What do you respect?

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What do you respect?

Post by Enail on Sat Jan 02, 2016 2:14 pm

It occurred to me that a lot of the things that make me think highly of someone (in the sense of being impressed or seeing them as a bit of a role model, rather than thinking well of and liking them as I do a friend) are kind of weirdly specific compared to the kind of thing that I think of as generally accepted things that are considered to matter for that. So I thought it would be interesting to see what kinds of things other people care about and how specific or general they are.

What will win your respect (active respect, not like 'every human is worthy of respect" kind of respect) or impress you? Here are some of mine:

-finding a path through life that's personally meaningful rather than accepting the default, and pulling it off.

-doing "what's right," especially looking out for other people or standing up for them, in spite of awkwardness, embarrassment or social pressures against doing it.

-skill that's been developed through hard work and persistence, especially if they weren't naturally talented at it to begin with, especially at creative things.

-thoughtful, nuanced approaches, the ability to look at things in shades of grey and in context rather than sledgehammer extremes. I sometimes have problems with just accepting the framings other people use to talk about something even when I can sort of tell there's something wrong with that, so also being able to recognize mis-framings might fall under this.

-compassionate but discerning humanism/world view? Something like the ability to be interested in/compassionate to things and people without it feeling (to me) sappy or simplistic or undiscerning.

-interpersonal genuineness or vulnerability? This one's kind of hard to explain. I think I'm pretty good at being authentically me within me, including in social interactions, but that's about personality and opinion and things like that. In terms of emotion, I don't bring it forward very easily or quickly; when there's a situation that's emotionally fraught or challenging (for example, if I learn an acquaintance has had a death in the family), I'll tend to go to "what's the socially appropriate thing to do here?" and rely on rules or copying what other people do, and I often feel like it's a little insincere or distant or over-formal. I'm rather impressed by the kind of person who can respond with spontaneous, genuine, possibly vulnerable feeling (without making it about their feelings or being inappropriate) to say something or make a gesture that's meaningful, thoughtful and kind.

-being willing to recognize/acknowledge when they're wrong and (sincerely) apologize/change.

-imagination, thinking about things from different angles, generalist enthusiasm, an appreciation for the value of things that are not "productive."
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Re: What do you respect?

Post by Andrew Corvero on Sat Jan 02, 2016 3:14 pm

This is a very interesting question.

I'd say that I always have some sort of respect for personal bravery. If you believe in a cause and you put yourself out there to carry it on, if you'll accept help but never let use others as shield, if you're willing to sacrifice yourself for what you think is right, if you're not afraid of suffering or of dying, if you rescue your friends an allies in the time of need yo'll always have some sort of respect from me, even if I don't like your ideas or you as a person.

Nothing makes me lose respect in someone faster than cowardice. And cowardice is very different from fear. If you are afraid of doing something, but you do it anyway, you're even more brave and worthy of my respect, especially if you face your deepest fears.

Another thing that I respect a lot is gratitude in any form. If someone has helped you in any way, shape or form I respect you if you clearly show them that you appreciated their help and if something good happens to you I respect you if you seize the day and celebrate your luck.

I also respect fairness. Few people in the world are able to be fair to others on their real merits, not on the basis of how much they like them. I appreciate the ability be willing to say that someone has a point about something and to recognize their achievements even if you don't like them, or don't agree with them.

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Re: What do you respect?

Post by Werel on Sat Jan 02, 2016 3:28 pm

A lot of mine are eerily similar to yours, Enail, especially "compassionate but discerning," standing up for others, and ability to see when one is wrong and change.

I wonder if there's a difference between "respect" and "admire"? I'm not entirely sure which of those the following traits earn from me. I think it's respect, since admire seems to imply a desire to emulate, and I don't necessarily want to be all of the following, but do respect them:

-Willpower, or stubborn adherence to one's personal code, or something like that: my best friend is a really solid role model for me in this. When he decides that something is the ethical course, or the right one for him, by God he does it almost unfailingly. Sick of sweatshop labor? Never again buys clothes that aren't secondhand. Feels like he needs to do something about wealth distribution? He was making good money a little while back but living at poverty level and giving the rest away. Doesn't want anything to do with cars if he can help it? Rides his bike to work through the Michigan winter every damn day. I'd almost call it fanatical dogmatism if it weren't action inspired by deep and careful personal thought. I wish I could force myself to live as stringently by my own moral compass as he does, but I am weak and I love TV and cars and meat and airplane travel and out-of-season produce.

-Thoughtful, engaged, highly personal religious devotion. I don't have it but some of the people I've respected most have given their lives to contemplation of, and action on, their faith. This doesn't extend to received dogma or faith maintained only through social pressure, but more the sort of yearning, seeking, humble devotion of the true pilgrim.

-Courage. People who accept suffering willingly, for a reason.

-Something like "hustle"? Make-it-work-ness? Thinking of a friend who completed her PhD dissertation in six months, immediately after having a baby in a country thousands of miles from home and family, while teaching courses to make ends meet--writing every night in the hours between 11pm and 4 am, while the baby slept--simply because that's what she had to do, so she did it. I don't have that kind of hustle and I can't help but really respect it.

-Unflinching kindness. Turn-the-other-cheekness. A boss I once had was really annoying. Not good with people. Awkward, overeager, needy, dorky, grating. I don't think I hid my distaste for her very well (still regret that). But she was unfailingly kind to me, even through very tough situations where she stood to lose a lot by being kind to me. She got me through some really tough times, never let on that my earlier conduct had hurt her, and never stopped being the kindest she could be. I count her as a good friend now, and would defend her forcefully against the same judgments I once leveled at her.

Edit: forgot an important one: patience. Real, uncomplaining patience. That's very respectable to me.


Last edited by Werel on Sat Jan 02, 2016 4:12 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: What do you respect?

Post by Enail on Sat Jan 02, 2016 4:04 pm

Mm, yeah, Werel, there's definitely a difference between respect and admire, or at least there definitely is sometimes Wink, I just couldn't be bothered to try and pick them apart so just did a mix of the two Razz But I'll be interested if any less lazy souls than I have thoughts!
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Re: What do you respect?

Post by bomaye on Sat Jan 02, 2016 8:14 pm

I respect evidence that someone has stopped and thought about something carefully. Most people do not think.

I respect people who just do whatever the fuck they want and somehow have the ability to not care if others think poorly of them for it.

Sometimes these two things don't occur together though, so one might cancel out respect for the other <_<
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Re: What do you respect?

Post by InkAndComb on Sun Jan 03, 2016 5:38 pm

Kindness or helpfulness without expectation of reciprocity; not that you might not want it in the future, but I say this because a person who drove me home after barclose last night, treated me to breakfast, and dropped me off at my car drove all the way back when I called because my vehicle was stuck on the ice. I said he was a gentleman and he was super baffled; "It's called being a friend and decent human being? You're a dork, haha" was his text response to me. That's the kind of stuff I really respect and admire. No "you owe me", no "ughhh this is a pain", literally went out of his way to help out, no bitters.

Patience with people and animals; for animals, I mean with the grousy or snobby type especially (can you tell I own cats?). Both of my cats have been harmed by people in the past and are quite shy. Seeing people willing to adjust and be aware of an animal's behavior without getting personally offended or huffy is something I don't see around this area much. Same goes for people who may be hard to get to know, or come off a bit strong.

Having a sense of style, both in clothing and demeanor; this speaks for itself a bit but I know it's work to do this and as someone rapidly approaching the professional sphere, I admire people who have their "look" together for every occasion. It comes across as a mix of diligence and ability to express ones' self.

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Re: What do you respect?

Post by BasedBuzzed on Sun Jan 03, 2016 7:03 pm

-The ability to let the little things go. If someone cut you off in traffic or someone made an obnoxious comment on your Wall this morning, ideally you'll have forgotten it by the afternoon.
-Proportionality. Instead of bragging about strength while acting wounded, they have a level view of themselves and use that same relativity to mediate their emotional responses.
-Charity. The ability to entertain a different viewpoint and present that argument in an as flattering a light as possible before taking the axe to it.
-Humour. People who turn pain into pleasure by sheer mirth and inventive ways of looking at their own condition.
-Variety in life. Daring and failing in different things and being able to juggle them.
-Expression. Being able to emote in a sincere and personal manner.

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Re: What do you respect?

Post by bomaye on Mon Jan 04, 2016 1:02 pm

I respect people who will go into difficult personal territory to explain things from their perspective, someone explained something that was rough but also gave me that rare "I hadn't considered that at all before" thing :/
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Re: What do you respect?

Post by CP96 on Tue Jan 05, 2016 4:00 pm

I've had to think about this a fair bit due to working in an environment where most people have very different criteria for respect than I do. To put it bluntly, most of my colleagues base their respect around accomplishments, physical capabilities and professional skill. More than that, they conflate these things with personal virtue. I've always struggled a bit to fully fit in partially because there's always been this dissonance between who it was expected for me to respect and admire, and who I actually respected and admired.

I think it comes down to these factors for me:
- A combination of good-natured confidence and genuine humility.
- Kindness, compassion and generousness of spirit. This is less about giving things away so much as being willing to see the best in people and afford them respect when they may not be at their best.
- Intellectual curiosity, intellectual honesty and thoughtfulness. Crucially, none of these are synonymous with intelligence or education level. It's more about approach than ability.
- Dedication and diligence.
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