Discover more from Understandably by Bill Murphy Jr.
I want to respect your time
5 go-to phrases that seem to inspire respect. Also, 7 other things worth knowing today.
What do people want most in life? Money? Love? Security? Purpose?
Well, yes. Yes to all of these. But here's something else that almost everyone wants deeply: Respect.
Study after study has shown that respect ranks right at the top. Moreover, there are some go-to phrases you can use to train other people to treat you with respect.
They reflect three basic understandings:
People respect people who demonstrate self-respect.
People are less likely to disrespect people who respect them.
We communicate our respect for ourselves and others predominantly by the language we use.
I'm a big fan of making positive changes by doing simple things. So here are six magic phrases that help accomplish those goals:
1. "I can do what you ask, on condition that we X."
Almost every interaction in life includes at least the potential for negotiation. In many instances, one party in a conversation simply decides to go along with what the other person suggests.
However, there's rarely a downside to asking for something in return, even if you'd be willing to do what you've been asked anyway.
These can be small asks or big ones.
Yes, I can go with you; can we pick up my friend, too?
Sure, we can honor that coupon, but we'll need to schedule your service on one of these days.
I'm happy to help you with your chore this afternoon, but I'll need you to do the same for me tomorrow.
2. "Thank you for X. I'd like to do Y, instead."
Obviously, X and Y are variables here; you're going to replace them with something the other person has said or suggested [X], and whatever you'd like to suggest [Y]. But let's break this phrase down. It has three parts:
Politeness. Subtle but important. The entire reason that polite phrases exist is to defuse tension and communicate respect.
Acknowledgment. People want to be heard; they want to believe that other people are at least trying to understand what they say or do. They want you to acknowledge what they've articulated.
Suggestion. This is the key part, when you indicate that you have respect for your own ideas, your contributions, and your ability to contribute to any conversation.
The topic could be anything from suggesting where to go to dinner to what color shoes you ought to buy, to negotiating the contours of an important deal.
3. "I disagree."
One of the biggest compliments we give in our society, even regarding people we don't particularly like, is along the lines of "They say what they mean and they mean what they say."
We value honesty, people who say what they mean. However, it's also important to disagree without being disagreeable (unless you intentionally want to be disagreeable for strategic reasons).
A note to add here: Disagreeing is sometimes about articulating and expending your opposition while recognizing that sometimes you want to go along with things you disagree with anyway.
Why would you do that? Well, maybe the decision isn't really your call. Maybe you simply accept that you might not be right. Maybe you've delegated the decision.
Possibly, as Jeff Bezos famously popularized, saying that you "disagree and commit" -- leverages apprehension and encourages respect.
4. "Here's the plan."
It's Aristotle who is usually credited with making the observation, more than 2,500 years ago, that nature abhors a vacuum. Human interactions sometimes do, as well.
Stating that you have a plan or an idea or a proposal is like having the opportunity to serve (rather than return) in tennis. At the very least, it gives you the chance to set the rules, inspire respect, and let the other person react to your overtures.
Related concepts: It's advantageous to come up with the first draft of an agreement or other document. You're leveraging the other person's desire to have things settled and to be agreeable, and inspiring respect in the process.
5. "I'd like to ask ... "
No matter how you finish this phrase, chances are you'll be communicating to the other person that you respect something about them, and thus inspiring respect for you in return.
"Can I ask your opinion on ..." (Respect for their knowledge, tastes, etc.)
"I meant to ask you how your visit went." (Respect and affinity for their experiences and storytelling ability.)
"I'd like to ask for your forgiveness." (Respect for their feelings and their rights.)
At the masterclass level, even asking for big favors, with nothing in return (sort of doing the opposite end of number 1, above) suggests your respect for the other person's abilities.
Think of it as respect via flattery.
We could go on—but it's Friday, and I want to respect your time. So I invite you, please: Got a go-to phrase that inspires respect? Share it with us in the comments.
7 other things worth knowing today
Australia will remove the British monarch from its banknotes, replacing the late Queen Elizabeth II's image on its $5 note with a design honouring Indigenous culture, the central bank said Thursday. The decision to leave her successor King Charles III off the $5 note means no monarch would remain on Australia's paper currency. (AFP)
Internal U.S. migration numbers are out: Florida (318,855), Texas (230,961), and the Carolinas—North Carolina (99,796) and South Carolina (84,030)—were the states with the most net domestic migration gains in 2022. (Realtor.com)
A 60-year-old man died after participating in a brawl at a middle school basketball game, Vermont State Police said. "They were reffing the game, and the next thing he knew people were out on the court punching each other," a school official said. "There was one person that had blood all over their face. They got a parent to call the police." (Washington Post)
A single mom who ran an NSFW OnlyFans account is suing her children's school district after she was been banned from volunteering at their school, allegedly due to an anonymous tip about her online content. Victoria Triece's attorney: “It’s kind of like having a scarlet letter ... What she does in her off time is not illegal, yet we have a morality police with the Orange County school board and whatever administrators made this horrific decision.” (People)
Side hustle story: a 26-year-old med student bought a house by selling used clothes. "Without the side hustle, "I wouldn’t even have a savings account." (CNBC)
An Iranian couple in their early 20s have been sentenced to 10 years and six months in prison after posting a video of themselves dancing romantically, human rights activists said on Tuesday. Astiyazh Haghighi, 21, and her fiancé, Amir Mohammad Ahmadi, 22, were convicted of "promotion of impurity and indecency, assembly and collusion against national security, and propaganda against the regime," according to the group. (Insider)
British billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson, who was inspired to start an airline with a single Boeing 747 after getting stuck on a delayed flight, paid tribute to the Queen of the Skies on Tuesday as Boeing delivered its final jumbo jet. "It gave America and Boeing the leadership role in aviation," said Branson, the son of a flight attendant who founded Virgin Atlantic in 1984 after cold-calling Boeing as a successful record publisher to ask about a second-hand 747. (Reuters)