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Last Updated on January 10, 2018

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!

More by this author

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 16, 2018

12 Simple Ways You Can Build A Positive Attitude

12 Simple Ways You Can Build A Positive Attitude

We all look for a better and happier life, but somehow we realize it’s our attitude that makes it hard to lead the life we want. How can we build a positive attitude? Grant Mathews has listed out the things (from the easiest to the hardest) we can do to cultivate this attitude on Quora:

1. Listen to good music.

Music definitely improves your mood, and it’s a really simple thing to do.

2. Don’t watch television passively.

Studies have shown that people who watch TV less are happier, which leads me to my next point…

3. Don’t do anything passively.

Whenever I do something, I like to ask myself if, at the end of the day, I would be content saying that I had spent time doing it. (This is why I block sites I find myself wasting too much time on. I enjoy them, but they’re just not worth it when I could be learning something new, or working on projects I care about.)

Time is incredibly valuable.

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4. Be aware of negativity

A community that considers itself intelligent tends to be negativity because criticizing is seen as a signaling mechanism to indicate that you’re more intelligent than the person you corrected. This was irrationally frustrating for me – it’s one of those things you’ll stay up all night to think about.

5. Make time to be alone.

I initially said “take time just to be alone.” I changed it because if you don’t ensure you can take a break, you’ll surely be interrupted.

Being with other people is something you can do to make you happy, but I don’t include it in this list because nearly everyone finds time to talk with friends. On the other hand, spending time just with yourself is almost considered a taboo.

Take some time to figure out who you are.

6. Exercise.

This is the best way to improve your immediate happiness.

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Exercise probably makes you happy. Try and go on a run. You’ll hate yourself while doing it, but the gratification that you get towards the end vastly outweighs the frustration of the first few attempts. I can’t say enough good things about exercise.

Exercising is also fantastic because it gives you time alone.

7. Have projects.

Having a goal, and moving towards it, is a key to happiness.

You have to realize though that achieving the goal is not necessarily what makes you happy – it’s the process. When I write music, I write it because writing is inherently enjoyable, not because I want to get popular (as if!).

8. Take time to do the things you enjoy.

That’s very general, so let me give you a good example.

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One of the things that has really changed my life was finding small communities centered around activities I enjoy. For instance, I like writing music, so I’m part of a community that meets up to write a song for an hour every week. I love the community. I’ve also written a song every week, 37 weeks in a row, which has gradually moved me towards larger goals and makes me feel very satisfied.

9. Change your definition of happiness.

Another reason I think I’m more happy than other people is because my definition of happiness is a lot more relaxed than most people’s. I don’t seek for some sort of constant euphoria; I don’t think it’s possible to live like that. My happiness is closer to stability.

10. Ignore things that don’t make you happy.

I get varying reactions to this one.

The argument goes “if something is making you unhappy, then you should find out why and improve it, not ignore it.” If you can do that, great. But on the other hand, there’s no reason to mope about a bad score on a test.

There’s another counterargument: perhaps you’re moping because your brain is trying to work out how to improve. In fact, this is the key purpose of depression: Depression’s Upside – NYTimes.com

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I can think of examples that go both ways. I remember, for instance, when I was debating a year or two ago and my partner and I would lose a round, I would mull over what we had done wrong for a long time. In that way, I got immensely better at debate (and public speaking in general – did you know debate has amazing effects on your public speaking ability? But now I really digress).

On the other hand, there’s no way that mulling over how dumb you were for missing that +x term on the left hand side will make you better at math. So stop worrying about it, and go practice math instead.

11. Find a way to measure your progress, and then measure it.

Video games are addictive for a reason: filling up an experience bar and making it to the next level is immensely satisfying. I think that it would be really cool if we could apply this concept to the real world.

I put this near the bottom of the list because, unfortunately, this hasn’t been done too often in the real world – startup idea, anyone? So you would have to do it yourself, which is difficult when you don’t even know how much you’ve progressed.

For a while, I kept a log of the runs I had taken, and my average speed. It was really cool to see my improvement over the weeks. (Also, I was exercising. Combining the two was fantastic for boosting happiness.)

12. Realize that happiness is an evolutionary reward, not an objective truth.

It’s easy to see that this is correct, but this is at the bottom of the list for a reason.

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