So lately respect has been a big topic of discussion in my house. This got me thinking about how I’ve encountered a lot of people lately who really don’t understand the basics of respecting others. I figured I would just give a little reminder of a few of the things that you should be doing if you’re being a respectful and reasonable human being.
1. Don’t talk over people
I don’t care if you think you have the most absolute important thing to say ever. Unless you’re dying, there’s no reason to talk over other people. You’re only being rude and disrespectful. Soon enough people aren’t even going to want to talk to you. Wait until the other person is done talking and then feel free to say whatever it is you want to say.
2. Always say please and thank you
Now, this should be a pretty obvious one. And yet, this is my biggest pet peeve. Even the small children I work with have basically mastered this one, but a lot of the adults I know can’t seem to grasp this concept. You say please when you ask someone for something or you need help and you say thank you afterwards. I promise, it’s super simple.
3. Respect boundaries
A lot of people really don’t like other people being in their personal space. Again, kind of obvious, but a big issue for a lot of people. Unless someone invites you into their personal space, there is no reason to be standing obscenely close to them or talking right in their face. Basic rule of thumb: unless you’re very friendly with this person, don’t assume they want you in their personal space.
4. Be aware of who you’re talking with
When I say this, I mean be aware that they’re also a person and that they deserve respect. But I also mean that you should pay attention to what you’re saying. If you know there is a topic that makes someone uncomfortable to talk about, don’t purposely bring it up. And if you offend someone, apologize. Which actually relates to my next point.
5. Apologize when you’re wrong
This seems to be a hard pill for people to swallow, but you’re not always right. And when you’re wrong, it’s so important that you apologize. But it has to be a real apology, not something like, “I’m sorry you feel that way, but…” because that’s not a real apology. That is essentially you minimizing the way the other person feels and not actually an apology. A better option would be, “I’m sorry that I made you feel that way.” However you decide to go about it, I know that you can do it. Just be sincere.
This is obviously not a comprehensive list, just the basics. I think you’ll find that being more conscious of these things will improve your interactions with people. So go forth and be a civilized human being. Maybe remind some of the people in your life of these fundamental social skills and we may be living in a better world soon enough.