While respect must be second nature for us, there seems to be a lack of it in our world today. It’s overdue for a comeback. Everyone needs it, and as our society goes, we have to be respectful of others before we expect to be respected. Respect is an emotional commodity exchanged between people. If two people have respect for one another, they can have a better, conflict-less relationship. This goes for every relationship – in the family, between friends, partners, or in the workplace or business world.
If you need to build better relationships, the first step is to respect the other person. Only then can you establish mutual trust. Here are helpful ways to be respectful to others:
Remember the golden rule
Do unto others what you would want others to do unto you. In other words, it means, treat others the way you want to be treated. It basically summarizes the idea of respect.
Treat others as if they can be your future boss
No matter where you are, where you live, or what you do for a living, you exist in a much smaller bubble than you think. You may never know where life can take you and bring you to meet. Because of this, be careful how you treat everyone – subordinates, co-workers, clients – as if one day they will become your boss because you’ll never know, they could be. This will prevent you from doing untoward actions or any form of disrespect towards them.
Always choose to see the good in everyone
You may not always see a person’s good side, but it’s there. Believe that every person can provide some kind of value even if it’s not obvious. Trust that each one has redeeming qualities that would delight you or even inspire you if you only knew more about it.
Acknowledge that everyone is special
Recognize that every person came from a different place, different upbringing, different educational backgrounds – but they can all bring large amounts of wisdom and experience with them. Some were fortunate enough to be born into money, while others need to work their tails off to be successful. The world isn’t fair, and good fortune isn’t equally distributed, but everyone has something special to bring to the table. Everyone knows something you don’t; some people can do things you can’t. If you can’t respect each person you come into contact with for that reason, you’re not respecting humanity’s greatest gift.
Listen to other people
Listening is the key to successful communication. People want to be heard. If someone is speaking, listen. It makes a person feel that we are interested in their ideas, and it’s how we can understand the person. Do not interrupt a person when he is speaking. Maintain eye contact and don’t look bored as it will seem rude. Give the courtesy of listening first and thinking about what they’ve said before responding or dismissing their statement.
When you give another person your time and focus as you listen, you validate them, and it conveys respect. Until you learn to listen to a person, you cannot build a relationship with them, know who they are, or understand what’s important to them.
Saying “thank you” is a basic manner that we must not take for granted. Human beings crave appreciation, so thankfulness is the way to affirm it. When someone helps you, gives you something, does something beneficial for you, or affirms you, don’t forget to thank them. Let them know that their efforts, actions, and gifts are appreciated. Thanking is not just about expressing gratitude, but it also shows people that you respect, letting them know that their efforts were not put to waste in doing something for them.
Think before you speak
If you’re looking for an effective way to show respect, know the importance of speaking at the right time. Always take some time to pause and analyze your thoughts and how it will affect the hearer. There’s nothing wrong about disagreeing with the other person, but you can do it without insulting, belittling, or being disdainful towards another.
It’s easy to be polite, but this age, it seems to be rapidly becoming a lost art. Just look at the highway, the streets, the grocery store, in the parking lot, or on the Internet – polite interactions rarely happen. Politeness is a virtue, and it goes hand in hand with basic good manners and etiquette. Practice being respectful to everyone, not just the people you know. Showing respect starts by being polite.
Kindness and courtesy are the basics of respect, and you must show it to others if you consider yourself a reasonable and respectful human being. Once you stop focusing on yourself and putting others’ needs into consideration, you become a respectful person. When we are kind to someone, we’re giving them something they need or, at least, making their day better.
Be considerate of other people’s time
If you made plans with friends at 8 PM or set up a meeting with clients at 9 AM, be there. People will appreciate it when you show on time, and wasting their time waiting for you is a sign of disrespect. Also, if you’re given an hour to speak for class, a seminar, or any engagement, be mindful not to exceed the time limit, as other people may need to do something else or be anywhere else right after that. When you’re at a party, don’t overstay your welcome to give respect to the homeowner. Time is a valuable resource to humans, so make sure you are not wasting others’ time by being considerate and mindful.
Make decisions based on what is right, not who or what you like
Always weigh the pros and cons of the choices you make, thinking about what is right and what will lead to the best outcome for all the people involved. Sometimes it may take guts to stand up and support the less popular view, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing. There might be people who will be poorly affected due to your biased decision-making, which is not respectful of their feelings and situations.
If you respect a person, you know that they deserve the truth. Lying does not result in anything good. Being honest and truthful about how you feel will be appreciated. However, there’s a difference between honesty and tactlessness. Think of the words you want to say first. Be honest, but don’t use it to be rude and hurtful to others.
Be willing to change
We all have strengths and weaknesses. If you know that you need to adjust in an aspect of your behavior, thinking, or character, be willing to adapt. Remember that stubborn nature can be a downfall, so it’s better to make an effort to change or try something new to enhance yourself, which will benefit others as well. Let go of bad habits, anger, grudges, and negative emotions because it can cause mental harm and may destroy you. Learn to move on and forgive others’ transgressions. If you’re the one who was in the wrong, accept that you can’t undo your past, but make sure the same mistake will not be repeated. This is a great way to respect yourself and respect the people around you.
Admit your mistakes
It’s impossible not to hurt a single person in the course of your life. You may have done something wrong, so recognize it, admit your errors, and apologize sincerely for it. It shows that you respect the person you’ve hurt. Justifying wrong actions and making the same mistake all over again will make you lose the respect of others.
Do not abuse your power
If you’re in a position of leadership or authority, do not abuse it. Do not talk disrespectfully or take your group or organization’s time and resources for personal gain. Be polite, kind, and courteous to anyone, irrespective of their position. A true leader knows how to make a viable effort in taking everyone with him without belittling them or demeaning their efforts.