Being Liked or Being Respected? What Your Preference Says About You

Have you ever been on your way to a party and told yourself that you’re not going to drink, but then when you get there, all your friends were drinking? They ask you why you’re not drinking, and ponder whether you’re in a bad mood or not feeling well. They’re all drinking and having a good time, and they look like they’re having fun so you say to yourself, I’ll just have one drink. But then after the first one, you go ahead and have a second one, and maybe even a third, and before you know it, you’re tipsy or drunk, and completely ignored your earlier decision to abstain.

Yeah, you caved to peer pressure, and now you’re the only one who feels badly about you doing what you didn’t want to do.

So why did you do it?  We all know someone who is — or perhaps at some point in time you have personally been — the proverbial people-pleaser — someone who says yes to others for fear of them being upset or disappointed with you. You can’t stand the thought of someone being angry or upset with you so you say “yes” just to be liked. You rationalize that you’re going along to get along.

People and children often do things for their friends so they can be liked. I have been guilty of it in my life and in my business.

Most people want to be liked (and granted, we all know someone who really doesn’t want to be liked. He or she prefers controversy, and quite frankly, takes pride in being a jerk. But that’s not who I am talking about here).

But we must beware of putting too much emphasis on being liked. One day, it could backfire. Eventually, people pick up on that behavior, and end up losing respect.

Granted, it feels good to be liked, but there’s a difference between being liked and being respected. If it’s a choice between being liked and being respected, which would you rather be?

The Difference Between Being Liked and Being Respected

I believe the correct answer is respected.  You see, you can be liked, but not respected, but if you’re respected, the odds are good that you’ll be liked.

I had a friend during my teenage years who never really partied with the group. He would hang out occasionally, but when he did, he didn’t drink (as we may have been wont to do in our teen years). Many times, we would ask him to hang out with us and he would refuse because he had to read, or because he was studying. My other friends and I didn’t think it was cool of him to not want to hang out.

But in the long run, it put him where he wanted to be. He did what was best for him, and now, years later, he has an awesome, well-paying, job that he’s enjoyed for many, many years. I would say he is well-respected too, in part, because he didn’t worry about what others thought as he pursued the path that was right for him.

In real estate, agents often agree to do things for their clients in an effort to be liked, but which undermines their credibility, and with it, the respect they would otherwise get.

For example, some agents cut their commissions to get a listing. Now, cutting the commission to get the listing is not unheard of in a tight market, but reducing the commission in order to be better liked by a prospective client means they’ve abandoned their standards. If these agents stuck to their guns and explained why they are worth the commission they charge, their clients might not like it initially, but they will trust the agents to represent them, and they will ultimately get the respect they likely deserve.

Sometimes, clients ask agents to do things for them at odd hours, or when agents have carved out time for their own lives and families. It is expected that in real estate agents are supposed to be available 24/7, especially on weekends.

Early in my career, I would work my rear end off seven days a week even when I really wanted, and needed, to spend time with my family on Sundays. I would work as hard as I could Monday through Saturday with the intention of taking off on Sunday.

When I started out in the business, invariably I would get a phone call on Saturday afternoon. “Rob, we want to see a house tomorrow.” I would get a lump in my throat knowing that I would have to sacrifice family time to please the client so he or she would like me. And that’s exactly what I did for a while.

In the beginning, my solution was to tell my clients I was already booked. I was afraid that if I told them I wasn’t working that day to spend time with my family, they might choose to work with another realtor. In time, I gained the confidence to tell clients that I was not working on a given day because I was going to spend time with at home.

As the years went by, I continued to be transparent with my clients, and as they got to know me better, I earned respect for choosing to spend time with my family. My clients understood the value of that one day each week devoted to my family, and respected me as a family man.

So when it comes to being liked or being respected, which do you value more?

If you’re looking for respect, here are three principles to follow in your life:

  1. Follow your instinct. Do what’s right for you, not what others demand of you.

  2. Don’t waiver on your business principles — or your self-worth — just to land a client.

  3. Work hard, but don’t sacrifice your values to please others.