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What is a Respectful Relationship?

What is a Respectful Relationship?

If you asked yourself, “What is a Respectful Relationship; what does that look like?” you’d be asking yourself a fantastic question. No one would argue that a respectful culture, respectful relationship or respectful organization isn’t a good thing to have. No disagreement there. The disagreement comes in agreeing on this: What is a respectful relationship?

Have You Ever Wondered?
Have you ever believed you were being respectful but you wondered about the behavior exchange coming from your colleague? They’ve somehow let you down with an unfulfilled behavior and you’re left feeling doubt, and wondering ‘what you could do better’. Many times we try and analyze the behavior exchange, ours and theirs; and we try to understand what we could do differently next time. We also wonder, how could someone could ‘do that’ or we ask ‘why are they doing that…to me’? Since it often seems impossible to influence a very difficult person, we start to wonder what we should have done differently instead.

Here’s The Catch:
We might not be able to do something differently to change a bully, but we could do something differently in order to change our experience of the disrespectful behavior we are experiencing…bottom line…a plan to eliminate the constant self-doubt, analyzing and second-guessing.

What If You Tried This Instead?
What if you knew with your whole heart what a respectful relationship looked like? What if you could take any exchange with a person and measure that exchange with the “Bully Free at Work” Respectful Criteria? Then when you come in contact with a bully or a very difficult person, you will start to do away with the constant self-wondering and instead you’ll say: “Wow, that’s bullying behavior and I don’t receive that”. How about this: “That’s a behavior that says more about the other person than it does about me…I refuse to worry about this.”

What Gets Measured Gets Treasured!
Next time you come across a bullying situation or even a difficult/disrespectful situation, try running the scenario against our “Bully Free at Work” Respectful Criteria™:

The Bully Free at Work Respectful Criteria:

On a scale of 1-5:
5 = I feel respected 100% (You are energized!)
4 = I feel respected 80% (Nothing to complain about)
3 = I neither feel respected or disrespected (Just business…)
2 = I felt disrespected; specific behaviors of another person left me feeling ‘less than’
1 = I felt totally disrespected; specific behaviors of another were intentionally rude, condescending and inappropriate.

My personal rating of the other person’s ability to be:

Kind 5  4  3  2   1
Caring 5  4  3  2   1
Generous 5  4  3  2   1
Compassionate 5  4  3  2   1
Thoughtful 5  4  3  2   1
Considerate 5  4  3  2   1
Helpful 5  4  3  2   1
Empathetic 5  4  3  2   1
Concerned 5  4  3  2   1
Understanding 5  4  3  2   1


Capacity for working things out without resistance 5  4  3  2   1
Capacity of pursuing you to work things out 5  4  3  2   1
Ability to roll with mistakes and move on 5  4  3  2   1

After interacting I feel a sense of:

Calmness 5  4  3  2   1
Harmony 5  4  3  2   1
Trust 5  4  3  2   1


I feel confident about myself 5  4  3  2   1
I feel safe being myself 5  4  3  2   1
I look forward to interacting with this person 5  4  3  2   1
Interacting is a source of pleasure with this person 5  4  3  2   1

Possible score is 100.
Try this assessment with your most supportive friend and see how they rate. Hopefully their score is high! This will give you a perspective of people and attributes you value. Know this, and be mindful and aware to surround yourself with this type of person regularly.

If most of the people in your life rate at a lower score, then you might look inside to see if you are perhaps too demanding, or perhaps you are not choosing to surround yourself with the kind of people you need in order to create a peaceful existence.

If you have a healthy balance of people who rate high on this assessment and perhaps a few people who rate lower, you’ll begin to see: Your observation of disrespectful behavior is not to be doubted, but honored so you can protect yourself with a healthy boundary instead of suffering at the notion of self-doubt and crazy-making.

Now, lastly, as Gandhi has been quoted as saying: No matter the adversity, “Become the change you want to see in the world”…try this assessment on yourself too; make the adjustments and let your light shine so bright that you attract the very best for yourself just as many have done so for centuries. Creating inner strength is always worth working on; you are worth it!


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3 responses to “What is a Respectful Relationship?”

  1. "stronger" says:

    COOL is the opposite of the God spirited gift of self control. Self control controls human emotions to preserve peace. Thinks before acting or speaking to others. COOL ‘mimicks’ this God gift but it is not the same. COOL suppresses thier feelings so as to put on the facade of strength when another asks ‘why did you do that?’
    (god like but not God) The cool one feels no conscience to explain thier actions, thus they assume a god like above all stance and not to preserve peace but to hopefully provoke the one who is feeling hurt, betrayed, rejected…they
    play on the emotions of other humans. If the other human gets mad…to thier COOL mind they are now better.

    COOL is a ‘devilish’ way of ruling the scene.

    COOL is NOT a good thing.

  2. "stronger" says:

    Respect of others, always must begin with a healthy self respect. Common sense right? If one doesn’t respect who they are and how they achieved (by hard work) they can’t respect why they are in the position they are in.

    Personally, this is why I believe programs called ‘affirmative action’ are not quite doing the good they were intended to do. Affirmative action doesn’t affirm the ‘action of others’ at all. It affirms a person ‘right or wrong’ based on gender or race. A true understanding of affirming actions would be to affirm good as good is and bad as bad is. This is the lie of the affirmative action policies that do not a thing to bring people to feel a healthy respect for themselves and thus put forth that same respect to those they interact with.

    But; try explaining that one. No one will hear.

    and an insecure person placed in a position they did not earn will feel threatened by any who appear to their eyes as ‘better’ and they, knowing they are specially protected will taunt, intimidate, rattle emotionally, or ‘bait’ someone to ‘react’ so they – in the position of some
    ‘power’ can show thier ‘power’ to all in earshot.

    And the business folk who own companies; they refuse to see. (they are bullied by outside sources who tell them they cannot criticize or set a standard for behavior; they are told standards are discriminatory … because… the person they speak to never ‘had the upbringing’ to know ‘that standard’ …YES; basically that is what business is told (but more subtly) So … all standards are dropped and let everyone fend for themselves.

    Thus why bullying exists in today’s workforce.

    Mediocrity gets honored and GOOD as good was once honored is tossed out in the name of tolerance.

    I was already shut out of one bully website for basically saying the same…but I will try again to say it. Affirmative action is a deceptive phrase that affirms not good actions but ‘the person’ affirms the esteem of a weak and insecure person…and that does nothing to really help anyone. The affirmed person never ‘earned their place of standing’ and the insecurity remains.

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Valerie Cade, CSP is a Workplace Bullying Expert, Speaker and Author of "Bully Free at Work: What You Can Do To Stop Workplace Bullying Now!" which has been distributed in over 100 countries worldwide. For presentations and consulting on workplace bullying prevention and respectful workplace implementation, go to

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