Recently, something happened that made me really reflect on the concept of respect. In general when we are referring to respect, we first think of courtesy, rhetoric and politeness. However, these things do not completely make up respect.
My friend asked me to help him translate some passages one day. I had a lot on my plate so I didn’t have much time. I asked him if the translation was urgent, and he replied that he indeed was in a hurry since he needed to upload the passages to the internet in the next few days.
If you only look at his dialogue, it seems that he was very respectful – everything he said was polite. There were phrases like “sorry to trouble you” and “I’m very grateful” and the like. The underlying tone of his words, however, was passive aggressive and urgent. He was only concerned about his own needs and did not stop to consider whether or not it was convenient for me or that my work is also a priority.
People easily assume that they are center of the world. When they encounter obstacles they first think of themselves, and when others sacrifice their time to help them, they will never be satisfied until their own problems finally resolved. Even if they’re grateful, they have no right to be so selfish – everyone has their own life to worry about. When others take the time and effort to help us, we should be aware that they are not obliged to do so.
Respect is not only shown in people’s rhetoric – a courteous surface doesn’t mean everything. Respect and consideration for other people’s time is real respect.
Transaction： Ireen Chau