Be Treated Respectfully: How to Set Limits w/ Pushy People | #PeopleSkills

Be Treated Respectfully: How to Respond to Disrespect

What would you say to someone who is disrespecting you? How would you respond to pushy people who show no consideration for your view?

Would you take offense, get angry, and tell them off? Would you say nothing and simmer in anger? Or would you walk away and avoid them in the future? There is a much better way.

Be Treated Respectfully: Image is hand up in front of the sun.

Be Treated Respectfully: Set Limits w/ Pushy People Image by: _RedHeat

Image by _RedHeat via Flickr Creative Commons License.

How to Set Limits on Disrespect & Be Treated Respectfully

There are many ways to behave in the face of disrespect. In one-off interactions, you might ignore it realizing you will never see that person again. You value your serenity and believe in yourself so why bother with it.

Yet when it happens with people you will be around frequently, ignoring disrespect can undermine the health of relationships. You overlook it, remain silent and one day your anger erupts when you’ve had enough. The offender then says “why didn’t you tell me sooner?”

To respond to disrespect and be treated respectfully …

  1. Calmly and firmly say: “Stop. You will not speak to me that way” or “Stop. Please do not speak to me that way.”
  2. Continue with: “I show you basic respect. I ask the same in return.”

If the offender is your boss at work and you cannot respond this way, calmly say: “You have my full attention even without yelling. I am actually more productive that way.” It’s respectful; it communicates commitment; it educates them on your needs. If it is an interaction with a customer, find out from your manager/leader how they want you to respond. I have suggestions for them if they are not sure.

In both instances you have a dual purpose: Set limits and be treated respectfully. The bonus is that you help others see beyond their own needs. Picture this image of mutual respect and communicate with calm confidence.

Be Treated Respectfully: Image is handshake.

Be Treated Respectfully: Image by Casa Thomas Jefferson via Flickr.

Image by Casa Thomas Jefferson via Flickr Creative Commons License

Treated Respectfully: Calm Confidence is Key

Confident communication is key to being treated respectfully. Initially the offenders may claim you took it the wrong way. Others may apologize to you and thank you for telling them. Yes it does happen. Either way, you have set limits by showing respect for yourself and them without yelling. It works.

What successes have you had in setting limits? Please share with us!

From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

Related Posts:
Are You Brutally Blunt or Helpfully Honest?
The Perfect Apology and the ONE Word That Destroys It
11 Steps to Being Authentic Without Scaring People Away

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Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

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4 Responses to “Be Treated Respectfully: How to Set Limits w/ Pushy People | #PeopleSkills”

  1. Khalid says:

    Hi Kate,

    I’m having a big dilemma with this! My boss’s boss always treat whoever communicate with him with disrespectful language. Sometimes he throws slang words with cracking jokes. He isn’t professional at all but we all know that he doesn’t really mean harm. He does this with everybody. He treats me well though when it comes to serious work and that’s something I’m happy about but he still goes back to his bad behavior in other occasions. My immediate boss always tell us to ignore his mistreatment but there are times one feels about to explode.

    He’s got another two years for retirement and we are all hopeful that time passes fast 🙂 at times I feel we are helping him continue this way but we really have no choice but quitting a good place to work for regardless.


    • Kate Nasser says:

      Hi Khalid,
      If everyone realizes that he means no harm and you each are willing to overlook it, then there is no dilemma. We can’t control how others behave. We can make choices and you all have made one that works for you for now.

      Many thanks for your comment here. You always add so much to these discussions!

  2. Charlene says:

    What a small article with great impact. I’ve had success by letting the person know that the approach that they were taking was inappropriate and that I will talk to them when the change their approach. It really does help to point out when someone is not really engaged in “adult conversation” (not childlike).

    • Kate Nasser says:

      Dear Charlene,
      Many thanks for your comment. I appreciate your contributing here.

      Hope you will visit again and add your perspective on any post that catches your attention.

      Gratefully yours,

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