I often ask couples whether they would prefer: love or respect, to generate meaningful conversations. They know as well as I do that we all want both, but what your partner prefers is an important aspect to know about them. Then I ask people how they know they are being shown respect by another.
How to gain respect is obvious but not always practiced. In short, we all gain respect from others by accepting their ideas without judgment. So how does a person know they are being shown respect? These are a few of their answers. If you apply them, you’ll gain more respect, virtually overnight.
More simply put, if you want respect, then show respect.
Asking for a person’s advice lets them know you honor what they have to think and say. It tells them that you put weight on their opinion, perhaps as much as you do your own. Sometimes even more so. When a person’s advice has value to you, especially when you asked for it, they feel respected.
If you interrupt a person while they are speaking, you’re inadvertently sending them the message that you weren’t listening. Cutting off a person while they’re speaking to you is disrespectful. You can’t fully listen to a person’s idea, and simultaneously be crafting your own response, or an argument, to their point-of-view. So they would be correct in not feeling heard. There’s no law that says you have to agree with what someone else is saying. But everyone deserves the respect of being listened to, without being interrupted or even immediately chased by a debate or even a differing response. Courtesy is respectful.
People are all entitled to their views, but you are not entitled to tell anyone they are wrong because they don’t see things the same way you do. Absolutely, state you point-of-view, of course. But people feel disrespected if you try to move them away from their opinion, to see things your way. You might as well just tell a person they’re wrong and you’re right. Not respectful.
Smart people are learners and therefore tend to ask good questions. Each time you ask a person a thought-provoking question, you are showing respect for them. It tells them you’re interested in knowing more about them, and that you’re curious to learn more.
Eye-contact is huge to a lot of people. Maybe that’s why Shakespeare wrote that, “The eyes are the window to your soul.” Looking into the eyes of a person will intuitively indicate that you are searching for a deeper and more personal understanding of who they are.
When you stand by your spouse’s decision, perhaps an unpopular one, it’s essential that you support their right to see things differently than others do. I’m not suggesting you adopt their opinion as your own, but I am recommending you stand by them to support their right to have different ideas.
True respect for another person, most importantly, is evident when you are accepting of their right to see things their own way. If you think about it, a person’s opinion really has nothing at all to do with yours. So just accept their position without judgment. You may find that you will then also be shown the same respect you showed your significant other, when you’re the one whose position is in the minority.