Have you ever gotten the feeling that someone doesn’t show you the respect you deserve?
It can be hard to tell, as we’re often programmed to second-guess our intuition, by being told that we’re overreacting or “taking things the wrong way” when we feel people are mistreating us.
If you’re not sure whether someone respects you, here are 14 red flags to watch out for in their behavior:
1. They interrupt you frequently.
This may take the form of talking over you, contradicting what you’re saying, not waiting for you to finish speaking before they say their piece, or abruptly changing the subject.
All these actions show a noted lack of respect, especially if they’re done in front of other people.
Basically, this person is making it clear that what you say has little importance to them, and that whatever they want to talk about is far better or more interesting.
Additionally, they don’t consider you to be someone worthy of either their attention or their patience, so they rush you along or cut you off so they can have the floor instead.
It’s important to note that people who are autistic or ADHD may struggle with reading cues sometimes and thus interrupt unintentionally, but this behavior from a neurotypical person is wholly disrespectful.
2. They put you down or belittle you in front of others.
Few things scream ‘disrespect’ as much as someone putting you down or belittling you in front of other people.
This is a tactic that’s often used by insecure people to make themselves look better than others by comparison. They’ll try to endear themselves to those around them by making you the butt of a joke, or by insulting you to make them seem superior.
This can also manifest as bullying, for example taking something important from you when you’re in a group environment and then laughing at your distress by saying that you can’t take a joke.
Extra reading: How To Deal With Someone Who Humiliates You In Public
3. They speak condescendingly towards you.
A telltale sign that someone doesn’t respect you is if they speak differently to you than they speak to others.
For example, a partner who speaks to you like you’re an incompetent child because you didn’t put the cutlery away ‘properly’, or a coworker who explains things using exaggerated gestures and speaking v e r y s l o w l y like you’re an imbecile who might understand what they’re saying if they dumb it down sufficiently.
Another big red flag is if they refer to you by an infantilizing ‘pet’ name.
This can be difficult to discern in certain areas, as some cultures use endearing phrases like ‘honey’ in the southern USA or ‘flower’ in northeastern England.
If you can rule affection out, however, then you know it’s merely flagrant disrespect.
4. They don’t keep their word.
Someone who doesn’t respect you may agree to do things in the moment to shut you up, even though they have no intention of keeping their word.
They’ll only keep promises to those who matter to them, otherwise they can’t be bothered.
This behavior can extend to agreeing to an action plan with you, and then doing whatever they want regardless of what had been agreed.
If you agreed to bring beer to someone’s BBQ and they said they’d bring the hotdogs, but you arrive to find they’ve supplied a keg without telling you (much to everyone’s delight), not only do they not respect you: they’re trying to one-up you.
5. They dismiss your input.
A person who doesn’t respect you will see no value in your ideas or opinions.
Your perspective means nothing to them, and on a fundamental level, they don’t believe you have anything worthwhile to contribute.
For example, let’s say you’re in a meeting at work, and your boss is asking for people’s input on a subject.
You bring up an ideal solution, but they just tell you, “That won’t work” and change the subject, without any explanation as to why they’re rejecting it.
Furthermore, if someone else makes the same suggestion, your boss says it’s as a great idea—just not when it comes from you.
6. They make decisions without consulting you.
If someone doesn’t respect you, they likely see you as an accessory in their life rather than an autonomous being with your own thoughts and preferences.
As such, they’re likely to make decisions without consulting you, because why would they? It’s not as though your input matters to them: they’re doing what they want or think is best, and expect you to dutifully fall in line and accept it.
These decisions may range from ordering for you at a restaurant or making social plans without consulting you, to giving you responsibilities you didn’t agree to or making major financial decisions for you both without bothering to talk to you about them first.
To them, either your input simply doesn’t matter enough to consult you about it, or they assume you’ll go along with whatever they feel is best, because well, it is. Right?
7. They answer for you.
A person who doesn’t respect you doesn’t respect your autonomy or your perspective.
Furthermore, they likely see themselves as superior to you, and may even look upon you as though you were a child, regardless of your age, social status, job position, etc.
Because of this, they feel that they know everything about you and that they’re in a position to speak on your behalf.
In reality, they likely know very little about you, but instead cling to their perceptions of who you are.
As such, if you’re in a group and someone asks you a question about your interests or pursuits, they’ll answer for you based on what they think you’re all about.
Then, if you correct or contradict them, they’ll behave as if you’re intentionally lying to undermine them rather than acknowledging that they don’t actually know the real answer.
8. They cheat you or betray your trust.
This is a huge red flag, and one that should be paid attention to—even if the betrayal seems insignificant.
Something as subtle as an acquaintance or coworker ‘forgetting’ to give you all your change back after a coffee run is a major sign of disrespect.
Furthermore, they may be testing the waters to see what they’re able to get away with. If they can cheat you on something this small, they’re likely to take more liberties in the future, like claiming your work as theirs or changing the parameters of a financial agreement.
The same goes for a partner or family member who takes liberties with your personal space of possessions.
For example, you catch your partner going through your phone without permission and they turn things back on you by saying that if you didn’t have anything to hide, you wouldn’t have a problem with them checking it.
9. They overstep established boundaries and punish you if you resist.
Does this person ignore boundaries you’ve set as though they’re irrelevant and not worth paying attention to?
If the answer is yes, they don’t respect you. End of.
If a person doesn’t respect you, then by extension they are not motivated to respect your boundaries.
They might see them as childish and irrelevant, or believe themselves to be in such a dominant position that those boundaries don’t apply to them. Furthermore, they believe that their reasons for overstepping overrule your reasons for establishing them.
For example, let’s say you (an adult) have to temporarily move back in with your family, but you make it clear that you don’t want them going into your room.
Later, you find out that your mother has gone into the room and ‘tidied’ it up for you.
If you remind her of the boundary you established, she’ll dismiss it because she’s ‘your mother’ and thus has full right to do so, and may try to shame you for your lack of gratitude.
You didn’t want this and didn’t permit it, but it’s done regardless, with you left as the bad person for trying to defend a perfectly reasonable personal boundary.
10. They tell other people things you said to them in confidence.
If you’ve ever told someone something in confidence only to have someone else approach you about the issue later, you’ll remember that sinking feeling in your gut when you realize your confidence has been betrayed.
Many people struggle with secrets or personal issues and may find it difficult to open up and trust people about them.
As such, if you take a chance and talk to someone about something important to you, it’s a massive show of trust and vulnerability.
If someone else in your social circle later offers unsolicited advice about this exact issue, it’s a huge red flag that the person you confided in doesn’t respect you enough to keep their mouth shut.
11. They pull negative microexpressions.
Anyone who’s played poker knows that people have ‘tells’.
These microexpressions are subconscious signs about what a person is thinking or feeling—usually when they’re trying to hide their real feelings from another.
A person who doesn’t respect you may show said disrespect on a subconscious level through their body language.
Look for subtle eyebrow twitches, eye-rolls, glazed facial expressions, turning their body away from you, and even small twitches around the mouth that imply disdain or bemusement when you’re talking.
12. They don’t respect your property.
Someone who doesn’t respect you, won’t respect your belongings either.
They don’t see you as an equal, and by extension, the things you own don’t matter.
They might use them without your permission, or break them and then not bother to pay for the damage or replace them.
Although this can happen in a romantic relationship, it’s just as common with peers, housemates, family members, and coworkers.
To them, what’s yours is theirs to use as well, and since your feelings about these things don’t matter, they don’t care if you get upset about them using or breaking them.
13. They don’t apologize or do so insincerely.
A person who doesn’t respect you doesn’t care if they damage you on any level.
As such, they see no point in apologizing to you, because why would they? Would they apologize to a toaster for knocking it over? That’s about how much value you have as a human being in their eyes.
If they’re forced to apologize to you for one reason or another, it’ll be insincere.
Either they’ll offer a flaccid non-apology like, “I’m sorry you feel that way”, or find a way around a real apology by using a different language (e.g. “mea culpa”), or by making a joke about it and trying to change the subject instead.
All these behaviours are red flags signalling intense disrespect.
If you find that someone is exhibiting these traits on a regular basis, perhaps it’s time to reconsider having them in your life.
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