How to be a gentleman? This question has been asked since the beginning of (civilized) time. I guess the answer will change somewhat over time, and be a little bit different in different parts of the world, but the essence should be the same. Being a modern gentleman is about taking care of yourself so that you can take care of others.
This is not going to be the same type of list that you can find all over the internet. I’m not going to tell you that you should not involve yourself in any controversial discussions or, at any cost, not offend others.
Sure, never saying anything controversial may make you easier to converse with, but it will also make you look dull and unengaged – as well as the guy no one really knows.
Being a modern gentleman is about being polite and caring, but also clear and confident. It is about taking care of yourself so that you can take care of others.
These are my 20 tips on how to be a gentleman
I think that good attitude always start with a smile. Strive to be that nice chap. 🙂
2. Say Good morning
I always try to look people in the eyes and say good morning. This applies not only to my colleagues but also to the receptionist, the genitor, and the lady dusting my desk. For the latter, I make a point of thanking her when she is finished. See no. 16.
3. Be polite
Save your swearing for when it’s really needed. If you want to be a gentleman, smiling and saying good morning is a good start. It’s contagious. 🙂
4. Help people
Make a point of holding the door when it falls natural, or at least, not letting it close in someones face. If anyone drops something, be the first to help out.
5. Show people that you care
Be patient and be a good listener. Resist the temptation to scan the crowd or fiddle with your phone. Ask questions, preferably open-ended ones; this makes you learn more about the other person and makes it easier to keep the conversation going. If you have the chance, follow-up on people that are going through a rough time. Just showing that you remember can make a huge difference for the other person.
6. Be a man of your words
A man that cannot be trusted is surely no gentleman. If you have said yes to something, follow through. If you see that you may not be able to deliver, be transparent. Tell people up front that you might not be able to fulfill your promise. If you say you are going to attend an event, be there or let the host know that you will not attend.
7. Dress to impress
First impressions count – a lot. A steady impression of quality-conciseness and awareness of proper attire for the occasion is a very good way of following-up a good first impression. Dress in attire that makes you look good and are appropriate for the occasion. Respect local customs when traveling.
8. Be on time
Again, this has to do with trust and being a man of your word. But it is more than that: Time is a valuable resource. What you do with your own time is up to you, but wasting other peoples time is one of the most ignorant, disrespectful and unflattering things you can do.
9. Have a firm and confident handshake
Look people in the eyes when you are presenting yourself or shaking their hand. Make sure that you have a firm grip. Noone likes a slack handshake.
10. Be a loyal and good friend
If you are going to be someone’s friend, be a true friend. Be there when it counts. There is a high possibility that you will need the same some day.
11. Tolerate differences
We all have different ways of tackling life, work, and everything in between. Some people don’t eat meat, and some people don’t like ice cream. Your friends do not have to be a replica of yourself. However, if some people get offended and/or do not accept your opinions, move on. Don’t make a fuzz about it.
12. Say I love you
Remember to not take your significant other for granted. Do never part ways or go to sleep without clearing the air after an argument.
13. Be clear
State your intention. Communicate what is important and why this is important for you. People will respect you for this, and it will make life easier for everyone.
14. Say no
To learn to say no is a ground rule for success. To learn to say no in a good way is what makes you a gentleman. Please read item 13 one more time. Saying no is essential if you are going to deliver on what you have said yes to.
15. Lead by example
You cannot expect other people to do better than what you just did. If you want other people to be soft-spoken, you cannot start the conversation by screaming.
16. Say thank you
When receiving an invitation, say thanks. Remember to thank the host again before leaving. Appreciate other peoples attentiveness. Good customer service is hard to find these days. Appreciate it. More about that below.
17. Give praise openly, criticise privately
When someone does a good job, don’t be afraid to tell them in front of other people. This will not only make them feel good; it will show others that you appreciate and notice other people. Give negative feedback privately, if possible face to face. This way, people have a chance to fail and improve without everyone knowing.
18. Know when to silence your phone
We have all experienced being at the cinema or in the church when someone’s phone starts ringing. Don’t be that guy. Also, don’t have private conversations in public. Riding public transportation can be a challenge in itself. Don’t add to the burden.
19. Practice good table manners
Know how to make a toast and how to use the cutlery. Leave your napkin in the chair if you have to leave the table.
20. Be genuine
Be yourself. Find your own style. Noone likes a copy.