People treat you the way you let them treat you.

In 1987, my very good friend, Sheila, said something to me that was so profound, I never forgot it.  She said, "Christine, people treat you the way you let them treat you."  This was appropriate in the context of our discussion 22 years ago.  But, it is also relevant to life in general.  If you believe it and live it, you will be amazed at how your life will change.

People who know me will probably roll their eyes at this article.  (Yes, Douglas, I can hear you sighing as I type this.)  People who know me well have all heard me say this saying a thousand times.  So has every class of high school students I've ever taught, every swim team I've ever coached, every colleague I've ever mentored, and every friend or family member who I've counseled through a difficult situation.  Sometimes, people don't want to hear it.  They would rather sit happily in their funk and make excuses for what's happening to them. 

The good news is, those who are willing to respect themselves and to earn, and then demand, respect from others will almost inevitably be happier and more well adjusted than those who let others treat them badly.  And, it works in just about every context.  At school, at home, at work.  Really, people treat you then way you let them treat you. 

How are you going to let people treat you in life?  It's up to you to decide.


What did you think of this article?

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  • 26 Apr 2009, 7:54 PM Laurie wrote:
    Bravo, Ms. Jones. You have been right in every instance and I thank you from the bottom of my heart that I had the sense to listen to you!
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    1. 26 Apr 2009, 8:26 PM Atty Jones wrote:
      Thanks, Laurie.  You are a perfect example of a person living out the "people treat you the way you let them treat you" motto.  Well done!

      Atty Jones

      Reply to this
  • 27 Apr 2009, 8:35 AM Pam wrote:
    I totally agree with people treat you the way you allow them to treat you. This has been one of life's hardest lessons I have had to learn and re-learn. It is very hard to accept that you teach people how to treat you.
    Reply to this
    1. 27 Apr 2009, 11:32 AM Atty Jones wrote:
      Pam, not everyone was taught Southern manners early in life.  Sometimes you have to help them along a little bit.  You're right, it can be a tough lesson to learn, but learning it is always worth it, no matter how many times it takes. Stay strong.

      Atty Jones

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  • 29 Apr 2009, 3:43 PM Karl wrote:
    So, is the corollary to this principle that people tend to treat others as poorly as they are permitted to? I’m not so sure that’s true. While a small percentage of folks may do so, many (a majority?) generally treat others with some level of decency and respect. By calibrating one’s behavior to anticipate and counter the few bad actors (those that treat others as poorly as they are permitted to), doesn’t one run the risk of alienating the respectful majority?
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    1. 30 Apr 2009, 4:48 PM Atty Jones wrote:
      Not necessarily.  Many people have good traits and treat others with respect.  Believing that people treat you the way you let them treat you does not mean you should be rude to people.  And, it does not mean that you risk alienating the good people.  It applies to individual people in individual situations.  For example, not taking abuse from a mean boss is your choice.  But, because you demand to be treated respectfully by your mean boss does not mean you will treat others badly.  That is neither logical nor good practice.  Think of this principle as it applies to individual people, not as it applies to the whole human race.

      Thanks for the thoughtful comment.

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