Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself
— Confucius in The Four Chinese Classics, translated by David Hinton
This is part of my series on How To Stand Up For Yourself.
Here are the rules for respecting others that I wish someone had handed me as a teen. I framed them following the Golden Rule, e.g., “I will treat people how I want to be treated.” and “I will not treat people how I don’t want to be treated.”
Enough preamble—on with the rules for respect.
1. Respect in relationships
a. Actions – I will be mindful of how my actions make others feel just as I want others to be conscious of how their actions affect me.
b. Unsolicited advice — I will think twice before offering unsolicited advice. I will choose to believe that others can solve their problems and manage their lives just as I want them to believe that I can manage mine.
Related: Boundaries Made Simple
c. Negging — I will not undermine another person’s self-confidence (so they want/need my approval) just as I don’t want others to undermine my self-confidence.
2. Respect in conversations
a. Interrupting — I will not interrupt other people just as I don’t want to be interrupted.
b. Negative comments — I will not make snide remarks about another’s appearance or how they run their life, just as I don’t want comments made about me.
c. Demeaning nicknames — I will not belittle people with degrading nicknames—which suggest that they’re deficient and unworthy of respect—just as I don’t want this done to me.
3. Respect for personal space
a. Touching — I will not touch others (without their permission) just as I don’t want them to touch me.
b. Breathing Room — I will not invade another’s space just as I don’t want others to invade mine.
4. Respect in negotiation
a. Pouting — I will not pout (i.e., try to make another feel bad and concede) just as I don’t want others to pout.
b. Badgering — I will not endlessly try to persuade someone just as I don’t want people to badger me.
c. Threats — I will not threaten to harm others (or myself) if folks don’t comply, just as I don’t want others to make threats.
d. Blackmail — I will not threaten to expose a vulnerability just as I don’t want to be blackmailed.
5. Respect food choices
a. Comments — I will not remark on what others eat (or don’t eat), just as I don’t want people making comments about my choices.
b. Diets — I will not remind folks of their eating plans or dietary restrictions, just as I don’t want others to comment on my food choices.
c. Ordering — I will not order food for others (without their permission) just as I don’t want food ordered for me.
6. Respect on the Internet
a. Trolling — I will not post inflammatory things online that upset folks, just as I don’t want people to troll me.
b. Doxing — I will not post others’ private or personally identifying info, just as I don’t want to be doxed.
c. Harassment — I will not intimidate or attack other people online just as I don’t want to be harassed.
d. Photos/Videos — I will not post photos or videos of others online without their express consent. Furthermore, I will remove photos and videos if asked, just as I want folks to do the same for me.
7. Respect for others’ time
a. Punctuality — I will strive to arrive on time just as I want others to be punctual.
b. Micromanaging — I will not tell people how to spend their time just as I don’t want folks telling me how to spend my time.
8. Respect in public spaces
a. Loud talking — I will be mindful of how my voice carries in public areas (e.g., buses, restrooms, waiting rooms) so that others may have conversations just as I want others to grant me the same courtesy.
b. Sprawling — I will be mindful of how much space I take up and make room for others just as I want others to make room for me.
c. Blocking — I will not block others’ entrance or exit just as I don’t want my path obstructed.