Respect vs Courtesy

Originally posted January 5, 2019.

I posted this on LinkedIn, but I think it has relevance here to, in the SCA and non-corporate life.

Respect vs Courtesy

I frequently see people say that we should always treat other people with Respect and at the same time, I frequently see people say that Respect is earned. It seems to me that this is because people are using the word “respect” in two different ways, and in one of those ways, we really should be using the word Courtesy instead.

Courtesy is something granted anyone I meet. It’s being polite. It’s being kind. It’s doing things like learning preferred pronouns and using them, or working to pronounce a name properly. Speaking to someone disrespectfully is really speaking to them with dis-courteousness.

Respect is earned. It’s the product of a relationship. It’s not that I don’t respect you, I just don’t know you yet. So as I get to know you, I will (hopefully) begin to respect you. That means that I will share things with you that I don’t share with people I don’t know.

If I had to put them on a kind of a timeline of a relationship, a positive one would go something like this:

Courtesy —> Respect —> Trust