People have a way of revealing their inner character in all sorts of ways. Perhaps the most effective way to glean whether someone is worthy of respect or not is not by what they say but by what they don't.
Turns out there are all sorts of ways.
"Owning up to mistakes..."
Owning up to mistakes or times when you acted immaturely/like an asshole. I always respect when people admit they messed up instead of backtracking or trying to shift blame.
"I worked with a cigarette smoker..."
Being considerate of others. I worked with a cigarette smoker, who would hang his coat on his chair, rather than the coat rack everyone used. Someone asked him why he didn't hang his coat with everyone else's, and he said he didn't want his jacket leaving a cigarette scent on someone else's coat. A+ guy.
"When they're completely unfazed..."
When they're completely unfazed by peer pressure and don't feel the need to conform to the groups social norms.
There is however a difference between being contrarian and tactfully expressing an honest opposing opinion.
"When I see folks doing something to help another person..."
When I see folks doing something to help another person without telling anyone afterwards.
"Tidies up their table..."
Tidies up their table before leaving a restaurant. This makes it easier for servers or whoever is cleaning.
"When they genuinely listen..."Giphy
When they genuinely listen to you (or someone else in the room). It seems pretty rare for me to encounter nowadays.
"Standing up for someone else."
Standing up for someone else. Especially if they are in a higher station in life.
"When they have knowledge..."
When they have knowledge or a skill far above yours, are humble about it and even teach you to the best of their ability.
I respect my parents. I respect my most experienced coworker. I respect my martial arts coach.
"The older my parents get..."
Someone taking care of their aging parents.
The older my parents get, the more I want to smother them. I love them, but good god are they frustrating. When I see other people in the same position handling it like champs, I find it admirable. Bonus points when they don't have the same political and religious views as their parents. Because I feel their pain.
"Being a decent human being in general."
Being a decent human being in general - being kind to strangers and service employees, performing little acts of kindness on a whim, giving someone a genuine compliment, standing up for someone else - those kinds of things.
"Someone who always has a sense of humour..."
Someone who always has a sense of humour even in bad situations. They may not be happy on the inside but they still make the effort to make others feel happy and I love that about them.
"When they calmly remove their child..."Giphy
When they calmly remove their child from a situation that they cannot handle (like when they're losing their sh!t in a grocery store or becoming overly-stimulated at a party/fair/amusement park).
"When people become an expert..."
When people become an expert at their chosen skill.
I love to listen to people tell me about a topic they studied for years whether professionally or a hobby.
I appreciate the time they've committed to knowing as much as they can.
"Anyone that says 'please' and 'thank you'...
Anyone that says "please" and "thank you" to retail workers, food industry workers, and just being an overall good person to those who get the most flack. Many people treat those working in the service industry like servants who deserve no respect and seeing someone treat them like a fellow human being makes me smile. Also I may be biased since I worked in retail and I've seen and heard every insult under the sun.
"Someone who doesn't yell back..."
Someone who doesn't yell back when yelled at.
Someone who sees the good in people regardless of the shit behavior they receive.
Anyone who doesn't "jokingly" disregards opinions even if they were stupid.
"Putting people in their place."
Putting people in their place. If someone is being a dick for no reason and they get called out for it I respect whoever calls them out. We've got enough shit to deal with without people thinking happiness is illegal.
"But it makes me respect them..."
When someone helps someone else without expecting something in return. Rare honestly. But it makes me respect them for doing something for free just to help someone in need, major respect for volunteer workers.
"I was cheering for him in my front seat."Giphy
I saw a grown ass woman throw an entire bag of Wendy's out of her car window when she was done with it. A passing motorist practically slammed on brakes in front of her car, blocking her in, picked up the bag and chucked it back into her car. I was cheering for him in my front seat.
"When they can bow out..."
When they can bow out of gossiping or touchy conversational topics. I've yet to master this. Instead I resort to simply nodding, while offering no comments and then attempting to change the subject.
"I've met a lot of generous people..."
I've met a lot of generous people, but when someone is able to just drop everything and be there for you when you have a problem, they earn all my respect.
Racism is an insidious, and unfortunately prevalent, force in all of our daily lives. Maybe we're on the receiving end of it, being treated differently and losing opportunities because of others' preconceived notions.
Or maybe we're on the other side of things. Even those who aren't actively racist or discriminatory still have to process the world through the filters of the things they've been told about people who are different.