Social Question

Shippy's avatar

Are you respectful to people "older" than you?

Asked by Shippy (9870points) December 13th, 2012

Our culture may be or might not be different. But we always give a seat on a bus for example, to someone older than us. That would apply to disabled people too perhaps. (Not that I am equating the two).

Our bank queues are always long, as we are an over populated city. So we also move elders forward, to take our place.

I have a natural respect for people who have lived longer. At least to their person. I might not agree, but I would be careful of my choice of words etc., if I did decide to argue.

Do you have respect for elders in your city, town, or home? Or even on a personal level. Or not?

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32 Answers

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I help them out as much as possible. I don’t know if it’s respect as much as consideration.

janbb's avatar

They are becoming fewer and fewer! :-P

gailcalled's avatar

Why is “older’ in quotation marks. Do you mean something different from older?

I am respectful to everyone…why wouldn’t I be?

Until two years ago, we hung out with my 96 year old mother and her peers. Of course, we treated them with respect, as we did the much younger staff.

bookish1's avatar

I try to. Unless I am having a diabetic SNAFU and need to sit down, I will stand up to allow older people to have my bus seat (sometimes this offends them so I like to give them the choice to take the seat or not.) I call people older than me by “Ma’am” or “Sir,” which is quite acceptable in the American South even for people who are not older than you.

Shippy's avatar

@gailcalled Older as relative.

Coloma's avatar

Sure, in the sense of physicality, but, otherwise, respect is earned and I don’t automatically afford respect to anyone, even those in positions of “authority” based on title or position.
Just because you are my boss, my teacher, a cop, a parent, doesn’t mean you deserve automatic respect default.
I am a challenger, I have lost jobs for daring to question ( read: perceived disrespect ) someone in a position of “authority.”

TheProfoundPorcupine's avatar

If I was on public transport, then I would offer them my seat or I automatically leave the seats closest to the front (and easiest for them to get to) free and sit in the more awkward parts. I also hold doors open if I am leaving somewhere, but I do that for anybody and not just older people.

I have also seen me letting them go before me in a queue etc and I love listening to their stories about what different places used to be like, but if I disagree with something that they say, then I wouldn’t have a real go at them, but I would be more subtle and gentle rather than saying…hey old one!!

Shippy's avatar

@Coloma I came to ask this question after watching teenagers with their parents. I think the shows were called “The Strictest Parents” series. It does make me wonder if that is why the world has gone haywire. This respect has to be earned is a vague concept to me. It leaves people open to abuse. On a social level though, who does earn respect these days? Really?

KNOWITALL's avatar

I am, if they are respectful to me, and sometimes even if they’re not (due to illness or diminished mental capacity.) I was raised by a single mom and spent a LOT of time with my grandparents and can only remember being angry at my gma once in my entire life.

Older people have more life experience and often can teach you things, so to me it’s silly not to show respect.

ucme's avatar

I treat folks with respect for as long as they give me no reason to do otherwise, regardless of how many rings show up when they’re chopped in half.

Coloma's avatar

@Shippy Well…as far as kids go, I think that just because they are kids/teens, doesn’t mean they aren’t bright enough to notice flaws and inconsistencies and other shortcomings in their parents or other adults. The old, “do as I say, not as I do.”
Kids can see hypocrisy as well as any adult, they just don’t have the liberty of pointing it out without being called “disrespectful.”

livelaughlove21's avatar

I don’t have more respect for someone just because they’ve lived longer than me, no. I’m respectful to everyone unless given a reason not to be, regardless of age. I do have compassion and, if I see an elderly person struggling, I’ll help them out, but that applies to anyone in need.

I’ve met some pretty nasty older people, so I’m not going to assume they are entitled to more respect than anyone else. They were born before me – so?

This entitlement occurs in many aspects of life. People tend to treat the sick, elderly, disabled, and deceased as if they’ve done something to make them better. Some say people deserve respect after they die and you shouldn’t speak ill of them, no matter who they were. I disagree. If you don’t earn respect when you’re alive, you don’t deserve it when you’re dead.

Not a popular view, I’d wager.

Shippy's avatar

@livelaughlove21 They were born before me – so? perhaps they have more life experience?

TheProfoundPorcupine's avatar

I was brought up from an early age to respect my elders just as my parents were brought up the same and their parents etc. Like @Shippy I also get confused at this respect has to be earned idea, but then I don’t think we look at it that way in the UK at all.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@Shippy And why exactly do the “experienced” deserve respect? There are people my age who have more experience in certain things – I don’t think they deserve MORE respect than others just for that. Why would they?

Shippy's avatar

@TheProfoundPorcupine I’m surprised really, but I have seen programs in the UK showing younger people using foul language at older people. And generally having no respect, even for themselves actually.

Yeah If I had to work on the respect idea I wouldn’t respect anyone to be honest.

Shippy's avatar

@livelaughlove21 We all have experience in certain areas more than others. That is a given. Even teenagers have more experience than other teenagers. I just find younger people tend to think older people are “stupid” because they are older. Strange if you think about it? Since they have lived sometimes decades longer. Can work both ways though, older people tend to think all youngsters are stupid too. I must point out also this is not in relation to maturity though. I know some kids that are more mature than a lot of oldies. That is a fact. (I call anyone under 30 a kid) as my own child is 30.

tranquilsea's avatar

I offer my seat up to anyone who looks like they need to sit down. As @Adirondackwannabe stated I think of this as a consideration.

Respect is something else to me. I afford respect directly proportional to whether they deserve respect. One caveat is everyone starts out with a base amount of respect that either increases or decreases depending on that person’s actions.

_Whitetigress's avatar

One never quite no who respects oneself or not until they test the waters. So I frequently crack a quick smile upon eye to eye contact. A smile back indicates respect, no smile back and continued staring I tell them to go fuck themselves (in my mind) young or old.

In my opinion respect has to be mutual. Regardless of “earthly” age. When it comes to banks. I take consideration only for mothers with jumpy kids. Those are the ones who are stressed most. In my opinion those who looked retired or of age, should have had enough time on earth to know how the bank works and they do because they are mostly the ones awaiting for the bank to open (they are mostly the early birds in my neck of the woods) Also most elderly qualify for the handicap/senior citizen line which is an express lane anyhow. (at my Chase bank)

KNOWITALL's avatar

You know, here’s the fallacy of youth, my friends and I thought we knew everything at age 14 (teen girls ya know), then I moved out at age 17 still thinking I knew everything and my mom was stupid, then when I reached 26 I had enough intelligence to realize I didn’t know jack, so I concentrated on learning more in about specific things. Now that I’m about to turn 40, I realize more than ever that when it comes to life, politics, relationships, stock market and 401k’s, etc….I don’t know nearly as much as I’d like to.

So to me, as you grow, you learn….and when you’re young and dumb, you don’t even realize what you don’t know….lol…so yeah, I’ll be respectful to my elders as I was taught to do. It’s just polite, and I’m sure Ann Landers would concur.

(I try to tell my 13 yr old niece this occasionally when she has her little ‘moments’ in a gentle way but she doesn’t believe me…ha)

Coloma's avatar

@Shippy I understand what you’re saying, but, IMO…I think that it’s the kids that are far more likely to be abused by their hardcore, authoritarian parents. Super controlling and authoritarian parents breed really angry offspring that often grow up passive aggressive and have all sorts of issues.

fremen_warrior's avatar

@Shippy what is this common culture you are referring to as “our culture”? I realise globalisation is flattening the world, but there is still a plethora of vastly different cultures on this planet.

As for me, in Poland you are considered rude if you do not give up your seat on public transport to, amongst other groups, the elderly. Same goes for being disrespectful in any way. I try to treat everybody as my equal, and therefore deserving of respect unless they prove themselves otherwise. I try not to distinguish between people based on things such as age, sex, or appearance.

I look at people as ‘walking brains’ that accumulated different amounts and different qualities of experiences, looking at the world through individual filters that they created based on what they’ve endured in their lives. If you do that, look past the person, and just see a brain trying to make sense of the world in its own unique way, you will start to automatically treat them with more respect.

wundayatta's avatar

I agree with @gailcalled. I try to be respectful to everyone.

Except, of course, those who tick me off. Every once in a while, you seem to run into someone who seems to have decided it is their job to jab you and nag you and poke you every chance they get. But except for that person, I am respectful.

Shippy's avatar

@KNOWITALL I so hear you, the older I get the more I realize the less I know.

Bellatrix's avatar

I don’t respect people simply because they are older. I respect people because of their behaviour and attitudes. I am considerate of older people though. I would stand up on a bus if an older person needed a seat (or a pregnant woman or anyone else I felt needs my seat more than I do). My observations suggests this sort of consideration for others is waning, which is very sad.

YARNLADY's avatar

Yes, I was always taught to give up my seat to others, and I was usually respectful to others, regardless of their age. My Father-In-Law made it very difficult, because he was an obnoxious jerk, but I really tried.

I’m the older one now, and people seem to be relatively respectful to me.

Sunny2's avatar

I respect older people and everybody else as long as they are not rude, demanding, loud mouthed, inconsiderate, totally selfish, badly behaved, arrogant human beings who have learned nothing about how to live peaceably with their neighbors. I don’t like people like that and avoid them. I still might give them my seat on the bus.

_Whitetigress's avatar

@KNOWITALL I love what you said ”.and when you’re young and dumb, you don’t even realize what you don’t know” This rings true not even for the young but for the ignorant in society.

rojo's avatar

Yes, but there are fewer and fewer of them that meet that criteria these days.

ETpro's avatar

Oh definitely, I do. I’ve given up my seat on the T to someone who’s older than me, or who has mobility problems and who looks like they are ill equipped to stand as the train lurches along. I hope some of the youngsters are suitably embarrassed when they see someone my age give way to a senior while they selfishly keep their seat.

rojo's avatar

@ETpro it’s good for those young whippersnappers (what an interesting word) to be shown how it is done every once in a while.

Shippy's avatar

@rojo Yep , whippersnappers loll

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