Everyone goes blind...
Yes, just like the age-old adage goes, "An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind." Think about it: if you never give respect but expect to receive it, and every other person on the planet thinks the same thing, who is ever going to be respected? If your default setting is to treat me with disrespect or to simply ignore me until I impress you enough to take notice of me, you really aren't worth my time. And I would think that if someone treated you in the same way that they would not be worth your time either. Our default setting should always be to respect first. Even if you don't think all people deserve respect like I do, you still should understand that stating that YOU don't have to earn respect but everyone else does is HYPOCRITICAL and SELFISH.
Respect has no charge associated with it. There are no tricks that one must perform to get respect. It isn't magical. It isn't a fairy tale. It does not require a remote control with a super-secret button-mashing code...
Respect is DESERVED, not earned.
Like all things important, no one actually makes an effort to earn something from someone who does not respect them. I certainly won't work for someone who doesn't respect me. I won't do art, paid or otherwise, from someone who does not respect me or my work. And I don't bother continuing conversations with people who choose not to give me the respect I deserve. ... The respect that each of us deserves.
I am not a doormat...
The words welcome are not emblazoned on my face. I will not sit idly by while people walk all over me hoping to earn their respect. I am a person. I am worthwhile. I have emotions, opinions and intelligence all my own. And I deserve all the respect that goes with being an equal to every other person on the planet.
I am not your child...
I have not taken a toy, do not need your discipline, and I most certainly do not need you to teach me a life-lesson that I learned in grade school. A toy taken from an unruly child should be earned back. TV-time that has been revoked after your teenager gets detention in school should be earned back. But RESPECT should be given in the FIRST PLACE.
When should respect be EARNED?
Like all rules, there are exceptions. If you respect someone and they disrespect you, that doesn't give you the right to simply be disrespectful back to them. But at that point, that person should earn that respect back. They should take time out to apologize for their words or actions that were disrespectful. Perhaps they should even attempt to make amends with you to show you they are serious about continuing forward with their friendship with you.
In the End...
You should never determine that someone you don't even know (or who has made a past mistake) isn't worth your time or respect. Each of us is worthy of and deserving of respect. If you think that you have to get respect first before you give it out, you will be very disappointed and confused. And most people will find you to be a simply horrible person to have to deal with or be around. And if everyone thinks that way, then no one will ever get the respect that they deserve because NO ONE will ever give it first - always waiting to receive it first.
Be the catalyst for change.
Make that first moment with a new person memorable.
Be the kind of person people want to be around.
And most importantly, remember that you are worth it.