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How to Show Respect

Four Methods:Respecting EffortsRespecting OpinionsRespecting YourselfRespecting "Enemies"

Showing other people respect is a critical part of maintaining important personal relationships. Learning to respect people's efforts, abilities, opinions, and quirks will help keep you happy and successful in your interpersonal life. Respecting yourself can help you move forward with the confidence to make a habit of respect and share it with the people around you.

Method 1
Respecting Efforts

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    Show gratitude. Thank people for their assistance and their support on a regular basis. It's important to remember all the people who've helped you on your journey. Show respect by saying thanks. Even if there's not an obvious occasion for thanks, showing it regularly will mean a lot to people. Send letters, calls, emails and texts to people you've lost touch with. It doesn't need to take more than a few minutes to express yourself. Remember to thank your:
    • Parents
    • Siblings
    • Co-workers
    • Classmates
    • Friends
    • Teachers
    • Neighbors
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    Compliment the achievements of others. When others are successful, draw attention to it and celebrate their ability and their achievement. Learn to recognize when other people put forth extra effort and achieve something and praise them for it with sincerity. Take them aside and do it in private, so your compliments will seem genuine.
    • Instead of making your first reaction, "Why didn't that happen to me?" try saying "That's so great for them!" Keeping a positive attitude will focus attention away from yourself and spread goodwill.
    • If someone you respect seems to be having a rough time, or seems to have less to compliment than others, make an extra effort to compliment their effort, their attitude, or other positive attributes.
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    Be sincere. While it's important to thank people and praise others, most people don't usually respect brown-nosing. Be genuine in your thanks and in showing your respect to other people's effort. Speak from the heart.
    • Even something as simple as "It's always good to see you" can mean a lot and show lots of respect. It doesn't need to be complicated.
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    Do what you say you'll do. If you commit to an event or make plans with someone, come through on your end of the deal. Being reliable shows respect for people's time, and shows that you're making a special effort to be there for them. Respect other people's efforts by being on time, being prepared, and being enthusiastic.
    • Always come to work, school, or sports practice ready to go. Have your materials in order and complete all the necessary work ahead of time. You'll show respect for others by not wasting their time.
    • It can seem like telling someone "No" will be disrespectful, but you've also got to learn to be consistent and realistic with your abilities. It's hard to respect flakiness.
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    Offer your assistance. Go out of your way to help people when it seems like they need it, especially if it isn't required of you. Volunteer to help your friend move, or stay late to help clean up after school events. Go above and beyond. Even helping your little brother with his homework or helping your dad clean the yard without being asked shows a tremendous amount of respect.
    • If it seems like one of your friends or neighbors is feeling down or going through a rough patch, give them the encouragement that they might need. Learning to say, "You've got this" can make all the difference in the world for someone who might be struggling.
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    Respect the abilities of others. Offering too much help can sometimes be disrespectful. Sometimes, it's also smart to take a step back and let other people prove themselves and take care of manageable situations or problems on their own.
    • Try to recognize when someone is capable of doing something on his or her own and mind your own business to show that person the respect he or she deserves. There's a big difference between offering to help someone emotionally when he or she is going through a bad break-up and insisting on helping someone make cereal.

Method 2
Respecting Opinions

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    Be a good listener. Practice active listening to show people that you have respect for their opinions and ideas. Watch and be quiet when someone else is talking and spend time thinking actively about what they're saying.
    • Too often, we wait to talk instead of really listening to other people's ideas. Even if you think you disagree, try to consider the point of view and empathize with it before responding. You're showing respect to the person by hearing them out and letting them make their own case. You might be surprised.
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    Ask lots of questions. To show respect for other peoples' opinions, question them. Ask open-ended, leading questions that show you're fully engaged with their ideas and that you're listening closely. Questioning doesn't mean that you're trying to poke holes in their story, or that you don't believe them. Ask for more when it seems like they might have more to give.
    • Instead of asking for more details, ask about how someone feels about a particular topic. If someone's telling a story, ask "How'd you feel afterwards?" Even if you think you know, let them tell you. Let them make their own case.
    • Learn to spread the wealth. If it seems like someone isn't talking much in a group conversation, ask them a specific question to open the door for communication. You don't need to draw attention to it by saying something like, "You're awfully quiet, Steve" just say, "Steve, what did you think of the Super Bowl?"
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    Learn about the perspectives of others. Learning to empathize with other people who have very different experiences and perspectives than your own will help you learn to show respect. Be proud of your own opinions and perspectives, but don't assume everyone feels the same way and avoid putting them in an awkward position. Temper your attitudes and learn where people are coming from before you share your opinions so you can know how to respond.
    • While it might seem easy to make a casual comment about how "dumb" football is in a mixed group, you can never know if someone's recently-deceased grandfather made a living as a ref and loved the sport dearly.
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    Pick your battles. Sometimes it shows respect to speak up and voice your opinion, as a way of respecting the intelligence of others. On the other hand, sometimes it's better to hold back on your opinions and avoid unnecessary arguments that raise tempers. Showing respect
    • Try softening your arguments the first time you bring something up. If you think college football is a vicious and disgusting money trench, package that message in a respectful way and voice it, even if others will disagree: "It worries me that so much money is funneled into student athletes at the expense of other more important things. What do you think?" Show respect for their opinion by sharing your own and listening to their argument.
    • Perhaps there's little use in arguing with your great uncle about gay marriage for the umpteenth time. Will it be worth it to bring it up at the dinner table?
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    Respectfully disagree. When you have to dissent, do it calmly and by treating your conversation with tact. Respect the perspective of the other person. Don't insult their opinion or ideas, even if you disagree with them.
    • Try to acknowledge common ground before adding your disagreement. Straight with praise and then move to your addition to the conversation. Even something as simple as "That's a good point. I think I'm seeing it a little differently though..." does the trick in lightening your disagreement.
    • Be specific with your critique, avoiding simple or insulting language like "You're wrong" or "That's dumb."

Method 3
Respecting Yourself

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    Take care of yourself. To show respect for yourself, Try to give yourself the same consideration that you give everyone else. Don't short-change your own ideas and wants at the expense of others. You're worth it.
    • Know when to ask for help. Have respect for your own abilities and skills, but learn to recognize when you're out of your element. Don't make it harder on yourself than you need to.
    • Treat yourself to well-deserved trips and gifts every now and again. Spend time with your friends and do fun things in your free time.
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    Avoid self-destructive behaviors. Drinking to excess on a regular basis or habitually self-deprecating yourself will tear you down in mind and body. Try to work actively to build yourself up and surround yourself with encouraging, enlightening, helpful people.
    • Are your friends the kind of people you want to be around? Do they ever criticize you or Try to keep you down? Consider moving on.
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    Stay healthy. Make regular visits to the doctor to make sure you're healthy and fit. Take care of health problems as soon as they arise and don't put off "bad news." Avoiding the doctor's office because you don't like it isn't showing respect for yourself and your own well-being.
    • Exercise regularly and eat well. Start developing easy routines, even walking a few miles a day or doing some light stretches to get in touch with your body and maintain it. Cut out junk foods and eat a variety of nourishing foods.
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    Stand up for yourself. When you want something, go out and get it. Don't let your fear about stepping on toes get in the way of making things happen that will better your life and achieve something positive for yourself. If you've got an opinion, share it. If you want to change jobs, start a band, or take up acting in your 40s, do it. Make a decision and follow through.
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    Be ambitious. We all get caught in ruts, many of them of our own making. Develop plans for yourself and specific steps for carrying them out. Plot an upward trajectory for yourself to keep yourself moving forward in life and staying satisfied. Show respect for yourself by being the best version of yourself you can be.
    • Consider making a five-year plan to get where you want to go. If you're a student, what are your college plans? Your after college plans? How might you realistically achieve those goals?
    • If you're in the working world, are you happy in your job? Are you doing what you love? What would it take to get paid for your passion? How long would it take to make it happen? Is it possible? Answer these questions honestly and specifically to develop a plan of success.

Method 4
Respecting "Enemies"

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    Don't judge people before you get to know them. Give people the benefit of the doubt, even people of whom you might have a bad first impression. Everyone is fighting a big fight. Assume they have good reasons for being the way they are, doing what they do, and believing what they believe.fgh
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    Decide to like people. It's too easy to come up with reasons to dislike someone, to disrespect someone, or to dismiss them. Instead, look for the spark and the warmth in people. Decide to like them, and it'll be much easier to show respect.
    • Translate a person's quirks into strengths to help change your attitude. Instead of thinking, "That person is mouthy and egotistical" say "That person really speaks her mind. I like that spark."
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    If you can't say anything nice...well, you know. Keep a lid on it sometimes. Learn to distinguish between confrontations that need to happen and silly arguments. You'll keep yourself sane and earn the respect of others by learning to keep quiet. Don't get dragged into the muck.
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    Worry about your own backyard. Don't get mixed up in other peoples' business and create unnecessary enemies. Busybodies make quick enemies, usually because there's not enough going on to keep them occupied. Stay busy and keep your life full of interesting and engaging activities so you don't have the time and energy to worry about what your neighbors are doing, or how your classmates are doing on their homework.
    • Take up new hobbies and spend less time on Facebook. Getting your stalk on is a good time filler, but it can breed resentments and jealousies where none need be.
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    Reach out. Giving people you don't like the cold shoulder may be the easiest way to avoid confrontations, but it can also be cruel and rude, especially in school or at work where everyone likes to feel included. You don't have to be best friends, but respect people by including them.
    • Aim for at least one friendly attempt with people you don't especially like. "How are you today?" will at least show that you're trying. You might even change the way you feel.

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