Most people want to be liked. More importantly, everyone wants to be respected.
Mutual respect is the foundation of any relationship – be it between spouses, co-workers, acquaintances or your children. One of the best ways to show someone you love them is by treating them with respect. (2)
Respect comes with embracing acceptance, forgiveness, not judging others, listening to and valuing their viewpoints, and appreciating their personality. (1)
People often unintentionally damage the mutual respect by disregarding boundaries, pushing their opinions on others, or by not accepting others’ individuality. (3)
Being disrespectful can lead to feelings of bitterness, and both parties will need to work together to restore and maintain respect in the relationship.
The good news is that relationships can be repaired if all parties learn to show respect to each other.
Things to keep in mind to show your respect to others: (4)
1. Be kind and considerate. Pay attention to the needs and wants of people around you. Genuinely care and show concern when they need it.
2. Be pleasant. Smile when you meet people, be warm and approachable.
3. Be affectionate. Show affection to people around you, especially your loved ones.
4. Be courteous. Say ‘thank you’, ‘you’re welcome’, ‘sorry’ and ‘please’ often. Also, be real with your compliments; be straightforward in a respectful way.
5. Be welcoming. When you greet people, take 10 seconds and make them feel important. Look them in the eyes with warmth and genuineness. If appropriate, give them a firm handshake or a quick hug.
6. Use people’s names. In all your communication, whether it’s written or verbal, whether it’s a single time or repeated communication, make it a point to use a person’s name. By using someone’s name, you are indicating that the person has made an impression on you. You are indirectly complimenting them and making them feel important.
7. Remember things about others. Take note of small details, like remembering their kids’ names or their weekend trip. It shows that you took the effort to remember them and care about them.
8. Be helpful. Help people without being asked. Be it your family member or a stranger; by helping them, you are giving them importance. Babysit for a friend who needs to take some time out to relax, or help a relative move to a new home.
9. Be open-minded. When you are open-minded, you are willing to accept others' opinions and ideas. You are better able to learn new things, more open to the possibility that you might be wrong, and able to acknowledge when someone else is right.
10. Respect others' opinions. Give other people a chance to express themselves, even if you disagree with them. Know that no two people can agree on everything.
11. Let go of control. Allow people to do their own things in their own way. The freedom to make decisions is the fundamental right of each person. Be it your children, your spouse or any family member, let them make their own decisions.
12. Avoid unnecessary fault-finding. Avoid criticizing over little things, or of people’s mistakes and shortcomings. Everyone makes mistakes, and nothing is perfect.
13. Practice humility. Be humble, without bragging or putting yourself down too much.
14. Respect others' customs and beliefs. Treat people with the same esteem – no matter their race, religion or cultural traditions.
15. Acknowledge other people’s differences. Accept and prize others exactly the way they are. If we were all the same, the human race would be fruitless.
16. Give honest feedback when asked. Highlight others' positive sides and offer encouragement for changing their negatives.
17. Avoid being judgmental. Judging or patronizing people is a form of arrogance. Looking down on anyone or belittling others will not lift you up.
18. Do not hold grudges toward anyone. The longer you hold on to resentment, the more it becomes a toxin that hurts you rather than the object of your grudge.
19. Do not vent your frustration on others. Many of our frustrations belong to only us and are often self-inflicted. Constant venting can damage otherwise healthy relationships, even if your loved one doesn’t tell you that.
20. Avoid foul language. Name-calling or disparaging others are forms of bullying and verbal abuse. Indulging in harsh words can turn anyone off or create a serious rift.
21. Avoid gossiping. If you struggle with following this, imagine the person being present with you when you feel the urge to gossip about him or her. Even positive gossip is disrespectful, as it violates others’ privacy.
22. Keep your promise. Honor commitments. By keeping your word, you are showing the other person you value and respect them.
23. Respect time. Always be on time. Don’t waste others' time. Not being late for appointments, getting to the point fast, not talking and wasting time about useless topics– all show people that you respect their time.
24. Respect privacy and boundaries. Give others their much-needed space instead of being nosy. When two people are in a conversation, avoid interrupting; you can talk to them later.
25. Listen actively in a conversation. Don’t butt in, cut off, or speak over another person. Everyone needs to feel heard. When you are in conversation with someone, put down your phone and look at them. Show them they are important by listening to them.
26. Encourage others. If someone is having a bad day, a smile or a pep talk can go a long way to make their day.
27. If someone does something good, congratulate them. If you are in a higher position and one of your employees has done a great job, congratulate him or her openly. This will raise their morale and make them strive harder for better results.
28. Be fair. Most people have a sound definition of justice, whether they practice it or not. Give others what they deserve, even if it’s a word of appreciation or acknowledgment.
29. Be honest. When you are honest with others, it shows how much you care. It demonstrates your love and respect for them.
30. Ask for help. Asking for help doesn’t mean you don’t know what you are doing. It means you consider the other person’s opinion to be important. It can also strengthen the relationship by virtue of inclusion.
31. Apologize for your mistakes. Treat others well through your words and actions, and if you hurt them, own up and say you are sorry. Do not make excuses.
32. Be mindful of the tone and expression of your voice. Sarcasm or harshness is often interpreted as contempt. Always be respectful when discussing things with others.
33. When involved in a conflict, be willing to mediate. Allow everyone to state their position no matter how dire the conflict. Sometimes this simple process can create new solutions where there once seemed to be none.
34. Self-respect helps others respect you more. These two ideas work together, much like the flow of a conversation. By treating yourself and others with integrity, it is easier to feel confident in your choices. People will inevitably respect you more, contributing to true mutual respect in the relationship. (5)
- Dillon RS. Respect. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2018/entries/respect/. Published February 18, 2018.
- Hendrick SN, Hendrick C. Measuring respect in close relationships. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0265407506070471. Published December 1, 2006.
- Huo YJ, Binning KR. Why the Psychological Experience of Respect Matters in Group Life: An Integrative Account. Social and Personality Psychology Compass. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1751-9004.2008.00129.x/full. Published June 28, 2008.
- Lysaught MT. Respect: Or, How Respect for Persons Became Respect for ... Journal of Medicine and Philosophy. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/8136553. Published 2004.
- Roland CE, Foxx RM. Self-respect: A neglected concept. Taylor and Francis Online. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09515080307764. Published August 19, 2010.