“R-E-S-P-E-C-T; Find out what it means to me! R-E-S-P-E-C-T! Take care, TCB! Oh sock it to me, sock it to me, sock it to me, sock it to me (A little respect) sock it to me, sock it to me, sock it to me, sock it to me…” Belt it out, Aretha!
Okay, sorry, but I’ve got to rant about this: As far as I’m concerned, there is only one trait that demonstrates if people truly are decent, classy human beings who care about their fellow man: and that is how we show R-E-S-P-E-C-T towards the other people in our lives. Yep, the ways we consistently behave towards the people around us says so much more about “Who we are” as people than our clothes, careers, cars or exquisite taste in smelly soft, unripened cheeses and fine wines… and like taking the time to let a fine red breathe so as to bring out the best in it, taking the time to show respect to people also brings out the best in us; such acts say “You are important to me” and “I care about you as a person”.
On the flip side, NOT showing respect says exactly the opposite about us, and frankly, more often than not makes us look like total jerks; we know this from every time someone slammed a door in our face, cut us off in traffic, or left a mess for us to clean up, right? Being disrespectful alienates great people from our lives, and honestly, who wants that? So the questions are these: (a) What impression do YOU want to leave on the people you come in contact with, and (b) what are you prepared to do about it?
We All Want To Be Respected, Right?
These days getting respect from other people seems to be harder than ever; there are so many distractions that take away our attention, and it seems like the little things – the respectful things – seem to get easily forgotten or lost. All I’m suggesting is that putting a bit more emphasis on the people in front of us rather than on whatever form of personal gratification has our attention at the moment (I’m talking to you, iPhones and BB’s addicts) will help us become better, kinder and – wait for it – more respectful people – the kind of people that others will want to be around; because we all want to be shown respect from other people, am I right? Because if we ever feel we aren’t getting the respect we deserve, the question we need to ask ourselves is are we giving it out first? Because without the given’ there won’t be no gettin’!
It’s true; and like most things, R-E-S-P-E-C-T is a reciprocal act that works most effectively when treated as a two way street; unfortunately, many people mess up this idea and think “Well, if they GAVE me some respect first, then I’d GIVE them some back”. This thinking is about as logical as saying to a fireplace “If you give me some heat, THEN I’ll give you some wood”. Brainiacs who use this logic usually wind up cold, pissed off and lonely, unaware that a simple change in their attitude and behaviour could turn it all around; besides, if they are talking to empty fireplaces I’d be a weary of them anyway! All I’m saying is that if a few simple changes/steps/habits were followed/practiced/adhered to, for the sole purpose of demonstrating respect for others, the impact would be incredible.
Try these things and be amazed by how people appreciate them, and how they treat you in return. In other words, “Give ’em wood!”
- When you are talking with people one on one, focus on them, and only them. Make eye contact, listen to what they say, then respond without interrupting them first
- Honor every commitment you make, even if you don’t feel like it. Make sure you verbalize to them once you’ve completed your task
- Be on time, or better yet, be early for appointments. Don’t be fooled by their kind comments of “Don’t worry”, or “It’s okay”, because it’s not okay; People don’t like it when others are late to a scheduled appointment; it’s rude and unthoughtful
- Be kind to everyone around you, and offer to help out strangers (within reason) when you can
- Open doors for ladies; actually, for anyone who needs it, like the guy leaving the store with his hands full. Smile and say “I’ll get that for you”
- Always say “Hello” and “Thank-you” to everyone who serves you; I mean everyone. It doesn’t matter how much of a hurry you are in, the counterperson at McDonalds and Barista at Starbucks are people who appreciate this small kindness
- Don’t procrastinate when it affects other people’s lives, jobs, etc. It’s not fair to them, and you wouldn’t appreciate it if the shoe was on the other foot
- Don’t say “I was just going to” when you really weren’t going to do something
- Offer to help out when nobody else will, even on the unpleasant tasks… (“Okay, I’ll clean out the toilets first…”)
- Smile and say “How can I help?” when people are struggling to make their lives work. This alone is a true mark of a champion
- And finally, my biggest pet peeve: When sitting with friends in a social setting, put. the. damn. phone. AWAY. – Seriously, if the person on the other end of your iPhone really cared about you, they’d be there too; they aren’t, and I am, so put you phone away, or I’ll go home, curl up on my couch, eat ice cream and watch movies that don’t pause every 5 minutes to see if there’s a better viewer they could be playing for… How’s that for a metaphor?
Try any or all of these 11 simple things and be amazed at the reactions people give you for your being respectful towards them; they’ll probably treat you a lot better than if you were all pissed off and babbling away into an empty fireplace, that’s for sure! The bottom line is this: If you give respect, you’ll get respect; and because of this you’ll make the world a little bit better. Heck, I’m sure that unicorns and kittens will be eating ice cream and pooping rainbows somewhere because of your efforts… And with that off my chest, I’ll finish up with “Take us home, Aretha!”
Readers: What are your favourite methods for making others feel important, special or respected? Please share them with us in the comments below!