You Teach People How to Treat You

How do people treat you? Are you constantly mistreated and undermined? Have you found yourself googling “how to demand respect”? Believe it or not, there’s a good chance that you are a large factor in your own poor treatment.

My former co-worker is a great example of this. She would always complain about management being meaner to her than everyone else. She was a great colleague, but for some reason, she was never regarded in high esteem by the higher-ups.

One day as she was talking to me about her frustration, she said, “It’s always like this at my jobs! People think I’m an easy target who will let them get away with anything.”

Finally, it hit me. This wasn’t a rare case—she’s the common denominator. There’s obviously something that she’s doing to contribute to how people are treating her. And there is.

With every interaction you have, you’re teaching people how to treat you. Your reactions and responses build the boundaries for each relationship you have. Not setting such boundaries could evolve into you subconsciously becoming a pushover; and once that happens, it’s difficult to change that image.

On the other hand, you also don’t want to build your boundaries so far away that people are terrified to interact with you. Doing that just makes you a bully.

As I said, you are a large factor in your own treatment. The fault is not solely yours, but it’s important to know that you do have some control over it.

Once you find a healthy balance of boundaries in your relationships—whether you’re the boss or employee—you’ll automatically have the level of respect you want (without having to google it).

Hope Boyd
Written by:
Hope Boyd
Director of Communications, Strategic Government Resources

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