Respect is Indeed Reciprocal

There was this day that I challenged a friend of mine because of what I believe to be a misconduct on her side. She got so furious that I wished I hadn’t said anything! But on the flip side, I am glad I did. If not, I may not write this article for us to learn how respect is indeed reciprocal and share it on this impactful website which I am privileged to write for.

Although, it was proven that what I called her attention to is right. But, I didn’t go about it the right way. In correcting her – I disrespected her.

{Read: How to Respect Others}

Now, why it’s worthy to note that we should be able to frankly correct our friends, we must not destroy their reputation nor disrespect them while doing so.

I know someone is saying: ‘but my friend loves to be respected, and I feel it’s not necessary, is it?!’

Well, it is. Why, you ask? Because in life, more often than not, how people treat you is a shadow and/or reflection of how you act towards them.

I mean, try using words of respect such as: ‘Sir, Ma…’ and watch the effect. You will notice -as I have- that, with time, people would address you the same way. Using myself as an example, some older folks bow when greeting me because of how I greet them with so much respect. Some aren’t even sure if I am older than them, or younger…

In my school, for example, my lecturers greet me with a smiling face. The Dean of one of the faculty in my school kneels down to greet me (jokingly of course) for me saying I am a king because of my surname (Adeyemi). This is not because I am the brightest student, it’s simply because of how I greet them often, and/or help them with one or two things…

Yes, I know in this ‘age’ we think practices like this are ‘old school’. But, it’s not true. Like I once told a friend of mine, ‘Civilization shouldn’t take away our morals: it shouldn’t rob us of our common sense!’.

Everyone deserves to be respected. Respect is not just about age, achievement. It’s not even about a person’s wealth of knowledge. It’s actually to believe the best of everyone, and regard them for who/what they are. It’s to esteem and value people’s contributions no matter how little it is.

After all, we all want respect. We want someone to listen to our ideas. We want to be treated well. Why do otherwise for others.

Truth is that, in relating with you – how you respect and/or treat others is their first hand ‘evidence/sample’ of how they respond to you. You cannot treat people like a slave and expect to be treated like a king.

If you want to be great, serve! If you want to be respected, then show respect! Respect no-one and you will not be respected, it is that simple. Yes, each tribe, individual, or culture may view the idea of respect differently, but, we all love to be respected. I don’t think there’s someone who detest respect. Therefore, we should learn how to best respect others

Now, I have heard people say: ‘I don’t have to greet nor help him just to show respect’ and I ask myself: ‘How?!’

Saying this is ignorance. I believe it’s insincerity.

It’s like having a younger brother who says he respects you and he never greets you nor regard your opinion first. You would probably think he is rude, right? Exactly! What’s respect if it’s not shown? It’s hypocrisy. To respect someone is to honor and regard them. It would showforth.

Respect is a Verb and not a Noun. It’s to be acted!

Still asking how you can show respect to that colleague, or friend of yours? Simple, let me share some general words and/or actions that communicate and cultivate respect.


This is the number one magic word in any disagreement. Relationships had broken up because someone didn’t deem it fit to say this small but mighty word!

Saying ‘I am sorry’ reveals respect. It shows that you regard/value your relationship above your selfish interests. It signals to the other party that you respect their opinion and you’re open to discuss.

Saying sorry when you’ve delayed people is a sign of respect for their time and personality. Apologizing when you’re at fault is not stupidity, it means you value people’s input.

{Read: Signs You are Not Ready for a Relationship}

Thank you

When people do you a favour, they aren’t stupid! They could have chosen not to. Therefore, you should see it as a privilege and attach importance to people’s effort and sacrifice for you. When you say: ‘Thank you’, the other party feels appreciated. It means you haven’t taken their service for granted.


Pleading for someone’s favour doesn’t reveal your weakness.

Words like: ‘please, can you help me… ‘ can turn your sworn enemy to a friend. It means you’ve placed a burden/responsibility on them. You’re saying they are in the best position to help you!


‘Good morning’ ‘Well-done…’ naturally reflects respect


Next time you’re with a friend, avoid the urge to be ‘Einstein’, dishing out words of wisdom all the time. Learn to listen. Don’t shut people up: respect their opinions, thoughts, and believe. Even if you don’t agree with them, you should at least listen. It won’t kill you.

{Read: Learn to Respectfully Disagree}

Have you ever been ignored while trying to express your mind? How do you feel? Bad, right? Exactly! That’s how you make others feel when you don’t listen to people: they feel hurt and stupid. It hurts their emotions. But when you hear people out, it boosts their confidence and they feel respected.


This is about the height of it all. It wraps it all up.

Yes, not all advice would be useful for you. You may not even understand some of it. But, it’s better to make your disagreements clear if you know you won’t obey what you’ve been told.

Respect without obedience is nothing. Claiming to respect your parents and you don’t obey their instructions is like a paradox, it contradicts.

Like I said earlier: ‘…we view respect differently… ‘ but, those above words and actions naturally communicate respect anywhere. They are universal. According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of philosophy, Respect is important in our everyday lives.

So, before you act and/or speak to a fellow colleague, or friend – think through it, and ask yourself if you would be glad if you’re the one treated that way.

Do you think your tone or manner of approach to people shows any form of respect? How do you think it can be better?


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