Skip to content

Handling Disrespect

December 22, 2011

From AlphaPersona’s site:

Hey alpha,

I’m not sure if you’ve covered anything about handling disrespect from peers, especially coming from friends in social situations. It’s a problem i’ve been having lately and I’m never sure if I should just laugh it off with them or take it serious. Most of the time I just laugh it off and don’t think of it much. However, lately i’m getting gunned by my buddies a lot and aren’t sure on how to handle it.


It seems this individual, still somewhat unsure of himself, has recently begun to try to get his stuff together and gain confidence in social siutations. He’s becoming annoyed by the antics of his friends and would like them to stop, yet he does not know how to communicate that to them. Truth be told, a lack of effective communication is at the core of issues like these.

First off, if the disrespectful conduct of someone annoys you, then be honest. Trying to look tough or laugh along will only make the situation worse.

Here, it’s best to confront (not aggressively, but assertively) your buddy by pulling him to the side and letting him know 1) what’s going on (comments are crossing the line) 2) How it affects you (let him know it’s bothering you) 3) What needs to happen (he has to stop disrespecting you). For instance, you can pull a buddy aside and in a gentle yet firm manner, tell him something like this:

Hey man, don’t mean to over-dramatize this, but your comments have really been crossing the line lately. I know you’re joking, but I feel disrespected. Just try to watch what you say from now on.  

Really, it’s no big deal. The key here is to have complete communication which gets across the situation, your feelings about it, and what you want to happen. No need to memorize the above example, since it’s just that: an example. The more candid and fluid you are, you’ll be perceived as genuine and your communication will most likely be effective. Make it a point to practice this type of communication in any situation.

If the Problem Persists

If after you’ve talked to this individual, and he repeatedly pushes you (or goes even further than before), then you have a few options:

Call him on it: This time, publicly. Depending on the severity of the incident, let him know on the spot that he’s being disrespectful and demand he put an end to it.

Stop associating with them (recommended): As one commenter aptly noted, one in this situation should really re-evaluate his friendships. Truth is, relationships are critical for us as humans. Your friends are either adding to you or subtracting from you. If the latter is the case, you need to replace them.


Lastly, Respect yourself. You provide the best example of respect from yourself, and those who see you will likely follow suit in your own behavior.






From → Practical Steps

  1. Set boundaries early and quickly, dont take any kind of disrespect. This is fine:

    “Hey man, don’t mean to over-dramatize this, but your comments have really been crossing the line lately. I know you’re joking, but I feel disrespected. Just try to watch what you say from now on.”

    I´ve shrinked it though, and jump into the alpha part, which is: “hey, watch what you say” with a tone and a look. Thats enough.

  2. This brief exchange is effective if the speaker has a certain presence that can convey a complete message (tone/look for feelings/needs, etc.). If the boundaries are set early, even better.

    Guys making gradual changes likely cannot pull this off because 1) their body language will be incongruent with their message 2) their friends won’t take them seriously, and make fun of them more. Perhaps when they establish new boundaries, they can go from using less words and still communicate effectively.

  3. Yes, setting new boundaries with old friends, family, or people who have been transgressing your boundaries for a while… that would require a longer talk. Change is hard. They will fight it. Probably lots of negotiation and talking. And talking. What worked for me was to cut everyone loose, practice new boundaries with new / random people, then eventually contact family – old friends again.

    Negotiating change with people who doesnt want you to change (or dont understand why you change ) = hard.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Handling Disrespect: Man Up! Edition « Permanent Guest

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: