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11 Ways to be a Gentleman When in a Relationship

11 Ways to be a Gentleman When in a Relationship

Guys, admit it or not, we ladies love gentlemen. We love all the nice gestures and words you sprinkle upon us as much as we love Mom’s homemade apple pie. Those hand-picked roses from your neighbor’s garden may also do the trick, but does it really?

Without going overboard, you can still be a gentleman and win our hearts. Yes, even the coldest of hearts can melt with simple deeds (notice how I emphasized deeds?) and words (because, yes, words do count, too!).

1. Do as you say.

Oftentimes, relationships break apart due to shattered promises. Gentlemen rarely or even never break their promises (except for really valid reasons). And when I say valid, it’s mainly because of unexpected (as in unexpected and totally emergent) reasons. Life-and-death occurrences count, as compared with laziness or just “not in the mood” excuses.

If you are not in the mood to do something, tell that to your partner and maybe (just maybe) she’ll understand. Yes, we know that you’re also human and have ups and downs with your moods. You just want to stay at home or have an all-boys day out just as we girls do. So please feel free to tell us the REAL reason why you’re not up for a lunch out with us and we’ll do our best to understand you. It’s just a matter of communication.

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2. Say things nicely.

I know it can sound pretty hard for those who aren’t really ‘sweet-talkers.’ But hey, your words can make or break your relationships, dude. There may be times when you can hold off that nasty word, or better yet, don’t say it at all when you know that you’ll offend your significant other.

Of course, you might say that it differs based on personality, but then, will it really be a death sentence for you if you won’t utter those hurtful words? So what if you feel like she’s not as beautiful as the first time you met her? So what if her hair isn’t as flat-out or curled as you want it to be? Would it be better to tell her outright that she’s not beautiful anymore? Think about it, for you just might save your dying relationship.

3. Hold the door for her.

Old-school actions still work; trust me. No matter how much she insists on opening it herself, be alert enough to notice that she also needs you to be there for her (even for the littlest things). And yes, we really appreciate the initiative. Even when it comes to doors.

4. Bring her home after a date.

It may be awkward, most especially if you still don’t have ‘wheels’ to drive her to her house after your date (not to mention an additional expense for you), but what better way to be a gentleman than letting her folks/siblings/guardian (especially if she still lives with them) that you took great care of their princess? Yup, this is a true-blue way to be a gentleman without going overboard!

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5. Have initiative over the little things.

Being gentlemanly is not just about words. Your planning over the little things (specifically for your future dates) counts a lot. Instead of letting her do all the decision-making, why not take the first step to creating a list of places (Note: These need not be expensive spots) to go to. Once you’re done with your list, show it to her and let the two of you plan your itinerary. Aside from showing that you have the intention to take her to a simple yet memorable hangout, you’ll definitely show that you’re really serious about your intentions with her.

6. Seek permission from her parents/siblings/guardian when going out.

Okay, this may apply to those not yet married (also based on various cultural preferences), but I’d like to emphasize on the power of seeking parents’ approval. Some might disagree with this practice, but it still definitely counts as a gentleman’s way of showing respect to them.

Call it corny, but even millennials still need to regard their parents’ opinions over vital matters (especially that of the heart). By doing so, you, the gentleman, are also proving how serious you are about her.

And for the ladies, yes, it’s also a nice practice to (most of the time) let your parents know about your whereabouts. This is not to deprive you of your privacy whatsoever, but most especially if you still live with your parents, you’d be really in good hands knowing that your parents have trust in you and your guy. That’s the best feeling ever.

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7. Be polite (even to strangers).

A gentleman doesn’t easily get annoyed over the simplest of things. Encountered a waiter who spilled orange juice over your newly ironed suit? Would you yell at him right then and there? Uh-oh. Spells D-I-S-A-S-T-E-R already.

Yes, we ladies also love a calm demeanor, most especially over the little things. Notice how I always emphasize the simple things? It’s because they matter the most. If you can’t be polite to the people around you, how much more respectful will you be with us in the long run?

8. Be especially polite to your mom.

Politeness in the streets is already a huge plus. What more could we ask for when it comes to your mom and your family as a whole? If you are already courteous, polite, and nice to your parents, you’d have an easier time showing your gentleman-ness to your lady love.

Rudeness is not in the vocabulary of a gentleman. Though there may be times when you feel off (mainly due to some unresolved issues in your career, family, etc.), it won’t hurt to smile or say things in a nice way. Your politeness can definitely take you a long way!

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9. Compromise.

Can’t agree over where to go? Don’t want to really go where your lady wants to be? Not a problem, for a gentleman learns to compromise. Even if it may be a “no” for you to go to the KTV, but your girl wants to spend some time belting her lungs out, you might want to accompany her there, too. After all, you love her, right? Even if you don’t want to sing (or if you think you might break the mirrors there), it won’t really hurt going with her. And yes, that’s a gentleman’s way of saying that he’s not just being the love of her life for convenience, he’s saying that he’s in for the long haul.

10. Carry her heavy baggage (literally). 

A gentleman is sensitive enough to know when his lady is having difficulties carrying her things. May it be her shopping bag, some trash bags, cans of milk, and others, if you are a real gentleman, you would offer a hand. Although we have high regard for gender equality now, it won’t hurt if you extend some help to your girl.

11. Offer her a seat.

An old-fashioned act itself, offering your girl a seat (whether at a restaurant, bus, queue, etc.) is a time-tested way to express your concern for her. Not only would you be rekindling the good old days when you were still truly, madly courting her, but it would also make her feel so special that she’ll have a hard time sleeping, reminiscing your gentle nature.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via static.pexels.com

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Celine Bernadette Hautea Francisco

Language Specialist/Content Strategist

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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