3 Types Of Respect.

To say that respect is a hard to grasp concept is an understatement. Men view respect as acknowledging superiority, women view it as showing basic decency. Superiors view it as simple obedience, underlings as submission. In one culture it may imply to show deference, in another to show affection.

And this is not because respect is an elusive, undefined concept. But because we all have a rigid definition of what respect means to us, formed by the culture we are immersed in and reinforced by our peers.

However, all definitions of respect can be almost neatly divided into three categories. Understanding these three different categories can assist us in everyday social situations. They will help us to deduce which definition of respect a person is employing, to work out how to talk with them. They will help us to determine whether justice is being done or not. And they will make it easier to negotiate for better treatment from those around you.

1: Respect for your fellow man.

Commonly used by: women, children (who have learned it from their mothers and not yet altered the meaning), some EFL speakers from EU and African nations.

Meaning: “To show basic courtesy, decency. To not interfere with someone’s basic human rights. To not harm someone else’s property or make their lives uncomfortable.”

This definition is the most basic form of respect and, to many, does not mean respect at all. It is based on the concept of inclusion and exclusion and simply means that you will accept and treat the respected person as a part of your group, rather than as an outsider.

Example: “Everyone deserves to be treated with basic respect and kindness.”

How to display: Do not insult or attack anyone, be considerate of other’s feelings and ideas, give room for everyone, do not show undue preference.

2: Peer respect.

Or “voluntary respect”.

Commonly used by: blue collar men and women, between friends, fans.

Meaning: “To acknowledge a superior or equal trait or ability in someone whom you are not required to show admiration for.”

This definition  refers to the act of observing a peer’s greater ability at cooking, stronger morals or similar tastes. It is based on the concept of hard-earned reward and means that if you work hard, in some way you will be repaid, even if not in resources.

Example: “Respect is earned, not given or taken.”

How to display: Treat those who you like or admire (for whatever reason) as slightly closer friends than they are, vocally acknowledge their ability, defer to their superiority only when they are relevant.

3: Enforced respect.

Commonly used by: white collar workers, students, teenagers, religious adherents, EFL speakers from Latin-American and Asian nations.

Meaning: “To defer to and obey a person based on a culturally predetermined rank.”

This definition refers to the culturally, legally and personally enforced subordination to someone whom your culture has placed above you. It is based on the concept that rank earns certain rights (might makes right) and that you must follow your intellectual, moral, skilled or physical superiors.

Example: “You must show your boss respect at all times.”

How to display: Work out the group hierarchy, obey the highest individual, do not use bad language around them, or disagree with them openly.

When we put these three concepts together we end up with respect as a triangular diagram, with everyone’s definitions sitting somewhere between the three. But based on associated words, what we know about the person and the context in which they use the word, we can work out what they actually mean, rather than assume their meaning and ours is identical, or even similar.

What does respect mean to you?

TTFN and Happy Hunting!


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4 thoughts on “3 Types Of Respect.

  1. Hey – this is brilliant. I’ve been commenting over at Rational Male and what I have found is that the traditional definition of the egalitarian = 1, doesn’t seem to take, no matter how I put it (I think I have tried 20 different ways now – sheesh). Probably because the group there is heavily invested in either #2 or #3.

    Next time this comes up, I’m going to link to your article here. Thanks for clarity here.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Egalitarians also have the issue that what the consider to be “basic civility” is actually communism. They do not want the sane white man with a job to be treated the same way as the jobseeking neuroatypical black woman, they want to treat them so that the results are exactly the same. Their idea of “basic civility” is equal results, possibly also engrained during primary school years. The root of all of this seems to be lifelong standardized education.


      • Hey superslaviswife – I think there is a general misunderstanding wrt to an accurate definition of the egalitarian. If I am interpreting you correctly, you are conflating the egalitarian with equalism, which is a politically-correct subversion of the actual meaning (but those that argue against PC-subversion in general most often do allow for the PC-misappropriation of the language, however, that is misguided – that is precisely where the line must be drawn wrt reigning in PC subversion).

        I have a whole host reasons for defining the egalitarian (more accurately, and in keeping with the spirit of the original meaning) as follows:

        egalitarian = the belief that the perspective of the equal fundamental existential worth of individuals is a worthy perspective wrt promoting trust and therefore cooperation as mitigated by discernment around the expectation of reciprocity in this regards

        Note that I have added “existential, fundamental” to “equal”, in this definition, to ensure the definition of “equal” isn’t twisted, PC-style, to mean “the exact same in nature”, but instead to accentuate my meaning – “the same in potential promise as mitigated by the variable circumstances of the environment, or of reality”. One would think such refinement would not be necessary as it is abundantly obvious to absolutely everyone that we are created the same in design but with variability around the design parameters (please do not quibble about my use of the word design in an evolutionary context – you know what I mean), i.e. – “the same but different” if you will.

        Also note that by the – “as mitigated by discernment around the expectation of reciprocity in this regards” I mean a more elemental definition than the more usual “deserve equal rights and opportunities”, because the nuance I am thereby implying stresses the prerequisites of what makes the creation of a wider range or rights and opportunities possible in the first place, and therefore implies such wider range of rights and opportunities and also implies these rights and opportunities will be designated by way of implied consensus in any event, and furthermore, in this way, I also again avoid the inevitable misunderstanding around that word “equal”, which of course could be construed to mean “exactly the same rights and opportunities blind to externalities”, by way of PC-speak, which would incorrectly imply blindness to the real human differences implied by the evol “design variability” (which you would think shouldn’t have to be worked-around given that it is abundantly clear to everyone that we are the same but different, even with respect to our wants and desires, but once again, the PC crowd be dummies, so we need to find ways to foil their dumbness by way of being overly concise).

        Supersalviswide – do you agree with the definition of the egalitarian, I am putting forth here?


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