Make People Instantly Respect You More

Alex Mathers is a writer and coach who helps you build a money-making personal brand with your knowledge and skills while staying mentally resilient.