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The tricky thing about disrespect is that it often requires some level of discernment to identify. Of course, you have your blatant acts of disrespect, such as overstepping physical boundaries and verbal attacks, but signs that a person has minimal respect for you are often much more subtle. In many cases, disrespect consists of a series of small acts that leave you feeling offended, angry, and perhaps even confused. Subtle disrespect will often have you second-guessing yourself. It makes you wonder if the offender is simply careless and inconsiderate or if they actually meant to slight you. It can make you question whether your feelings are justified or if you are being overly sensitive.

“Incivility can take much more subtle forms, and it is often prompted by thoughtlessness rather than actual malice,” the Harvard Business Review explains. “Such relatively minor acts can be even more insidious than overt bullying, because they are less obvious and easier to overlook—yet they add up, eroding engagement and morale.”

When these actions are consistent and habitual, whether they’re a result of thoughtlessness or malice, failure to address them and establish clear boundaries will lead to strong feelings of resentment and damage the relationship over time. Disrespect is like cancer to both professional and personal relationships, but the first step to rectifying the problem is confidently identifying it in the first place.

Talking over you

In informal conversations, it’s not uncommon for friends and relatives to interrupt one another or speak simultaneously as they excitedly chatter about a subject of mutual interest.  However, repeatedly speaking over people during serious conversations or in an academic or professional setting is disrespectful and sends the message that one person feels that their contributions or thoughts are more important than the person whom they are interrupting.

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