Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Discussion: Respect

Is exercising respect towards someone who is disrespectful a virtue or a weakness?


  1. Depends on the situation and the person. Some people respond better to having their attitudes reflected back at them. Some respond better to deference and kindness. Probably most respond better to deference and kindness.

    But what is disrespect? Some people I've known have considered mere disagreement to be disrespect. Those people strike me as haughty and authoritarian and usually such people don't respond well to kindness -- they've already assumed a superior status and don't respect you, so how can you reason with them?

    It's a lot easier in person with someone you know, you can find pockets of their life where they are sensitive to being poorly treated by others, and if you can draw a good analogy sometimes they'll hear you.

    On the Toobz there's too much looseness and ghost-writing/sock puppetry and that ramps up the depersonal nature which enables easier disrespect. On the Toobz I don't look for someone to "respect" me. I think that's a Sisyphean expectation.

  2. It depends. I find that disrespect in return only backfires in most situations. It can also escalate into something much worse than words too.

    Besides, in a business or personal setting anything that can end up in court (which is pretty much anything in our litigious society) should arrive in court with one thing being very clear, that I was polite, considerate, courteous, bent over backwards to be accommodating, that I tried to be a nice guy, etc. That can go a long way towards making sure the other party is going to be wrong in the eyes of the judge and jury.

  3. Case of disrespect reflection being successful:

    dealing with bullies, who are all bluster.

    Not saying it works every time. Saying it can. Because I've seen it work. It can work when there's no real disparity of authority or power, just a disparity of attitude. Typically this works with bullies whose bullying is done for an audience. I saw it work well when I was a kid, I have seen it work well in other settings as an adult.

    If the person being disrespectful is just having a moment of weakness, and is otherwise a thoughtful person, then yeah, you're right, it's likely to merely amplify the situation.

    If the person being disrespectful is a douche, well....

  4. Quis tauriet ipsos taures?

    Who will bully the bullies?

  5. Bullying is the essence of being American.

    Here, have this blanket. It will keep you... uhhh... warm during those evil winters in the new place we're putting you since we've stolen your traditional centuries-old homesteads.

    Here, let us break bread. We will call it "thanksgiving." Then we will slaughter all of you. Thanks for being such good guests!

  6. Well, at least we gave them firewater to drown their sorrows...


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