We all have people in our lives who nod and smile when we talk but don’t really value what we have to say. It’s disheartening, isn’t it?
But every so often, someone comes along who genuinely cares about your perspective.
They truly listen to you, not out of politeness or obligation, but because they truly respect your opinion.
I’ve had a few heart-warming moments where I felt like this. And when I thought about it, I realized that it was when people asked me certain questions that showed they valued my thoughts.
What are they exactly? Read on and I’ll reveal someone not only listens but deeply respects what you have to say.
1) “How would you handle this situation?”
No matter what you do, one thing is practically guaranteed — someone will try to tell you how to do it better.
Recently, I was at a family event where my cousin was talking about a tense situation with her boss at work. She didn’t even ask for anyone’s opinion, but soon enough the whole family started arguing about what they would do in her position.
I thought I had a good insight to share, but I didn’t want to pile on even more unsolicited advice. So I just told her I was sure she would find a good way to handle things.
And then she asked me, “How would you handle this situation?”
I was touched, because it was a clear sign of respect for my judgment and decision-making abilities. She believed I had relevant experience and that she could learn something from my approach — maybe even find the answer she’s been looking for.
If someone turns to you with this inquiry, take it as a sign — your opinion holds value, and your perspective is not only welcome but sought after.
2) “Can I get your advice on something?”
Think about the last time someone asked you for advice on something — whether it was a big life decision or even something small like how to cook a particular meal.
I’m willing to bet you felt pretty proud of yourself — and so you should. Because when someone asks you for advice, it’s another sign that they truly respect your opinion.
They’re placing a part of their life, however big or small, into your hands. Because they believe you have the expertise or skills that they’re missing.
In my experience, people very rarely ask for advice just out of politeness — they wouldn’t even think to do it. Every time I’m asked this question, I can tell the person gives me their full attention and soaks up everything I say.
You might hear variations of it, like “What do you think about this?” or “What are your thoughts on this?”
Whatever the exact wording, the respect underlying the message is the same.
3) “Can you explain this to me?”
Ever found yourself amidst a buzzing conversation, practically bursting with something valuable to add, but nobody seems interested? It can make you feel invisible.
But if someone singles you out and says, “Can you explain this to me?” Suddenly, you’re not just a spectator — you’re the expert.
When someone specifically asks you to explain something, they’re handing you a microphone, metaphorically speaking. They recognize you have something worthy to share — a special insight or a slice of wisdom.
I felt the weight of this question at the family dinner I already mentioned above. Later on, a debate about a current social issue was heating up. Everyone was throwing opinions around like confetti, but my cousin pulled me aside and asked if I could break it down for her.
My cousin didn’t just want more noise; she wanted to understand, and she believed I could help her do that.
This question is more than a request for information. It’s a gesture that says, “I value what you think, and I believe your understanding can enlighten me.” And that, my friends, screams respect.
4) “Would you mind reviewing this for me?”
We’ve all been there — scribbling down an essay, an email, or maybe even a little poem, and then pausing with that dreaded feeling of uncertainty. Is it good enough? Did I make any mistakes?
That’s when you would turn to someone you trust. And this is direct proof for you that when someone does the same, they must really respect your opinion too.
It’s not just about catching typos or smoothing out awkward sentences; it’s about trust. They’re saying, “I trust you enough to let you see my work, flaws and all, and believe that your perspective can make it better.”
I remember a time my friend was applying for a job and he had written his cover letter. He looked nervous as he handed it over and asked if I could give it a quick review.
I felt so grateful that out of all the people he could’ve asked, he chose me — especially for something as important to him as this job.
That’s the power of this question. The person asking is not only saying that they value your skills, but they also trust you to help them reach their goals.
5) “What books or podcasts could you recommend to me?”
There’s something inherently delightful about sharing your favorite books or podcasts with someone else. And it’s immensely more special when they specifically request it.
By asking you for recommendations, they are acknowledging that you’re a person of taste. It’s like them saying, “I like the way you think. I want to know who inspires you, so I can be inspired by them too.”
This happened to me not long ago with a colleague. We were discussing weekend plans, and she mentioned she had a long road trip ahead. When she asked me for some podcast recommendations, I could see the genuine curiosity in her eyes.
I gave her the titles of a couple of podcasts that had left me riveted and a book that had changed my perspective on life. She jotted them down on her phone, and I felt a sense of accomplishment, knowing that I had just shared something valuable.
And here’s the icing on the cake: when people actually take your recommendations and later discuss them with you, it’s a double dose of respect.
They didn’t just ask to be polite; they took action based on your advice. That shows a level of respect that elevates your relationship to a new plane.
6) “How can I improve or make this better?”
If you’ve ever crafted something — maybe a piece of art, a dish, or even a piece of software — then you’ll be familiar with the rush of pride that accompanies your creation. It’s your baby, born from your effort and imagination.
You may have also experienced someone giving you uncalled for critique — not such a warm and fuzzy feeling.
Polite people learn to hold back any constructive feedback on someone’s work because they know people usually aren’t interested in hearing it.
Except when they are. If someone asks you how they could improve something they’ve done or made, it’s much more than just a simple question — it’s a big sign of humility and respect.
They’re not only acknowledging your skills and experience but also admitting their own limitations. It’s a beautiful act of vulnerability that says, “I think you see something I don’t. Can you help me find it?”
I remember helping my neighbor with her garden one sunny afternoon. We were planting flowers, and she paused to look at the arrangement.
Then she asked, “I think there’s something missing. How do you think I could make it better?” It may seem silly, but I felt so honored.
Being asked this question is a rare and precious thing in a world where many people would rather just hear they’re doing everything perfectly. It takes courage to ask how to improve, and it takes respect to ask someone else how to do it.
Make your opinions truly respectable
You’ve just learned 6 questions that will make it clear when someone truly respects your opinion.
And now you might be wondering — how do I get asked these questions more often?
In other words, how do I make people respect me and my opinions more?
If you ask me, it starts with becoming a better listener, and only sharing your thoughts when you believe they are truly valuable to the other person.
If you throw out every thought you have before even pondering it yourself, people will learn to give them much less weight — or not pay attention at all, as is the case with most unsolicited advice.
But if you wait to be asked, you’ll know that the person is truly curious about what you think.
It doesn’t matter if you share much less often this way — because what you do say will be better thought out, and hold much more weight.
As in many other things in life, remember that it’s quality over quantity.