Respect – Is it always earned?

Hello and Welcome to Sweeney’s Blogs!

Today’s blog is going to be about respect. I have been interested in doing a blog on respect for quite a while now, I just wasn’t sure whether to do it as a series or as a single blog. What I am thinking now is to do it as a solo blog for now and then if there is interest in it I will launch it as a series in the future, looking at the topic in more depth.

Respect can be shown in a number of different ways. People can earn respect through their age, their status, their job position and their life achievements to name but a few. We are taught when we grow up to always respect our elders, an important lesson I’m sure everyone can agree on but it does raise the question, is respect always earned?

This question is not meant to make it look like I have a lack of respect as this is not the case. I was brought up to always respect people and to treat people the way I would want them to treat me. I am the sort of person who values everyone’s needs before my own, which is an attribute that brings both positive and negative results. It took me a long time to notice that not all people are brought up the same.

Growing up I always use to go for a walk around the country roads near my house. Whilst on these walks we always use to stop and have a chat with the other walkers. This was something that I thought was a very common thing to do. I grew up in quite a close community where everyone knew each other and everyone would more than happily stop for a chat or even just say hello as you walked past.

It was only when I got to Year 11 in school where I decided to do my own little experiment that I noticed that not everyone had the time to stop and talk. The experiment that I did was based off how I got my food during lunchtime each day. During lunchtimes in Year 11 at my secondary school, we were allowed to go into the local town to get our food. This is how I first thought of the idea for my experiment.

I used to go to the same cafe every day for my lunch at school. The cafe was about a five-minute walk away from the school. Whilst walking to the cafe/sandwich shop I would always say hello to the people that I passed. The experiment here was to see how many people responded when I said hello to them. My goal of the experiment was to see how many people/ if any would actually respond to me saying hello and whether there was a difference in the responses between generations. The results that I did get were very surprising.

When conducting the experiment I said hello to 39 different people that I walked past, not counting other students in my year as they all responded. Out of the 39 people, only 2 people responded to me. One was a lady that use to help out in the local brass band that I was in and the other person was an older lady walking to the shops. If we break it down to the stats it does not look good.

Statistically speaking only 5.12% of the people that I actually said hello to responded. That means a major 94.88% of people simply did not respond to me. We can use these stats as an estimate to enlarge our sample size. Imagine now I said hello to 100 different people. Using these stats we can estimate that 5 of them will actually respond and the other 95 will simply ignore/not acknowledge it. These statistics further ask the question, is respect always given or should it be earned?

I understand that this is only one small experiment that I did but it still does paint quite an interesting picture. The experiment certainly makes me think of how I speak to people who I pass on the street. I always say hello to the people I pass however this experiment shows that the respect may not always be mutual. It’s quite an unfortunate insight into how respect can be perceived but it also makes you think a little bit more into how you treat others.

I am not saying that if you do not say hello to every person you pass on the street makes you a bad person as that is not the case. The main premise is that if someone takes the time to say hello to you then isn’t it a common decency to respond? We can also look at this from a mental health perspective. As I mention in quite a few of my blogs, especially my male mental health ones, simply saying hello to someone who is having a really bad day can make the world of difference to them.

Simply taking the time to have a quick conversation with someone, it doesn’t even have to be long, can really brighten up their day. Let’s try and do another challenge on this page. The next time you go to town and walk down a street say hello to a few people and see how many respond. Let me know how it goes! Did people respond? Were they people that you already knew or people that you have not spoken to before? Did it make you feel better about yourself? Leave a comment with how it went or get in touch with me through the contact page or on our Facebook page!

Thank you for reading today’s blog! What do you all think? Is respect always just given or should it be earned? Is it one or the other or even both? Do you think I should do a whole series on respect covering all areas or leave it as a ew smaller single blogs? Let me know what you think! I appreciate all feedback, be it positive or negative!

Thanks again,

Sweeney’s Blogs

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