How to Maintain Respect in Male-Female Relationships
All male-female relationships are special. Some have the potential for progress to marriage and family. Others remain in the cherished mode of friendship and operate on a less intimate level.
In either group, respect is the relationship ingredient that determines whether the friend says, “Just the way I like it,” or “Something’s missing; not good enough.”
Respect outlasts temporary friendships, and help creates positive memories.
Whether or not the friendship becomes permanent, these guidelines will help you to build on respect and enjoy your time together.
Are you just tennis partners, or are you pursuing a more intimate relationship? What do you expect from each other? It is not unusual for the man and the woman in the same relationship to answer these questions differently. In such a situation, it is clear that they have not discussed the premise for the relationship.
The woman may cherish the friendship because he is very effective at helping her develop her backhand stroke. He may enjoy her attention because he likes the way she strokes his ego, and he envisions transforming her from tennis partner into life partner. If one does not understand the intention of the other, she could feel disrespected when he tries to invade her personal space; he could feel slighted when she refuses to let him hold her hand.
To ensure and appreciate mutual respect, discuss purpose, direction and expectations for the friendship. No, there doesn't have to be a questionnaire. Early in the relationship, find a way to steer the conversation into an analysis of your options.
Boost Self-Respect (87 Seconds)
Know and protect your identity. Shape your concept of you by your beliefs and your goals, not by your friend’s opinions or preferences. Insist on being respected for who you are.
During the early stage of a special friendship, either the man or the woman may try hard to please the other and compromise in areas where they hold different views. Truth is, respect accommodates individuality and differences. True friendship allows friends to develop into the unique masterpiece each was designed to be. It is the responsibility of each friend to paint a portrait of the desired finished product for the other to see.
Decide what is and what is not acceptable. If you’re just tennis partners, why use names like “sweetheart” and “honey bun”? Why the tight clasp around the shoulders like a property owner marking territory? If you don’t appreciate it, don’t just squirm. Say something; say it friendly.
Many adults continue with unacceptable behavior because they were never reprimanded by former friends. They may offend in what they say or how they say it; what they wear or not wear in public; flirting with other friends during the house party; trying to steal an intimate kiss; taking it for granted that they can use a friend’s car without permission, or that they can spend the night at the friend’s house.
Express your disappointment and discuss alternative behavior when you need to. You may become an agent of positive change in your friend’s life. Of course, if your friend knows better but insists on being disrespectful, respect yourself by changing or ending the relationship. It is possible though, in the absence of abuse, to change the level of friendship and maintain respect for each other.
Establish Trust and Honesty
James Langdon Hill wrote: “Friendship . . . is an indefinable trust we repose in one another, a constant communication between two minds, and an unremitting anxiety for each other's souls.” This kind of friendship is desirable in all meaningful friendships, but especially between two people who consider the possibility of becoming man and wife.
Respect feeds on trust. Trust feeds on honesty. Honesty is a virtue which cannot always be proven; but among friends who learn to trust each other, there will be no need to prove it.
Establish the Golden Rule
Contrary to what some say, respect does not have to be earned. (Trust, not respect, must be earned). Everyone deserves respect on the basis that everyone has value. The Golden Rule requires you to be the kind of friend you want to have. In other words, give respect in the same manner and measure you would like to receive it.
Respect each other despite your differences. Respect the other person’s self-worth. Respect the boundaries you establish.
Develop such respect and appreciation for each other that even if the friendship ends, you and your friend can maintain mutual respect.