Guide To Being A Gentlemen
Some believe that the gentleman is dead, but we disagree. The gentleman is just as prominent as he once was way back when everyone wore duck-tailed coats, sported increasingly ambitious facial hair, and referred to every woman as ma’am or m’lady (shudders). This kind of behavior is not considered gentlemanly anymore, but instead a bit weird, a bit patronizing, and a bit tone deaf to how the world has evolved. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t still gentleman rules to follow and that’s why we’ve put together this guide to being a gentleman in hopes of straightening out some things that you might be unsure of. For your benefit, and the benefit of others take a look at our list of the 15 rules of being a gentleman, and see how you hold up.
1. Holding the door
This is one of the old-fashioned gentleman manners, but it still holds true today. However, in the past, it meant to hold doors open for women and, seemingly, women only. We’re going to dispel this ludicrous idea and encourage you to hold the door open for everybody. Men, women, children, lizard people, dogs (though you’d do that anyway because dogs are the best).
Seriously, hold the door open for people as a courtesy and because you are a decent human being not for some self-righteous bragging rights because no one cares. If they don’t thank you, that’s their problem, not yours, don’t let it ruin your day.
2. Believe in Yourself
A true gentleman does everything in his life with confidence. He wakes up in the morning confident to take on the day. He gets in the car confident that he will beat the traffic. He gets to work knowing any problems will be easily solved and, in social situations, he has belief in himself that he will meet new people and make new friends.
This isn’t always the case, of course, but it is still an excellent mindset to approach life with. People will naturally gravitate to those who are confident, so being that confident person will help to charm the pants off everyone you come across. Even if you don’t feel confident, don’t stress. Just fake it till you make it, that confidence will soon come
3. Take Care of Yourself
There are a lot of things to consider when discussing taking care of yourself. As an adult stepping out into the world, you need to be able to do everything, and we mean everything. This is especially true if you have moved out, far across the country and don’t have mommy or daddy to get you out of whatever mess you find yourself in.
The true modern gentlemen practices excellent self-care. This includes proper hygiene (which we shouldn’t have to say, but you’d be surprised) and dressing well, like own at least one suit and a good pair of shoes for special occasions. He looks after his money, and most importantly, he takes care of his physical and mental health. This is essential to ensuring that you maintain a healthy lifestyle that others will be envious of.
4. Take Care of Others
If you find someone in need, whether it is a friend, relative or complete stranger, then do your best to help them. This can range from small things such as paying for someone’s bus ticket if they are a couple of cents short, to checking up on those you know are having a rough time.
In times of need, people want to know that there is someone there for them. Even if you cannot do anything to change their situation, a lot of the time, they just want somebody there to listen. Be that listening ear and let them say whatever they need.
If the late, great Aretha Franklin taught us anything, one of the rules to always being a gentleman is that you must, must always show respect. There is an old saying that respect is earned and not given, but this seems false in this day an age and, really, there is no excuse for not showing anybody respect without reason.
You need to show respect to those you work alongside, those who work above you, to your friends (playful, occasionally over-the-line trash talking exempt), and basically anyone you come into contact with. Store clerks, bus drivers (don’t forget to thank them), strangers on the street. This goes further than day-to-day interactions, too. You must respect people’s wishes regarding their bodies, their beliefs, and their history. Ignoring these is the complete opposite of respect and must always be avoided.
6. Master the Handshake
The handshake is massively important in all kinds of situations, meeting new people, interviewers, employers, and greeting old friends, it is the most basic manners of a gentleman and is one of the few rules of a gentleman that everybody can agree on.
A strong, firm handshake will immediately give people the impression that you are someone worth talking to. Continuing from our R-E-S-P-E-C-T rule, having a good handshake is a great way to show that you, too, consider the person someone worth greeting.
However, there is a fine balance to finding the proper handshake. You need to be firm, but not grip and crush their hand like you are hurtling down a rollercoaster, as this might come across as you trying to assert dominance, and, honestly, we’re over that nonsense. Conversely, the awkward wet fish-esque, half grip that completely misses their hand is not good either, as it makes it seem like you do not care who you are meeting, which can give the wrong impression.
7. Give People a Chance
First impressions are important and you can usually get a decent idea of how somebody is when initially meeting them and having a conversation, but if they seem off, then it can be all-too-easy to dismiss them as an asshole and vow never to give them the time of day again. But, this is where you are going wrong.
Think of it this way: if you were having a bad day and snapped at someone, would you want them to go around bad mouthing you to everyone they met? Would you want them to consider you an asshole? The villain in their story? Probably not, so if someone rubbed you up the wrong way, give them another chance, they might just surprise you.
8. Housework is Not for Girls
Come on man, it’s the twenty-first century, if you don’t know how to sweep, to hoover, to polish or tidy or clean then just what the hell are you doing? You might have grown up in a household where mommy did everything for you and bent to your every whim, but you are in the real world now.
Chores are boring, we all know that, but that doesn’t mean that you can pawn them off onto others. If you were living alone, you’d have to do them, so why not contribute to your fair share? Take time every week to do the dishes, tidy up, and just generally make the home a nice place to live.
9. Neither is Cooking
It could go under housework, but it is such an important life skill that it deserves its own dedicated rule section. After the age of around 16, there is no excuse to not being able to cook. We don’t mean instant noodles or frozen pizza, either. We mean proper food, prepared with care and cooked in an oven or on the stove.
It is not difficult to learn how to make basic things like chicken, pasta, and vegetables with all the heaps of great, simple recipes out there for you. You would be surprised how easy cooking is once you get the hang of it, and you might even develop a love for it, too. Plus, women love a man who can cook.
10. Improve Your Vocabulary
Yeah, that’s right, drop the kid wannabe gangsta act, stop talking like the kids you hear at the bus stop because your time of being down with them is long gone. Real gentlemen talk using proper words (god, we sound old).
We are all adults here, and no one wants to talk with someone who sounds like they have only just (barely) graduated middle school. So think about your word choices, you’d be surprised how much more people respect you when you speak to them properly.
11. Commit to Something and Stick to it
Ron Swanson once said to never half-ass two things, whole ass one thing. This is true for many aspects of life from work to relationships to hobbies. While it is nice to spread your eggs across baskets, your experience will only suffer for it. There are times where new hobbies or projects can be a challenge, but that is the point, so stick to it, and the reward will be much, much more satisfying.
12. Stick to Your Convictions
You’re not in the schoolyard anymore and you shouldn’t fear getting shunned by your peers if you happen to disagree with them. Sure, there are contentious issues like politics and religion that you might not want to talk about, and that is fine, they don’t really belong in the office environment anyway, but don’t bend over backward to accommodate what you believe to be stupid ideas just because you want to be liked.
Wanting to be liked is perhaps the least gentlemanly thing we can think of. It reeks of desperation and a lack of self-confidence (which we’ve already discussed). Sticking to your convictions shows that you possess a backbone and you won’t please everybody doing this, but it doesn’t matter. Not everyone is going to like you, and that’s okay. At least you are standing up for what you believe in.
13. Be Open to New Experiences
So you’ve found your niche and you’ve gotten comfortable in your life and now you don’t want to deal with anything new ever again. Are you for real? The world is about new experiences and trying out a different side of what you know.
Many guys avoid trying new things due to our competitive nature, believing ‘But what if I suck?’ and that’s understandable, nobody wants to look like a fool. But if you never explore new things, then you will end up stuck in a rut and find yourself middle-aged, pot-bellied and balding, wondering why you are so bored with life. Embrace what life has to offer and say yes to more things, even if you do suck, you might still have fun.
14. Work to Live, Don’t Live to Work
There’s one hell of a world out there if you didn’t know, and you don’t want to end up the stereotypically, cliche absent father that once plagued primetime TV. Enjoying what you do is great, but that can’t be your whole world, so think about life outside of the office. Plan for vacations, for spending time with the family and friends. Use that money that you’ve slaved away earning to do something cool and make memories that are more than the break room.
15. Find your Purpose
This purpose can be anything from finding a hobby that gets you excited to indulge in it every chance you get to something closer to home like caring for your family. Whatever it is, make sure you identify it and give it your all. It will take a lot of trial and error to find your purpose and you might feel like it will never come, but trust us, when you finally do find it, you will know.
The Modern Gentleman
The modern gentleman is one who cares for others as much as he cares for himself, and in some cases even more so. He is the one who takes care of his appearance, who has his friend’s backs, and who checks up on people who seem downtrodden by the stresses of the world. He shows respect, he sticks by what he believes, and he gives everything he tries his all. By following these fifteen (mostly) simple rules, you’ll be the man about town that everyone wants to get to know.
- 23 Formerly Butthurt ‘Nice Guy’ Talk About the Moment They Realized They Were ‘That Guy’ – Thought Catalog
- Quick and Easy Recipes – Allrecipes
- The 20 Rules of Being a Modern Gentleman -Thought Catalog
- 50 Rules of a Gentleman – Man’s Greatest Burden