Jeremy Edge, LPC
Sep 5, 20194 min
Updated: Jun 30
Respect is something that carries a lot of power. It has the power to bring people together or tear them apart. Respect is something we all want but struggle to give especially in the online world. With the lack of real-life interactions of social media, it’s easy to feel disconnected. Disrespect can easily happen with online communication.
We all have a strong desire to be respected. It is one of the most important things to give and receive. We all know the pain from being disrespected and feeling validated from being respected. Giving respect has fantastic benefits.
Benefits of Respecting Others
1. Softens Hearts
We all get into conflicts with others. Either during a small argument or big blow-up, showing respect can change the course of a conflict.
Let’s say you don’t agree with your spouses’ political views. They said something that was offensive and frankly, ignorant. You say your opinion and express why they are wrong. Then your spouse ramps it up and starts yelling to make their point. This cycle usually continues and both are left feeling hurt, angry, and disconnected.
Interjecting a little respect can help change that scenario. You still don’t have to agree with your spouses’ political views and you don’t have to. Their personal beliefs are not a personal attack on you. But you both can show respect during that conversation.
Before you express your opinion on the matter, express where you think your spouse is coming from. Tell them what you hear them saying. Then express your perspective. Don’t go after why their perspective is dumb. Just express your perspective objectively.
This process helps your spouse feel heard and understood. You both may never agree on some topics and that’s okay. Showing respect for each other during these conversations is vital in maintaining a healthy relationship. Showing respect to someone you disagree with is hard. But doing so can help facilitate a positive conversation that does not end with one or both parties being hurt.
2. Better Listeners
Others are more inclined to listen when we show respect. Your point will be better received when we show respect to those around us.
Say you’re in a staff meeting. There are a lot of opinions flying around the room and you feel the tension rising. Using a kind tone of voice, reflecting other’s concerns, and objectively (without attacking anyone) expressing your opinion can help facilitate healthy discussions. While cutting others off mid-sentence and raising our voice is tempting when we feel others are not listening, it will do you no favors when trying to communicate your thoughts.
Communication is s two-way street. If you want others to listen to you, give respect.
3. Builds Relationships
One of the main points of showing respect to others is to build relationships. Showing respect looks like many different things but it all comes back to strengthening your relationship with others.
Here are different ways to show respect in-person and online.
In-Person Respect: Give Your Eyes, Ears, and Mind
When talking with someone in-person, look at them. This tells them you are paying attention. You’re communicating what they have to say is important. Looking at them when their talking also helps you listen better. We can read their facial features and focus more on them rather than distractions.
Giving them our ears means listening. Listen to what they have to say and hear what they are trying to communicate. What emotion are they expressing? If you're talking with someone who is speaking fast and gradually raising their voice, maybe they are really excited. Share what you are hearing them say and express. It’s not enough for us to just look at someone without really hearing what they are telling us.
Be open when talking with someone. Think about what the other person is saying. Be engaged and invested in the conversation on an intellectual level. Visualize what they are talking about and express yourself in a thoughtful way.
Giving your eyes, ears, and mind to others in conversations shows respect. Watch how others respond when you engage in these ways.
Online Respect: The Do’s and Don’ts of Online Communication
We miss out on body language, tone of voice, voice inflection, and voice volume when we communicate only through text online. Any type of text message can easily be misinterpreted. Therefore, it’s vital for us to make sure we are expressing respect in our words.
When communicating online, all you need to focus on is writing kind, respectful things. Writing a joke can be fun but it's hard to communicate sarcasm through text.
Don’t say anything online you would not say in real life. Use kind speech when talking with others online. If you need to have a serious conversation meet in person. Only use online communication for light, fun conversations.
Don’t write anything online you would not want your grandmother to read. Anything we write online has the potential to be read by anyone. Even though Snapchat deletes messages, screenshots can be taken.
Giving respect is a powerful tool. Use it to improve relationships around you on and offline today.
If you would like to work on respecting others on and offline, contact us to set up an appointment with a professional counselor.