The complicated world of Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) was built on a single principle: respect. As the head of two very different families on The Sopranos (available to stream anytime on HBO Now), the respect of those around him was essential in order for Tony to maintain his position of authority. And Tony always found a way to convey that need… by any means necessary. For all those moments when you need to remind others that you deserve respect, let these Tony Soprano quotes inspire you.
“You don’t wanna work in the rain, try out for the f*cking Yankees.”
There are bound to be people in your life that need to be reminded that paying you respect isn’t an option, it’s a requirement. For Tony, that person is his nephew, Christopher (Michael Imperioli). Despite being Tony’s favorite (for a while, anyway), Christopher regularly flies off the handle, second guesses his uncle’s decisions, and in this case, complains about having to work in the rain.
In a perfect world, respect would be more forthcoming, but in the real world (and in Tony’s), you have to push back against any backtalk while reminding people that your decisions are not to be undermined.
“We’re in a situation where everyone involved knows the stakes and if you are going to accept those stakes, you’ve got to do certain things. It’s business.”
If you want to be respected, having a firm grasp on the world you live in is essential. While in the middle of a bout of self-justification to his therapist, Dr. Melfi (Lorraine Bracco), Tony calmly defends the rules of his world, along with the severity of its consequences.
While it’s unlikely that you’ll get everyone to agree with you, helping others understand your perspective can go a long way toward earning the respect of others.
“And you better pay me the respect that I gave your brother, or we’re gonna have a problem. A bad one.”
Sure, Tony has issues with everyone now and then, but when Richie Aprile (David Proval), a self-described “old school” gangster, gets released from jail, he’s reminded that some people are going to dig in their heels and fight him every step of the way.
When dealing with someone who’s proving to be a real thorn in your side, it’s important to lay out the ground rules right away. It might not solve the whole problem, but it’ll prove that your authority is not to be taken lightly.
“You don’t have to love me, but you will respect me!”
With Tony once again at his wit’s end with Christopher, he outright demands the respect he believes he deserves from his underling. It’s a terrifying moment that makes the severity of the situation quite clear: Tony is the boss, and he is to be respected.
Sometimes, when it seems like everyone’s trying to second-guess your decisions, all you can do is lay down the law… though maybe you should keep a firmer grip on your temper than Tony does.
“I don’t care how close you are, in the end your friends are gonna let you down. Family: they’re the only ones you can depend on.”
Getting people to respect you isn’t just about constantly reminding them of your authority, it’s about being the kind of person who’s worthy of being looked up to. As head of his crime family, his word is final, but as the head of the household, he works hard to set a good example for both A.J. (Robert Iler) and Meadow (Jamie-Lynn Sigler), even though he doesn’t always succeed.
Nonetheless, it’s important to show that the best way to get — and keep — the respect of others is to be the kind of person who’s worthy of being respected in the first place.
“Those who want respect, give respect.”
Generally speaking, respect is a two-way street. For Tony, those who want his respect have to be willing to give it, and anyone who doesn’t will face the consequences. When applying this to your own life, remember that the respect you earn will depend a great deal on the respect you give others.