Respect is interesting in that it is possible to respect people we don’t necessarily like. In these cases, respect can reflect a neutral, objective evaluation of a person’s skills, knowledge, accomplishments, or values. And it’s a two-way street: we may sometimes find ourselves seeking respect from people we don’t get along with. It’s perfectly natural to want to be liked, but it can be particularly satisfying to be respected.
Of course, not everyone craves the respect of others to the same degree – each personality type seeks validation in different ways. To find out how much respect matters to different personalities, we asked our community if they agreed with the statement, “It is important for you to be respected by others.”
An overwhelming majority (92%) agreed, but there were some subtle differences among personality traits:
Let’s take a closer look at the results below.
Diplomats and Sentinels (94% and 93% agreeing)
Diplomats and Sentinels alike may view respect as central to their purpose in life. Diplomats seek to understand others and create harmony, two things that can’t be achieved without mutual respect. As Feeling personality types, Diplomats care very much about their relationships with other people and may view respect as symbolic of a deep, meaningful connection.
Turbulent Protagonists (ENFJ-T) are a good example of this, and they were also the personality type that agreed with our statement the most, at a nearly unanimous rate of 98%. Protagonists often seek to inspire others, and Turbulent variants may worry about whether they’re making an impact. When they feel respected, they feel good about what they’re presenting to the world, because the reflection is positive – they’re getting back what they put in.
Respect is also a big part of how Sentinels operate, although in a different way. Sentinels generally hold deep respect for rules, systems, and traditions – and in upholding those values, they expect to be respected in return. As Judging types who seek order and sincere, stable relationships, knowing that they are respected helps Sentinels feel secure in their place in the hierarchy.
Explorers and Analysts (91% and 89%)
Explorers and Analysts share an independent streak, so even though the majority of them want to be respected, it’s not as essential to their activities and goals as it is for Diplomats and Sentinels.
As Prospecting personalities, Explorers tend to prioritize fulfilling personal experiences and to be a little more relaxed when it comes to the expectations of others. Those with the Feeling trait are more likely to desire respect as a confirmation of their interpersonal connections, while those with the Thinking trait are less concerned with the regard of other people.
In Analysts, we also see the impact of the Thinking trait, which tends to insulate them somewhat from social concerns and interpersonal relationships. Analysts are often more interested in doing what works than in whether people like or respect them. Of course, the vast majority of these personalities still want to be respected, perhaps for their intellect more than other subjective measures.
Assertive Logicians (INTP-A) and Assertive Virtuosos (ISTP-A) tied as the personality types least likely to agree that it’s important to be respected (76% each). Both of these types tend to become absorbed in their own pursuits, whether intellectual or practical in nature, and to put a high premium on personal freedom. Confident and independent, Assertive Logicians and Virtuosos are less likely to view the respect of others as essential to how they accomplish their goals.
Social Engagement and Constant Improvement (96% and 93% agreeing)
Having a Turbulent Identity proved to be the greatest factor in believing that the respect of others is important. Turbulent personalities (95%) were 6% more likely than Assertive personalities (89%) to agree with our statement. For Turbulent Social Engagers and Constant Improvers, other people’s opinions matter and earning respect is vital.
Social acceptance is a primary goal for Social Engagers, who are always paying attention to how others are reacting to them. These Extraverted personalities enjoy the company of others, and being respected affirms their hopes for their own social status and boosts their self-regard.
Constant Improvers, as Introverts, are usually more concerned with their personal performance than with their social status. These personalities put a great deal of energy into doing things right, and other people’s respect is rewarding and helps them feel more secure.
People Mastery (91%)
Extraverted, socially confident People Masters undoubtedly want to be respected, but they suffer a lot less emotional turmoil if they don’t get that treatment. Their Assertive Identity helps make them personally confident, and they direct their energy toward being active in their community, regardless of what other people think of them.
Confident Individualism (85%)
Confident Individualists, whose strong agreement is still notably below the other Strategies, aren’t antisocial as a rule by any means, but they do tend to be independent, self-fulfilled people who proceed relative to their own perceptions. It is important to them to be respected by others, it’s just not as important as it is to everyone else. Social relationships in general tend to be less of a priority for these Introverted, Assertive personalities, and they certainly don’t pin their sense of self-worth to anyone else’s opinion of them.
Relative differences aside, having the respect of others is clearly important to most people regardless of their personality type, though possibly for somewhat different reasons. Whether our goals relate to our work, our families, our passions, or our social lives, being respected by other people is a way for us to feel good about ourselves and what we’re doing with our lives. For many of us, this feedback is critical to happiness, but for others, it’s more of a positive reference point.
Self-doubting people who sometimes worry about what others think of them may view respect as acceptance – a sign that they have integrated well in the ways that are important to them. It may be easier for individualistic personalities to find some quality in themselves that helps counterbalance a need for the respect of others.
What does respect mean to you? Let us know in the comments below.