Some people think of respect as a way to display humility or even submission to others.
But at its core, respect is all about equality – when you respect someone, all you’re doing is showing them that you value their opinion and accept them as their own independent entity.
“Right. Well, don’t we all automatically do that?”
Unfortunately, no. In fact, there are many people out there who think of themselves as better, more knowledgeable, or more important than others, causing them to act disrespectfully – even if they don’t realize it.
Have you ever encountered someone like that? Let’s find out!
If someone displays these 7 behaviors, they clearly don’t respect you.
1) They don’t pay attention when you’re talking to them
We’re all so used to being on our phones that we barely even notice it when someone checks their screen from time to time, right?
Well, there’s a difference between checking your phone and texting or scrolling when someone’s talking to you. The first is okay. The latter very much isn’t.
When someone’s not paying attention to what you’re saying, it means they are so preoccupied with their own matters that they don’t consider your energy and effort important enough.
Not only is this behavior very impolite but it also hinders your attempts at a genuine connection, possibly destroying the relationship before it even gets a chance to blossom.
But that may not be a necessarily bad thing. If someone’s on their phone a lot during the middle of a conversation, they’re essentially revealing their priorities from the get-go.
You don’t come first, even if you’re sitting right in front of them. Sometimes, that’s all the information you need to move on and give your energy to people who really appreciate it.
2) They often cancel plans at the last minute
Recently, I had to let one of my friendships fizzle out because my friend kept canceling on me time and again.
Every time we agreed to go for dinner, she came up with an excuse a few days later, and while she did try to reschedule, she eventually canceled the rescheduled meet-ups as well.
After months of having 80% of our hangouts canceled, I talked to her about how disrespectful I found this behavior – after all, I could have made plans with other people if I knew our meetup wouldn’t come to fruition again – but even though she apologized, she kept acting flaky.
So I just… gave up. Canceling on me was a choice she willingly made over and over again, and by doing so, she disrespected the time and energy I invested in making plans and keeping our friendship alive.
The moment I stopped carrying the relationship on my shoulders, it fizzled out. The good news is that I now have more energy for friends who actually want to meet.
3) They don’t take your opinions seriously
Feeling like you don’t matter is awful. Unfortunately, people who show disrespect quite openly often resort to making others feel exactly that – dismissed, misunderstood, or even daft.
“That’s a really dumb opinion.”
“You’re not serious, are you? You don’t actually think that?”
“Of course you’d say that.” Eyeroll.
Yeah, it hurts to be spoken to that way. But there’s a silver lining! If someone disrespects you so openly, they’re at least giving you all the signs you need to sever the relationship and find better friends.
They’re essentially showing you their true colors, which is a gift. You don’t have to wonder whether they take you seriously or not – you know they don’t. All you need to do is wave them goodbye.
4) They mock you or put you down
Speaking of obvious disrespect, mocking someone is definitely on the list as well. I used to have a friend who would tell me stuff like, “You’re so daft, aren’t you?” and laugh, passing the insult off as a joke.
I wasn’t laughing, though. In fact, I kept thinking about that remark for weeks, wondering whether I really was as stupid as she’d made me out to be.
Then I realized that her attempts to put me down weren’t about humor at all – they were about power and disrespect. The moment I confronted her about it, she completely flipped out at me, unable to listen to my concerns and change her behavior.
Oh, and speaking of flipping out…
5) They shout or snap at you
You might think that having loud fights is normal – it occurs quite often, after all – but the truth is that raising your voice at someone is a sign you don’t respect them enough to have a calm discussion.
People who have a respectful dynamic, be it a friendship or a romantic relationship, tend to raise their concerns in a calm way that opens up the space for polite communication.
If the person you’re talking to doesn’t view you as an equal with boundaries, however, they’ll display their anger more readily, snapping at you or even shouting.
Remember – no matter what’s happened, you don’t deserve to be shouted at. In a healthy relationship, verbal attacks shouldn’t even be an option.
6) They always try to push your boundaries
Let’s say someone shouts at you, and your response is to assert your boundaries and tell them that shouting is off the table. It’s either respectful communication, or nothing.
If they respect you, they’ll do their best not to raise their voice again. If they don’t… they’ll keep pushing your boundaries bit by bit until they get exactly what they want.
They might say, “This is how I express anger. It’s your problem that you can’t take it.”
They might say, “This is who I am. If you loved me, you wouldn’t mind.”
They might even go as far as to say, “If you hate the way I am, I’ll just pack up my bags and leave.” (Of course, this is just a threat. They won’t actually go. They’re not done pushing your limits, so there’s no reason for them to leave.)
7) They treat you like a child
Putting you down or shouting at you is one side of the coin. If you flip it, you’ll see that too much love – or the semblance of it – is actually a sign of disrespect, too.
If someone fusses over you constantly, bends over backward just to make sure you don’t need to lift a finger, and assumes you wouldn’t be able to get anything done on your own, they’re essentially reducing you to the role of a child – even though you are, in fact, an adult.
An inherent part of respect is the assumption that you’re an independent and equal entity to the other person. But if they consider you unable to provide for yourself, their attitude is completely at odds with that definition.
Don’t let others convince you that you can’t take care of yourself. You’re capable of more than you give yourself credit for.