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The Importance of Respect in Relationships and the Workplace

The late Aretha Franklin’s signature song “Respect” has some good advice for all of us. We all need respect-and we need to show respect to other people. Everyday, we see a lack of civility and respect – at the supermarket, on the road, in the workplace, and even at home.     

Respect means you have due regard for how another person feels and their belief systems. You observe and acknowledge their opinions and interests, even if you don’t agree with them.

You should treat everyone with courtesy and respect, but you’ll treat some people with more respect than others as you get to know them better. An honest person deserves more respect than a liar. A hard-working person deserves more respect than a lazy one, and so on.  Don’t offer more than basic courtesy to people who consistently act rude or disrespectful to you and others.

Respect means being honest with friends, relatives and co-workers.  Avoiding unpleasant conversations or leading someone to believe something that isn’t true because you’re afraid of confrontation is disrespectful.

Disrespect means you have no regard for another person’s time, physical space, beliefs or opinions. A person who always has to be right, and will never let anyone else win an argument shows a lack of respect for the other person.  Someone who peeks into another person’s journal, text messages, or phone messages has no respect for boundaries.

You may not mean to be disrespectful. Many times, people are so wrapped up in their own problems they don’t think about how their words and actions affect others. Take time to listen and respond to others with patience and respect, even if you are busy.

When people are treated with respect, they will respond better to your requests, and  it will increase honesty, trust, and improve communication.


How Respect Improves Your Relationships

You can’t have a happy, long-term relationship with your partner unless there’s mutual respect. Help your relationship to grow by showing respect in both big and small ways daily.  

Listen to your partner’s concerns or problems. Even if you’ve known your Significant Other a long time, you can still take a few minutes each day to hear about their new project at work or other events in their lives. Ask them questions or give constructive advice.

If your partner asks for a favor from you, be upfront about whether you can help them or not. You may be able to work out a compromise if your partner needs a ride to a doctor’s appointment while you’re working. You may be able to take a longer lunch, or your partner may be able to change the appointment time.   

A sense of humor can strengthen the bond between most couples. Couples who share the same sense of humor also usually share some of the same interests. They will be more likely to have a friendship as the basis for their relationships. Couples who are friends first tend to have more respect for each other.

Couples who have nothing in common except for romance and raising a family may have little to say to each other when those subjects are out of the equation. When you have a partner who isn’t a friend, you miss out on a lot of fun and mutual respect. It’s harder to see your partner as a fully-formed, independent individual if you have no shared outside interests.

When your partner makes a mistake, be reassuring and tell him or her to look at it as a learning experience. Don’t resort to name-calling or harsh criticism. Anger won’t undo the mistake or its repercussions. Instead, think about how to repair the damage and move forward.

Let your partner know if you have an issue with something they’ve has said or done. Be direct, but don’t be angry. Let your partner know why you are upset and try to diffuse the situation. If discussing the situation won’t resolve it, it may be best to give each other space to cool down for a few minutes or a few hours.  

If you find yourself canceling plans with a friend or love interest, take a few minutes to think about why that’s happening. Are you too busy with responsibilities, but afraid to say no and harm the relationship?  Canceling at the last minute or not showing up is worse than saying no in the first place.

If you’re canceling because you’ve lost interest in the relationship, be honest with yourself and the other person. Set a date to talk with them in person and tell them why you’ve been avoiding them. Yes, it’s harder to break up with a love interest or a friend face-to-face than by text, but it shows more respect.

No one wants to be dumped, but if you disappear and don’t answer texts or phone calls it will send the message that you are so disinterested in them you don’t want to see or contact them in any way. And they may even think that you’re sick or something bad has happened to you and make more attempts to contact you.

 Respect and Civility in the Workplace

When you are at work, be aware that your co-workers are living, breathing human beings. Co-workers and bosses have families, children, money problems, health problems, hobbies, and dreams just like you do.

Too many people talk about co-workers like they’re enemies. They aren’t your enemies, but they aren’t necessarily your friends, either. However, your boss and co-workers are on the same team as you, with the same workday goals.

Respect in the workplace is all about good communication and living in the moment. Don’t worry about what a co-worker or supervisor might do, what they are thinking, or what they’ve done in the past. Don’t gossip. Observe what’s going on and deal with any potentially troubling situation now, not later.

Treat all your co-workers with kindness and courtesy, even if they don’t do the same to you.

Instead of getting angry, deal with any mistakes or problems logically. Difficult co-workers or supervisors may expect you to back down and become frightened by their anger, or retaliate with harsh words. Don’t give in to bullies; instead stand your ground and remain calm. The focus should be on resolving the situation.   

Let co-workers express their opinions about group projects. Don’t assume that you (or anyone else) is the leader unless one has been appointed by a supervisor.  Decide democratically if there should be a team leader and who it should be.

Your body language and tone of voice is just as important as your words. People will pick up if you’re tired, angry or bored by the volume and inflection of your voice. Smile (in a natural way), nod at the points your co-worker makes, and face the person, giving them full attention as they speak.

Do not fiddle with anything on your desk or rustle papers when you talk to someone at work, or if you are speaking with them over the phone. They will notice it and assume the conversation isn’t important to you.   

We’ve all worked with whiners, complainers and bullies occasionally, and it’s tiresome and frustrating. Take care to avoid falling into these negative patterns when dealing with co-workers. Don’t criticize people over little things, or belittle their ideas. Use constructive criticism if you disagree with their way of doing things, or ask a supervisor or third party to add their opinion to the mix.    

Treat everyone fairly, regardless of their job title, age, religion, gender, sexual orientation, race or weight. Treating people from one group fairly and minimizing others can be construed as harassment.

Invite all workers to attend meetings, social events and training for their particular departments. Give everyone an opportunity to participate in activities and discussions that will improve their daily work.

How Can I Tell if My Co-Workers Respect Me?

There are many ways you can tell if a boss or co-worker respects you. When someone listens to your questions and asks you to clarify or expand on certain points, they take you seriously and respect you. Their tone of voice also lets you know that they are interested – a calm but enthusiastic tone of voice vs. one that’s sharp and dismissive.

An organization that respects their employees will give workers advance notice about policy changes, fair performance reviews, and regular raises and promotions for excellent work.

If you feel your supervisor is treating you unfairly, don’t go home and complain about it to your family and fume silently at work. Standing up for yourself (in a calm and logical manner) will make your boss and co-workers respect you. They’ll be less likely to ignore you or take advantage of you if you are honest and forthright with them.   

Unfortunately, many companies and supervisors rule their organizations with fear tactics, which ultimately cause employees to quit or do substandard work. If you work for this type of company you should look for a job with a business that appreciates and respects employees.

How to Get More Respect

Always do what is right and fair in a given situation, even if it will make things a little more difficult for you. During meetings or personal conversations, speak up for the right thing even when others won’t do it.

People who say self-deprecating things or who don’t participate in discussions or meetings are more likely to be ignored or treated in a condescending manner. If someone doesn’t show initiative, others may figure the person is lazy, even if the person is actually shy or anxious.  Work on your personality (with the help of a friend or therapist, if necessary) to overcome anxiety or shyness that interferes with your self-respect.

Do what you need to do at work or at home without having to be reminded. People will respect you more if you take initiative in chores and projects.

Other people will respect you if you show them courtesy and respect. Respect works both ways. If you are rude to people or ignore them, they will not want to deal with you in the future.


What is Self- Respect?

You can’t get respect from others unless you respect yourself. Exhibit excellent work habits, and treat yourself well without being overindulgent. Take care of your health, physical appearance and surroundings. This doesn’t mean you have to be a fashionplate; just keep yourself in good physical condition and keep your house and work area organized and clean. If you show people that you believe you are important, they will be more likely to treat you with respect.

Here are some ways you can work on your self-respect:

  • Eat healthy foods and exercise. When you feel good, you will have a better attitude and be less apt to be angry, nervous or depressed.
  • Be honest with yourself and others. Take time out to think about your relationships at work and at home and constructively address any issues that are causing problems.
  • Take responsibility for your own actions. Blaming your actions on your partner, boss or a “bad childhood” will make you seem weak in other people’s eyes. If you’ve done something wrong admit, and try to repair the damage. Apologize if what you’ve done has hurt someone else.
  • Have friends and acquaintances who are worthy of you. There is truth in the Booker T. Washington quote, “Associate yourself with people of good quality, for it is better to be alone than in bad company.”

Good Health Helps You Get More Respect

When you devote time to taking care of your health by eating right, exercising and getting enough sleep, you’re demonstrating self-respect. Self-respect and good emotional health helps you show more respect to others and communicate well.

A good diet of fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, fish, beans and lean meat will keep you trim and energetic. Add Happy Girl Mood-Enhancing, a daily wheatgrass supplement for emotional balance, to your regimen to stay focused.

Happy Girl is made with 100% pure wheatgrass, which provides you with hundreds of vitamin, amino acids, minerals and enzymes.  You’ll get more nutrients than in a multi-vitamin, plus an herbal blend containing goldenseal, green tea extract, cayenne pepper, ginger and other herbs to help you stay energized and balance your mood.

Learn more about Happy Girl and other Wheatgrass Love products here.

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