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..to think 'respect' should be a given until it is lost?

(38 Posts)
CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 15-Aug-11 09:17:58

A lot of talk about buzzword 'respect' at the moment and the idea that it somehow has to be earned. I think that sounds rather arrogant. Anyone we come into contact with deserves to be treated with respect as a default - comon courtesy, good manners etc. - and that only changes if they do or say something to lose our respect. 'Treat others as you would expect to be treated'

AIBU?

pjmama Mon 15-Aug-11 09:20:02

No, I absolutely agree with you.

TrillianAstra Mon 15-Aug-11 09:20:44

There's respect and respect, isn't there?

People should by default be treated politely.

But respect for their opinions, for example, should be earned.

TheMagnificentBathykolpian Mon 15-Aug-11 09:21:16

I agree with you. Basic common courtesy should be given to all people, until they show themselves unworthy.

I think when people talk about earning respect, they mean deference. Nobody deserves that without really earning it.

troisgarcons Mon 15-Aug-11 09:21:39

Dictionary definition of respect:

Noun: A feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements.

Verb: Admire (someone or something) deeply, as a result of their abilities, qualities, or achievements


Respect is earned. Not freely given.

You can like people and not respect them, you can respect them but not like them. Sometimes you like and respect them. Sometimes neither.

Manners and courtesy cost nothing however but shouldnt be confused with respect.

afishcalledmummy Mon 15-Aug-11 09:21:42

YANBU. I think it may be an overly simplistic view but we would live in a far fairer, more pleasant world if people adopted a "do as you would be done by" attitude.

BertieBotts Mon 15-Aug-11 09:22:22

I agree with you. I remember a friend saying to me as a teenager "Remember, never give anyone respect until they've earned it. There's no reason to respect your elders any more than someone your own age." and I thought this was horrible and all wrong sad Though I do think everyone should get the same level of basic respect - as you say, courtesy, kindness, manners. But perhaps people have to earn the next level of respect - I'm having trouble quantifying what that is though.

TrillianAstra Mon 15-Aug-11 09:26:19

There's no reason to respect your elders any more than someone your own age.

I agree with this actually.

If we are talking about respect as outlined in the OP, shouldn't we be polite and respectful towards everyone no matter what their age?

If we are talking about respect as defined by troisgracons, everyone should be equally expected to earn respect.

cory Mon 15-Aug-11 09:26:19

I think part of the problem is that people understand different things by respect- and they haven't necessarily thought through what they mean. Would totally agree that if you take respect to mean common courtesy, then that should be the default position. But many parents, in particular, take respect to mean "total deference to my opinion, believing I always know what I'm talking about"- and that I would find much harder to have as a default position. I have always been happy for my children to question what I say, as long as they treat me with courtesy and kindness. But some parents are terrified of the slightest sign of an independent opinion and think it indicates a lack of respect.

I want my children to obey school rules and be considerate to their teachers- but not to feel such respect that they dare not check a fact that Miss happens to have got wrong. "Teacher is always right" is a position that can lead to a lot of disillusionment and consequent lack of respect. "Teachers are human beings and can get things wrong, but as human beings they still deserve consideration" is a safer position imo. Coming from a long line of teachers...

ChocolateTeacup Mon 15-Aug-11 09:26:25

I think it is caused by the blurring of respect and courtesy, there are a few people that I respect, but I am courteous to all

pointydog Mon 15-Aug-11 09:31:06

I agree with the op.

Cog has defined respect as 'common courtesy and good manners' so I'm not sure why people are debating the definition.

pointydog Mon 15-Aug-11 09:31:45

People earn defernece? I think that's baloney.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 15-Aug-11 09:32:10

I think the idea that respect involves unthinking deference, obedience and fawning admiration is far from the mark. When we say things like 'respect other road users' we mean looking out for pedestrians or slowing down for learners. When we 'respect our environment' we mean we look after it.

TheMagnificentBathykolpian Mon 15-Aug-11 09:37:40

Deference is based on respect and admiration for someone, isn't it? Acknowledging that someone is perhaps an expert? Bowing to superior knowledge? Accepting wisdom? So I think that can certainly be earned.

You defer to someone with more knowledge, experience, wisdom...

Unless I don't understand what deference means.

Which is always a possibility grin

sausagesandmarmelade Mon 15-Aug-11 09:40:52

Agree that respect is something that has to be earned...not taken forgranted.

pointydog Mon 15-Aug-11 09:44:20

It's sad when such a simple statement as 'showing respect to others' so quickly descends into precise definitions of what respect is, and examples of how we shouldn't show respect at all. We are guarded against showing taht we value other people in any way at all. We can just about stand being polite and that's it.

squeakytoy Mon 15-Aug-11 09:46:24

I dont expect anyone to "earn" my respect, I treat everyone with it unless they do something that loses my respect for them.

OTheHugeManatee Mon 15-Aug-11 09:48:42

Courtesy should be extended to everyone. Respect has to be earned.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 15-Aug-11 09:51:29

sausagesandmarmalade.... so if it has to be earned, when you meet a stranger - a shop assistant, the old lady next to you in the bus queue, the postman - does that mean you're horrible to them until they earn your respect? And, in the few minutes you have in their company, how is someone supposed to earn your respect? And why should they? That's what I mean by it being an arrogant argument....

cory Mon 15-Aug-11 09:51:38

I frequently see posts on here stating that a parent must never let a child know the teacher is wrong because that would ruin their respect for authority- so the blurring is out there already; people do definitely confuse good manners and deference to authority.

LadyClariceCannockMonty Mon 15-Aug-11 09:51:42

Going by the definition posted by troisgarcons, it would seem that the correct meaning of 'respect' has got a bit lost and become confused with the notion of common courtesy (a point also made by Teacup and others.) Showing courtesy to others is a given but respect in the proper sense should be earned, I think.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 15-Aug-11 09:53:27

Someone else threw a dictionary definition at me. English being the lovely language it is, one word can have several meanings

1. A feeling of appreciative, often deferential regard; esteem.
2. The state of being regarded with honor or esteem.
3. Willingness to show consideration or appreciation.

I think most of us aim for '3' as standard in a civilised society.

Kladdkaka Mon 15-Aug-11 09:58:39

The Oxford dictionary gives 2 definitions of respect:

1. a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements

2. due regard for the feelings, wishes, or rights of others

So it depends on the context. The first is earnt, the second isn't.

pointydog Mon 15-Aug-11 09:59:22

It's a sign of a rather unpleasant and selfish society that people quibble and resist showing consideration and appreciation for anyone who they do not know well.

Ormirian Mon 15-Aug-11 09:59:25

I think it's an overused word. In fact it's beginning to make my teeth itch!

You can't respect someone you don't know. I think the answer is to treat everyone as if they are worthy of respect until you learn otherwise.

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