It’s always a highlight of my day when someone tells me I did a good job or that I’m great at something (especially at the gym). It’s validation and appreciation for something I’ve done. It’s a sign of respect. And at the end of the day, most guys are looking to be respected, whether it’s from their wives or peers or co-workers.
I would add to this definition but Webster’s Dictionary says respect is
- the state of being admired
- a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements.
Why do men want to be respected so badly? Why is it so important to us? Well, it’s validating and it shows that we’re on the right path. The role of a man is to lead, provide and protect so when we’re admired for any of those things, it goes to the core of who we are as men.
You can’t talk about respect without talking about your feelings. I hope the men of the world will forgive me for this, but I’m about to reveal one our greatest secrets and blow the lid off of the stereotype that men don’t talk about their feelings.
Men talk about their feelings all the time.
It just doesn’t start with the words, “When you did that, I felt…” Whether it’s positive or negative, men typically use less words to express their feelings. Unless you’re Southern. We Southerners have a lot of opinions and have a lot to say. Southern guys will tell you their feelings on almost anything.
It is commonly said that you have to give respect to get it. The only way to get respect back is to give it without the expectation of getting anything in return. Here are some tips for giving respect and being respected:
9 Ways to Give and Get Respect
This is one of the easiest ways to give respect. You tell someone the positive things that have been said about them. It looks like this: “I was telling Ryan at the gym today how you just signed another client. And he said, ‘Man, that guy is good.'” It would be even better if you told them something great you said about them to someone else, but if that’s too vulnerable for you, this will do. The next time you say or hear something positive about a friend, pass it along to them.
At the gym the other day, a guy bench pressed an incredible amount of weight. Afterwards, one of the guys watching walked by and said, “Hey man, that was impressive” and kept walking. Five words without even stopping and he gave the other guy respect.
Next time you’re impressed by something your buddy does, say, “Hey bro, that was dope.” I don’t know. I don’t speak “Bro”. Say whatever you want. Just say something.
Respect is given not only in words, but in actions. Offering to help with something or just giving your time in general to someone is a way to show respect. There are actually five love languages (The 5 Love Languages for Men): words of affirmation, acts of service, quality time, gifts, and physical touch. Mine is physical touch. I’ll take a hug over a gift any day. But that’s just me. Where is that guy with the “Free Hugs” sign when you need him?
You can give respect by non-actions. What I mean by this is don’t hit on the girl I’m into, don’t talk negatively about people you work with or your other friends, and don’t say you are going to show up and then flake out. Those are the quickest ways to lose respect. Don’t disrespect me!! Now the strong, black woman in me is starting to come out!
If someone feels like you’ve heard what they have to say, they will feel respected, whether you agree with them or not; you get bonus points for showing empathy and seeing things from their perspective. Add in not giving unsolicited advice, and you’re golden. If you feel like you have something to say or can give constructive feedback, ask if it’s ok to give it before vomiting your words all over them.
Agreeing to Disagree
I am no stranger to hot topics and controversy. Check out my articles on porn and homosexuality. But I’m very good friends with all kinds of people that have different views than I do. My gay friends still love me and my porn star friends, Johanna and Priscilla (look, I gave y’all a shout out!), still love me despite the fact that we differ on almost every political issue. And it’s mainly because we accept the other even though we have different views on things. Or maybe it’s because they can’t resist my sweet Christian charm. Either way, we can talk about topics as polarizing as abortion and still respect each other.
Making sacrifices is part of any friendship or relationship and shows a huge sign of respect. Maybe you want Mexican for dinner and your date wants Italian food. Are you crazy? Go get Italian food. You don’t want to eat Mexican on a date night! Or maybe you want to go on a hike and your friend wants to do Crossfit? Offer to do Crossfit this time if he goes on a hike next time. After Crossfit, you’ll be telling him to take a hike anyway.
Tell Her What You Love About Her
When talking to your girl, tell her what you love about her. “I love seeing you play with my nieces” or “I can see how much you love your parents.” These things are very easy to say and are a clear sign of how much you respect her.
Finally, the biggest one of all is having integrity. Being a man of your word, being reliable, trustworthy, and honest. Don’t mistreat people or use someone to get ahead. And most of all, don’t use someone to fill your emotional needs. It shows that you don’t respect them and you don’t respect yourself.
Respect is about more than just giving and receiving compliments. It’s about giving yourself to others everyday and doing it with good character. Webster and I might need to have a talk about his definition.