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How to Be a Gentleman: 12 Timeless Tips

How to Be a Gentleman: 12 Timeless Tips

So you want to be a gentleman but don’t know where to start. Being a gentleman isn’t a personality quirk. It’s not something you turn on and off like a switch. It’s a lifestyle. Although it’s a reputation that’s hit the endangered species list, like my Ghostbusters sweatshirt, I’m hopeful it will make a comeback.

Being a gentleman revolves around one word: respect. It’s respect for yourself, those you care about, and those you want to care about.

Here are 12 timeless tips on how to be a gentleman that will enhance your life, both personally and professionally:

1. Define Your Personal Style

When I hear “gentleman” I think suit, tie, polished shoes… and stuffy. Seriously, I just fell asleep thinking about it.

Luckily, the definition has evolved and isn’t attached to a certain look anymore – it’s all about attitude and how you carry yourself. Choose a personal style that reflects your personality and lifestyle. Don’t buy clothes you think you should, otherwise you may as well wear a sandwich board that says I have no idea who I am!

2. Keep Your Hygiene in Check

Put effort into your appearance. Keep yourself clean, showered, and groomed. Women do enjoy scruffy, but controlled scruffy – you don’t want your date asking where you hid your cardboard sign and paper cup.

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In other words: don’t smell. And perhaps reserve the gnarly Davy Jones beard for the NHL playoffs.

3. Be a Grown-up

It’s now commonplace for potential employers to check out your social media profiles. You’ll also be hard-pressed to find a woman who won’t do the same before dating you. Even if the pictures are from years ago and you’ve since cleaned up your act, they’re not going to see “now” you. They’re going to see “then” you, a.k.a. K-Fed hat and beer bong.

While you’re at it, set up a grown-up e-mail address. The sounds-dirty-but-isn’t e-mail account you’ve had since high school is the farthest thing from gentlemanly. Ever.

4. Keep Language PG-13

As someone who’s an unintentional potty mouth, I was alarmed to find out how many people are offended by swearing. I now do my best to keep the f-bombs at a minimum.

It’s obviously a huge no-no in professional settings, but trust me, when you constantly swear in your personal life, it becomes increasingly difficult to reel in the habit at work.

Consider this a top priority if you want to be a gentleman. Not only will expanding your vocabulary make you a better communicator, you’ll impress others across the board with your intelligence and professionalism.

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5. Connect With People

Say hello as you’re walking past a stranger. Let someone go in front of you in the grocery line. Make eye contact. Be approachable. It’s one of the best ways to open yourself up to new people, experiences, and professional connections.

To be a gentleman while you’re out, always remember it’s all about them. Be a good listener. Ask questions. Take note of what’s important to them, and they’ll take note of you.

6. Find Your Purpose

Beyond a nice home and financial security, what do you want? What are you passionate about? What mark do you want to make? Define what you live for. Not only will you feel more fulfilled, it’ll lead to so much depth and substance your head will spin. Everything will feel that much brighter.

Don’t take my word for it: be a gentleman and find out for yourself.

7. Be Clear About What You Want

Not making a decision is a decision in itself, and it’s not a good one! If you want the respect of others, know what you want and what you don’t, and be clear about it. Knowing how to say no is one of the most well-respected things you can do for yourself.

You don’t want to be a wishy-washy person who constantly flakes on those you care about because you over-commit, and you certainly don’t want to be the guy with no opinion or backbone.

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8. Hold the Door Open

Holding the door open for people is a gentleman’s calling card. It’s one of the most subtle yet powerful ways to show your consideration for others.

Game. Set. Match.

9. Keep Your Promises

A big part of being a gentleman is respecting others’ time and meaning what you say. If you say you’re going to meet someone at a specific time, don’t be late. When you tell someone you’re going to help them with something, help them. When you promise you’ll have a project done by a certain date, meet your deadline.

Not only will this build trust with those you care about, it will also help build self-trust, a crucial-yet-underrated form of trust when you’re a gentleman.

10. Return the Favor

It’s all about the little things, both at work and at home. If a co-worker helped you setup a killer presentation, help them with their annual report. If your girlfriend picked up groceries, carry them in for her. Always make sure you’re helping enhance the lives of those you care about.

11. Pick Up After Yourself

Keeping a tidy office, home, and car will leave a good impression on anyone you meet. It shows you take yourself seriously, and take pride in what you’ve worked hard for.

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Fast forward ten years to when you’re living with your future wifey: if you build the habit now, you’ll be one of the few who aren’t nagged about leaving their socks on the floor! Win/win.

12. Be You

Nobody’s looking to hire or date a Ken doll. Our professional and personal lives are now fused together thanks to technology, so drop all that compartmentalizing and be authentic 24/7. Let your guard down and stop trying to look so glossy. Not to sound all hippy, but just be.

What’s ironic about the art of being yourself is what makes you unique is usually what makes you self-conscious. The flaws you find irritating are appealing and endearing to everyone else – they’re what set you apart and make you memorable. Would you rather be memorable or a cardboard cutout? That’s what I thought.

Being at ease with who you are is the sign of a true gentleman. Gentlemen don’t lie or mislead – they’re as comfortable with themselves as they want you to be. Being a gentleman never goes out of style – put these tips into practice and you’ll be well on your way to gentleman status.

What do you think it takes to be a gentleman? Let us know in the comments!

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Krissy Brady

A women's health & wellness writer with a short-term goal to leave women feeling a little more empowered and a little less verklempt.

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Last Updated on December 3, 2019

10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

There are so many lessons I wish I had learned while I was young enough to appreciate and apply them. The thing with wisdom, and often with life lessons in general, is that they’re learned in retrospect, long after we needed them. The good news is that other people can benefit from our experiences and the lessons we’ve learned.

Here’re 10 important life lessons you should learn early on:

1. Money Will Never Solve Your Real Problems

Money is a tool; a commodity that buys you necessities and some nice “wants,” but it is not the panacea to your problems.

There are a great many people who are living on very little, yet have wonderfully full and happy lives… and there are sadly a great many people are living on quite a lot, yet have terribly miserable lives.

Money can buy a nice home, a great car, fabulous shoes, even a bit of security and some creature comforts, but it cannot fix a broken relationship, or cure loneliness, and the “happiness” it brings is only fleeting and not the kind that really and truly matters. Happiness is not for sale. If you’re expecting the “stuff” you can buy to “make it better,” you will never be happy.

2. Pace Yourself

Often when we’re young, just beginning our adult journey we feel as though we have to do everything at once. We need to decide everything, plan out our lives, experience everything, get to the top, find true love, figure out our life’s purpose, and do it all at the same time.

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Slow down—don’t rush into things. Let your life unfold. Wait a bit to see where it takes you, and take time to weigh your options. Enjoy every bite of food, take time to look around you, let the other person finish their side of the conversation. Allow yourself time to think, to mull a bit.

Taking action is critical. Working towards your goals and making plans for the future is commendable and often very useful, but rushing full-speed ahead towards anything is a one-way ticket to burnout and a good way to miss your life as it passes you by.

3. You Can’t Please Everyone

“I don’t know the secret to success, but the secret to failure is trying to please everyone” – Bill Cosby.

You don’t need everyone to agree with you or even like you. It’s human nature to want to belong, to be liked, respected and valued, but not at the expense of your integrity and happiness. Other people cannot give you the validation you seek. That has to come from inside.

Speak up, stick to your guns, assert yourself when you need to, demand respect, stay true to your values.

4. Your Health Is Your Most Valuable Asset

Health is an invaluable treasure—always appreciate, nurture, and protect it. Good health is often wasted on the young before they have a chance to appreciate it for what it’s worth.

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We tend to take our good health for granted, because it’s just there. We don’t have to worry about it, so we don’t really pay attention to it… until we have to.

Heart disease, bone density, stroke, many cancers—the list of many largely preventable diseases is long, so take care of your health now, or you’ll regret it later on.

5. You Don’t Always Get What You Want

“Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” – John Lennon

No matter how carefully you plan and how hard you work, sometimes things just don’t work out the way you want them to… and that’s okay.

We have all of these expectations; predetermined visions of what our “ideal” life will look like, but all too often, that’s not the reality of the life we end up with. Sometimes our dreams fail and sometimes we just change our minds mid-course. Sometimes we have to flop to find the right course and sometimes we just have to try a few things before we find the right direction.

6. It’s Not All About You

You are not the epicenter of the universe. It’s very difficult to view the world from a perspective outside of your own, since we are always so focused on what’s happening in our own lives. What do I have to do today? What will this mean for me, for my career, for my life? What do I want?

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It’s normal to be intensely aware of everything that’s going on in your own life, but you need to pay as much attention to what’s happening around you, and how things affect other people in the world as you do to your own life. It helps to keep things in perspective.

7. There’s No Shame in Not Knowing

No one has it all figured out. Nobody has all the answers. There’s no shame in saying “I don’t know.” Pretending to be perfect doesn’t make you perfect. It just makes you neurotic to keep up the pretense of manufactured perfection.

We have this idea that there is some kind of stigma or shame in admitting our limitations or uncertainly, but we can’t possibly know everything. We all make mistakes and mess up occasionally. We learn as we go, that’s life.

Besides—nobody likes a know-it-all. A little vulnerability makes you human and oh so much more relatable.

8. Love Is More Than a Feeling; It’s a Choice

That burst of initial exhilaration, pulse quickening love and passion does not last long. But that doesn’t mean long-lasting love is not possible.

Love is not just a feeling; it’s a choice that you make every day. We have to choose to let annoyances pass, to forgive, to be kind, to respect, to support, to be faithful.

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Relationships take work. Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s incredibly hard. It is up to us to choose how we want to act, think and speak in a relationship.

9. Perspective Is a Beautiful Thing

Typically, when we’re worried or upset, it’s because we’ve lost perspective. Everything that is happening in our lives seems so big, so important, so do or die, but in the grand picture, this single hiccup often means next to nothing.

The fight we’re having, the job we didn’t get, the real or imagined slight, the unexpected need to shift course, the thing we wanted, but didn’t get. Most of it won’t matter 20, 30, 40 years from now. It’s hard to see long term when all you know is short term, but unless it’s life-threatening, let it go, and move on.

10. Don’t Take Anything for Granted

We often don’t appreciate what we have until it’s gone: that includes your health, your family and friends, your job, the money you have or think you will have tomorrow.

When you’re young, it seems that your parents will always be there, but they won’t. You think you have plenty of time to get back in touch with your old friends or spend time with new ones, but you don’t. You have the money to spend, or you think you’ll have it next month, but you might not.

Nothing in your life is not guaranteed to be there tomorrow, including those you love.

This is a hard life lesson to learn, but it may be the most important of all: Life can change in an instant. Make sure you appreciate what you have, while you still have it.

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Featured photo credit: Ben Eaton via unsplash.com

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