Respect Shouldn’t Be Forgotten in Time of Chaos

Rowan MacIntyre, Staff Writer

In today’s world, news is everywhere. It’s on our phones in news apps and social media, it’s played out of speakers from radio stations and podcasts, it’s the center of our conversations. With news being so prevalent in our daily lives, everyone has developed their own opinions about what’s going on, opinions that, as the logical fallacy goes, they are entitled to. 

So if everyone is entitled to their own opinion, they must be entitled to others’ respect for that opinion, right? Absolutely. The problem is, many people aren’t respecting others’ opinions the way that they should. People get harassed for their political affiliations, lose friendships over differences of opinion, and hyperboles become common labels. 

Respecting someone’s opinion that you disagree with can seem hard, especially when it comes to someone who you don’t see eye-to-eye with on major issues that have direct impacts on your life and wellbeing. But it really isn’t. According to Advances in Motivation Science, Volume 3, the definition of respect is as follows: “By respect, we mean that people are impelled to treat each other as individuals of goodwill and competence, even if they do not privately believe it.” 

All respect means is that you just don’t say anything mean. You don’t have to say that you agree with someone in order to be respectful. You can tell them that you disagree. You can lay out the reasons why you think that you are right. Don’t explain to them why they are wrong. Don’t make them feel bad. Be kind. Be respectful. 

But why is it so important to be respectful? It can be difficult, and what does it matter if someone’s feelings get a little hurt? 

Respecting someone else’s opinion is important because that is the only way that change could possibly be made. People are resistant to changing their ideas and opinions, and that reluctance only worsens if they are urged to do so in a disrespectful way. 

When trying to change someone’s opinion on a topic, be gentle. Don’t explain why their thoughts are backwards or wrong, just talk about why you think that you are right. Try to have a debate, not an argument. 

Being respectful seems like something that’s easy and even not that important at times. It seems like one of those pieces of advice that is given but never taken. But it is important. Respect is the foundation of all relationships, and the moment that it is lost, friendships and partnerships are too.