Mandar Oak
by Mandar Oak
4 min read


11 tiny habits that lose you respect:

Decades of awkwardness compelled me to learn and understand what connects us to one another and what pushes us apart.

People make judgements extremely quickly about the kind of person we are.

This means there are subtle changes we all can make that impact how others see us.

Let’s go:

  1. Too fast to agree.

If I’m speaking with someone, and they nod along enthusiastically to all that I say, and they rarely disagree, I can’t help but lose interest.

This doesn’t mean you need to be combative and unpleasant.

But agreeing to everything and everyone is like adding water to paint.

It dilutes who you are in my eyes.

  1. Rushing speech.

Many of us talk quickly for many reasons, including being jacked up on coffee and excited about what we’re saying.

But the message this often transmits is you aren’t comfortable in your words.

It’s like grabbing a hot cake and throwing it back quickly.

When we give ourselves time to speak, it becomes a lot easier to find the right words, it puts others at ease, and people will have more faith in what we’re saying.

  1. Lack of attention.

Being attentive to someone in person and actually listening is not a submissive act.

Scrolling your phone while in conversation doesn’t make you look cool.

It makes you look like a child.

Be there with someone.

Demonstrate your interest and be genuinely interested. Presence has a power to it.

This will attract people to you like little else.

  1. Jumpiness.

Slowing down, being a fraction smoother, and letting go physically is extremely powerful.

It signals comfort in your own skin and calms you down, but more than anything - it alters your own perceived self-identity.

You will realise your natural confidence, and this will be felt.

Slowing down your breathing is also part of this.

Your thoughts will slow, your intelligence will come through, and your perceived status will rise.

  1. Taking stuff too seriously.

I’ve been guilty of this because I can get in my head and over-analyse.

Find ways to enjoy yourself, no matter the context.

Don’t be the guy who brings the heaviness and sucks the energy out of a room.

This happens when you’re judgemental in mind and spirit.

Be light-hearted, and focus on lifting those around you.

  1. Not taking up space.

Don’t be afraid to physically relax into a space.

This applies more to men than women because it’s a masculine move.

Many of us inadvertently reduce our occupied space to reflect our illusion of insecurity.

Knees-together Justin Trudeau is a good example of this.

How you hold yourself physically transmits confidence, and it also reinforces it.

  1. Avoiding high-flame topics.

‘High-flame’ means using courage in your communication.

Speaking what you mean.

Being willing to say what others might avoid.

This depends on how far into a relationship you are with someone, and different contexts determine the appropriateness of chosen topics.

But if you’re continually avoiding ‘edgier’ issues or tougher words to avoid causing offence, you will be seen as merely ‘nice.’

That’s ok, but is ‘nice’ the legacy you want to leave?

  1. Talking over someone.

There’s no faster way for me to lose my respect for you than if you’re cutting into my sentences.

A little overlap is ok - we’re human.

But do it in the middle of my sentence three times, and I’m looking for the waiter for the bill.

It communicates a couple of things:

• You’re not listening to me.

• You rely on leap-frogging my words to be seen, which shouts: ‘I am not enough!’

  1. Self-analysing.

Being overly conscious of how I was coming across and what I was saying was a problem for me growing up.

When speaking with people, I’d continually judge what I’d said in a bid to be liked.

This self-monitoring meant I was never IN the conversation - but rather in my thoughts ABOUT the conversation.

Ironically this puts us at even more of a performance disadvantage, and you will lose people.

  1. Reacting to criticism.

It’s easy to believe that being non-reactive to the criticisms of others is a weak move.

Surely if someone disrespects us, we need to react - to put them down, to assert our strength?


Reacting says this: you aren’t comfortable in your skin, and you have something to protect and to prove.

This approach is rooted in lack, and people sense this instantly.

Instead, smile, tease, make light, and move on.

  1. Relying on outcomes.

In other words: being needy.

Humans are very attuned to neediness in other people.

Perhaps we want her to agree to a second date, or we desperately want that client sale.

If we’re reliant on a ‘successful’ outcome, it pollutes our behaviour in the moment.

We get tight. We take things personally when they don’t go to plan.

Our performance is hampered. It makes us look like we have few options, which immediately decreases our perceived status.

To finish: the common thread is the need to get out of our heads and be more in a present flow.

But if all the above ideas are in our heads, we will not be calm and present.

So, absorb what I’ve shared, and come back to this often.

You need not be perfect.

I certainly am not, and still get nervous and twitchy.

Allow these ideas to become second nature through practice.

But when you’re out in the ‘field,’

Let it all go.

Be open to your innate wisdom.

You always know what to do next.

Relax in the uncertainty of it all.

This is how you surprise yourself.


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