How to Treat People With Respect

Two Parts:Learning the Basics of RespectRespecting Others through Actions

The key to treating people with respect is to treat them as you would like to be treated. When dealing with difficult people, seek to understand the root of their problems/disrespect toward you. Then you will be able to rise above the situation, and treat them well.

Part 1
Learning the Basics of Respect

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    Acknowledge each person's intrinsic value as a human being. No matter who they are, each person has an intrinsic value that must be recognized and respected by you. When you ignore someone's value as a human being, you basically erase their humanity and any respect that they should be allowed.
    • Denying a person's basic value as a human being is a tactic associated with racism, sexism, and other dehumanizing practices. To treat each person as having intrinsic value is a step towards eradicating such terrible treatment of others.
    • For example: When you're with a woman, don't treat her as if she's simply a prize to be won, a vessel to have sex with, or an empty slate for you to cast your ideas on. Instead, treat each woman as a human being who has intrinsic value and worth.
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    Allow others to maintain their dignity. This means, not only treating people as having intrinsic value, but also treating them in a way that allows them to maintain that sense of worth and well-being. Don't manipulate, exploit, or take advantage of others. And don't try to negatively tear them down.
    • Don't press unwanted sexual conduct on another person. For instance, don't ever send unsolicited naked pictures of yourself. Don't touch someone without first getting their consent, especially in a sexual area. And don't, absolutely don't, force someone to have sex with you, whether through manipulation, threatening, or intoxication.
    • Another example is, instead of ridiculing the poor as "lazy" or "stupid," educate yourself about the things that can cause poverty, such as: the biased education system that fast-tracks middle income and rich kids and leaves the poor kids in the dust. Educate yourself on what lack of sleep and proper nutrition does to a person, so that you can have compassion on them instead of be prejudiced against them.
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    Acknowledge each person's personal autonomy. This means allowing people to make their own choices, and to trust them to know what this means. Of course, you can give advice or offer your help, but remember, in the end, each person has to make decisions for themselves and be their own person.[1]
    • If you run into someone who is in a wheelchair and they are opening a door, offer your assistance, but only as the person in the wheelchair directs. Don't simply grab the door or the wheelchair in an attempt to help them. Likewise, if they decline your offer of assistance, say "no problem" and go on your way.
    • This is true even for children. It is important to offer them opportunities to have a say in decision-making, especially decisions that affect them. It teaches them that you both trust and respect them.
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    Consider each person to be of equal worth to yourself. It is important to remember that each individual has as much worth as you do, and that you should treat each person with the same respect that you yourself would like to be treated. This is often referred to "The Golden Rule." This means that you should not do something to someone that you yourself wouldn't want done to you.
    • It is also worth remembering that just because you believe in something, everyone else is not obligated to believe that same thing. For example: if you're a vegan, that's great, but acting as if that makes you somehow better than other people (who may not have access to the types of food that make veganism possible, or because of their diet issues) is rude and disrespectful.
    • Likewise, if you're a religious individual, and you start condemning people who do not share your religious viewpoints, you are being disrespectful to those people you are condemning. If you want to share your views with them, do this with gentleness and respect.
    • No matter what your own beliefs are, intolerance, prejudice, and discrimination are always disrespectful.

Part 2
Respecting Others through Actions

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    Practice self-respect. Because you want to respect others as you would hope to be respected, it is incredibly important that you extend to yourself the same respect and courtesy that you would extend to another person.[2]
    • If you're thinking something along the lines of, "I'm selfish if I don't spend all my time helping other people," reframe that thought into something like, "By allowing time to myself, I can take better care of other people."
    • If someone is disrespecting you and not seeing your intrinsic value as a person, you have the right to call them out on it. If someone says something discriminatory or cruel, speak up. Tell them what you found to be disrespectful and why.
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    Really listen. A lot of people don't listen very well, because they're distracted, checking their phone, or thinking about the next thing that they are going to say. Learn to "really" listen when other people speak.
    • Look people in the eye when they're talking to you. Don't let your gaze dart all over the room, or they will feel that you aren't really listening to what they are saying,
    • Pay attention as they are talking. Keep your phone off, or on silent. If you find that your mind has wandered, ask them to repeat what they just said, so that you can be actively involved again in the conversation.
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    Treat other people's ideas with due consideration. This means listening to another person's ideas, opinions, and advice with an open mind. Even if you don't necessarily agree with them, give them the benefit of thinking about what they have said.[3]
    • For example, if a coworker approaches you with an idea that you think is completely off the wall, or unworkable, give them the benefit of listening to their idea and weighing the pros and cons. You might be surprised.
    • Now, if someone's ideas are disrespectful or harmful (like they present racist or sexist views, for example) you are under no obligation to listen to them and should, if you can, let them know that they are presenting disrespectful views.
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    Don't intrude on the time and privacy of others. Time is something that we don't have a lot of in the modern era. Make sure that it's really necessary that you invade someone's privacy, before you try to. An example would be like the house is burning down, or there's been an accident etc.
    • If someone is reading in a public place, such as a coffee shop, public transport, or at the park, don't interrupt their reading time, especially if they have headphones in.
    • If you share a house with someone, check in with them before inviting a bunch of people over, and ask them for their permission first.
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    Be mindful of your words. The little children's rhyme about sticks and stones is completely not true. Words are "very" powerful and they can be incredibly disrespectful if used improperly. Think carefully about what you're going to say, and to whom. Otherwise you might hurt someone.[4]
    • Use the term "someone with a physical disability" rather than words like "crippled," "lame," or "deformed." This way you are not defining a person by their physical or mental disability.
    • Another good thing to remember is that a word like "gypsy" has a derogatory meaning towards the Romani people and is really unacceptable to use.
    • Even using a word like "girl" or "chick" to describe a woman above the age of 18 is infantilizing and disrespectful.
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    Cultivate good manners. This is as simple as saying "thank you" and "please" when you're requesting something from another person. It shows that you respect the time and effort that it will take for them to help you, and it will allow them to feel respected.[5]
    • Another example of showing manners is to not interrupt a conversation. If you have something to say, wait until the appropriate time to jump in.


  • You don't have to like someone to treat them with respect. You simply have to acknowledge their basic worth as a human being, no matter who they are.
  • Don't be bullied, hurt, a doormat or the like. When someone abuses you or is cruel to you, they are not respecting you.
  • You have a right, in spite of other peoples judgment's, or opinions, to not feel intimated, belittled, or afraid. Promptly exit the situation if this is a need.

* In order for our communities, homes, schools, business, world and selves to be of respect... we must practice it daily, in our daily lives everywhere. To ourselves, and to one another.

  • Think, be, teach and walk in a manner always, with peace in your hearts. Like the golden rule: do unto others as you would do unto yourselves.
  • Finally, remember to respect yourself. The world and all living things.

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Categories: Social Interactions