About Respect

What does respect feel like?

Respect is about knowing that your feelings are just as important as everyone else’s and that you deserve to be treated well…by yourself as well as by other people. Being different is OK - you are a unique and special human being with feelings, needs and rights – there’s no one else quite like you!

If you want to know someone better, then respect between the two of you is about honesty, trust and communication. We all have rights and responsibilities. It’s important to trust your instincts, to ask for help and to speak up for yourself. See Feeling confident.

It’s also important to respect other people. This isn’t necessarily about admiring them, liking them or expecting them to ‘earn’ it. Everyone’s entitled to their own feelings and points of view, even if we don’t know them or agree with them. People who have respect for others don’t discriminate or bully, because they understand that other people’s feelings are just as important as their own.

People who respect others will always avoid harming them, in any way, because they understand that everyone has a right to wellbeing.

How can I show respect?

If you want to know someone better, then respect between the two of you is about honesty, trust and communication. This is the kind of respect that can really help a relationship work better. 

  • Talking together with the other person can help you understand where you’re both coming from. 
  • Really listening properly too (not just stopping talking once in a while!) can really help to build trust and understanding.

If you can get these right, then life will be lot easier if you come up against the more difficult times in your relationships.

YOU know it's respectful when:

  • Your partner likes you just the way you are.
  • They don't expect you to look, act, dress or behave a certain way.
  • They care about what you want, not just what they want.
  • When it comes to sex, they are willing to wait until you're both ready, and wouldn't try and make you do anything you didn't want to, for example something they'd seen online.
  • You trust each other and can confide things in each other that you both know will stay private, just between the two of you.
  • You enjoy the relationship.

How can I tell if there’s a lack of respect?

Sometimes, when there is a lack of respect in a relationship, one partner may abuse their power and inflict harm on the other person. See Sexual abuse.

This can happens through social media, for example your partner might always be checking up on you or posting things you don't want them to.

Or there could be a lack of respect when you are together - this could be emotional, physical or sexual harm, and all of these are always unacceptable.  If you feel that there is a lack of respect in your relationship, or an abuse of power, talk to someone you know that you can trust


Consent is crucial to a respectful relationship. When you give consent, you are giving the other person permission to go ahead with something. In a sexual situation nothing should ever happen without your consent, and you can withdraw your consent at any point. Your partner should never continue to try having sex with you if you are not consenting (this could include being drunk or asleep). If they do continue without your consent, this is sexual assault or rape and they can be charged.