(by Dawson McAllister)
I’ve talked to thousands of guys and girls over the years on my radio show who are torn apart because they can’t make a dating relationship work. I often wish I could re-wind the current mess they are in and give them advice on how to respect each other. I am convinced one of the best ways to help any relationship grow is by showing respect.
It seems like sometimes people are so desperate for the slightest amount of attention that they settle for something much less than respect. However, over time they are left empty because they feel belittled, insignificant, unimportant, used, and the list could go on.
Everyone longs to know that someone values what they think and feel…that someone admires their qualities and achievements.
And while guys and girls alike desire respect, I believe that often the actions and attitudes that make a guy feel respected are different than what makes a girl feel respected.
A while back I had asked my audience what made them feel respected. Many guys and girls responded to the question. I found their answers very insightful. It was clear that guys and girls interpret respect in some different ways. Maybe if young adults understood some of these differences upfront we could alleviate a lot of unnecessary pain and confusion in relationships.
Perhaps you know teens or young adults that could use advice about how to show respect to one another as they start dating. And while it’s important they know how to show respect, it is equally important for them to realize how they deserve to be treated with respect.
So how does a guy show respect to a girl? Or how does a girl show a guy that she values him? I’ve come up with a list for girls and a separate list guys based on many of the answers I received.
How A Girl Shows Respect To A Guy:
- To respect a guy, don’t play with his sexuality and drives. She doesn’t use her body to manipulate him. Girls have an incredible power to control guys with their appearance, simply because guys are driven so intensely by what they see when they look at a girl and the beauty of her body. She should cause him to love and see her as a person, and not just as an object. Dressing modestly and refusing to be flirtatious, also demonstrates she isn’t trying to attract other guys.
- Ask his opinion. Guys in particular crave to be looked at as a leader…as someone whose ideas are important. Guys want to know their girl is interested in what they think. He feels respected when she cares about how he thinks and feels. Then when she takes the time to listen, it’s even more powerful. He will feel deeply valued.
- Don’t try to put words in his mouth. If she tries to put words into her boyfriend’s mouth, she sends the message that she doesn’t think he’s smart enough to know what to say. Sometimes guys have a hard time communicating, especially their thoughts and emotions. There are going to be many times he wants her to know what he’s feeling, but he is just going to need a little more time actually getting it out. It is good, however, to repeat back to him what she heard him say, so they are both are on the same page.
- She encourages and supports him. Guys easily feel belittled by girls. When she cheers on her man, she is breathing life into his soul. Telling him she believes in him and supports what he is attempting to achieve is a very powerful way to show respect. When he feels that support, the confidence she is pouring into him will help him to feel invincible. Someone once said, Behind every great man, is a great woman. Some girls are so stuck on their own needs they can’t seem to give encouragement and inspiration to the guys they know. So give a guy a gift he will never forget: the gift of encouragement.
- She knows she doesn’t own him. She doesn’t demand he be there for her 24 hours a day. Just because they’re dating, doesn’t put her in charge of his life. Let him have his own life, make his own decisions, spend time with his friends. This shows you respect him, and will make her more attractive to him.
- She must respect herself. There are many girls who are extremely insecure and are convinced they are not worth being loved or respected by others. So they end up sabotaging their relationships with guys because of their low self-esteem. Essentially every time she questions his love or put herself down, she is communicating that her boyfriend’s opinions of her don’t mean anything to her and she is not respecting the guy’s opinion.
How A Guy Shows Respect To A Girl:
- He talks with her in a courteous way. Put another way, he doesn’t talk trash to her. He doesn’t swear, tell dirty jokes, or use filthy words around her. Making jokes about her body, is never appropriate or talking behind her back. He never texts her with cruel or biting comments, and he is there to defend her if somebody does.
- He will never try to take advantage of her sexually. This is a big one. A guy shows respect by not pressuring a girl to do things she does not want to do. He respects her morals and strives to hold himself to the same high moral standard. A girl should be seen as a treasure, not a magnet for the guy to be attached to.
- He gives her time and attention. All women love the gift of time and attention. It’s a gift that can’t be bought. It’s also a gift she can clearly see and experience. A guy gives her this gift by talking with her and asking questions about her life. He refuses to brag about his own accomplishments to try and impress her.
- He doesn’t flirt with other girls. When a guy is dating a girl and he flirts with other girls, he shows her he’s not committed to her, and that she is no more special to him than all the other girls.
- He points out her strengths. Let her know how amazing she is and how impressed you are by her talents and gifts. Everyone needs to be encouraged.
- He shows respect for her family and her other friends. Let’s face it. A person’s family has a huge impact on the person you are dating. To disrespect that family is to disregard one of the most vital parts of their life.
- He helps her to feel welcome and comfortable in a group of other people, especially in a group of other guys. No girl wants to look stupid or feel uncomfortable in front of other people, especially guys. Many guys have made the horrible mistake of ignoring or belittling his girlfriend in front of his buddies. This is relational sabotage.
- He is trustworthy and trusts her in return. Guys keep your word and do what you say. Be upfront and honest. Your girlfriend will soon catch on if you are twisting the truth or leaving things out and this will make her feel that you don’t value her enough to be truthful with her. Likewise, give her your trust in return. Give her the space she wants and needs. If she says she’s going out with her friends, then she’s going out with her friends. You don’t need to call her every five minutes to see what she’s doing.
The best relationship advice is, of course, found in the Bible. All of the points above could be summarized with these few verses.
“Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Romans 12:10
“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 7:12
“For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:14
A great reminder for all of us to strive to love others without selfish motivations. This is the best way to show respect and find true joy.