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10 Things You Need To Do To Be A Gentleman

10 Things You Need To Do To Be A Gentleman

In our world, the word ‘gentleman’ can mean many things. It can mean a generic man, or a solid, dependable guy, or it can be a cloying word for the halcyon men of 1950s advertisements.

Let’s face it, in the 21st century, gentlemen are becoming harder and harder to find. Or perhaps the definition of what makes a gentleman a gentleman is changing and evolving with the times, rather than remaining rooted in older principles and traditions.

So what makes a gentleman? And how easy is it to actually become one? Well, we’ve racked our brains and come up with 10 essential things you need to do on a regular basis that will make you a gentleman and will actually have a positive effect on your life.

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1. Always have good hygiene.

This one is a basic requirement, so come on, guys, be clean! Taking a shower or a bath every day isn’t really optional. You should take one every day, even if it’s just a perfunctory five minutes. Keeping clean not only makes you smell infinitely nicer, it also makes going about your day-to-day life much more pleasant for those around you. Keep some deodorant or body spray in your bag or on your person at all times so that you don’t start to smell throughout whatever the day may bring. Having good hygiene also helps maintain self-esteem and boosts your mood—some things you need to be a gentleman.

2. Always be on time.

Being late is never attractive—fashion and parties be damned!—as it shows a lack of respect for someone else’s time and life that you waltzed in 15 minutes late without a care. Becoming a gentleman means having a focus on other people and so arriving at least 10 to 15 minutes early is advisable. Bring a newspaper or a book if you get bored easily, but chances are that the person you’re meeting will be pleased that punctuality is one of your top traits. If your route to work is often hindered by traffic that makes you late, head out earlier or find a new route.

3. Always have good manners.

This one is not optional either: being a gentleman means being polite and well-mannered all the time, no matter what the circumstances. The way to think here is to lead by example. Imagine yourself as an outsider. What would you look for in a gentleman? Impeccable manners and behavior are always near the top of the list, so make sure that you always use your pleases and thank yous, even if no one else bothers. Why? Because it’ll make you look much more of a polite, decent human being, and over time will actually change the way you behave around other people for the better. It’s nice to be nice.

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4. Always know your clothes.

One of the hallmarks of a true gentleman is that he dresses according to his own style and owns it. If you have a suit—and you should own at least one—make sure it fits well, but not tightly. Everyone’s body shape is unique, so going to a tailor for alterations is worth more than the money it costs, as the right tailoring will fit your suit to your body and not the other way around. Many gentleman often plump for toned down or strong color palettes and investing in some clean shirts, pants and jackets in solid, subdued colors (navy, maroon, black, grey, white, etc.) will give you great choices to build your wardrobe on before you go exploring new styles to find your own.

5. Always keep the swearing to a minimum.

Swearing isn’t cool and isn’t going to make you a gentleman. Well, okay, we’ll admit that in some circumstances, a well-timed curse word is both effective at summarizing the situation at hand and being a cathartic blast. However, cutting down on the everyday swearing will have a positive effect on yourself and those around you and is certainly something you need to do to be a gentleman. Showing consideration for the people around you by not dropping the f-bomb every 30 seconds when you’re angry is not only a sign of maturity, but one of innate calmness and confidence in yourself, something that is the hallmark of a gentleman.

6. Always be controlled.

You cannot control everything, the world does not dance to the beat of your drum, but what you can control is how you react to situations and the choices you make. Getting angry and verbally abusive? Not the work of a gentleman. A gentleman tries to keep cool and calm and removes himself from the situation quietly if he fears he is getting too angry. On a night out, a gentleman never drinks more than he can handle because getting wasted might ensure all his good attributes go out the window and he winds up back at square one. A gentleman might not be teetotal, but restraint and control is required over all vices to make sure they don’t become excessive.

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7. Always be kind.

Kindness is one of those lesser-recognized attributes in the modern day world, but being a kind and courteous guy will always ensure you’re seen as a gentleman. However, don’t let this be one of those performances you put on in public—let kindness into your inner life and reap the benefits for your mindset and thinking. Always go the extra mile to help out a friend or a neighbor. Call your loved ones often—send gifts if you can; just generally be an upstanding guy who cares as much about the new couple in the apartment block as he does an old friend. Letting yourself become kind has nothing but good benefits and will ensure your standing as a gentleman.

8. Always be considerate.

Being considerate means being aware of your surroundings and the way you affect the people around you. A true gentleman always takes other peoples’ opinions and feelings into consideration before doing anything. For example, a gentleman takes his less-than-fragrant lunch outside of the office to eat so that co-workers won’t have to smell it should they be offended. A gentleman offers his seat on the bus to anyone who looks as if they may need one. A gentleman never makes jokes that people will be offended or hurt by, even if they’re not around to hear them, leading by example. Being considerate is one of the fundamental tenets of how to be a gentleman, and one every man should take on board immediately if he hasn’t already.

9. Always respect everyone.

Respecting everyone is something a gentleman always does, no matter the circumstances; and looking down your nose at someone who appears to be further down the food chain than yourself is possibly the most disrespectful, ungentlemanly thing you could do. Absolutely everyone is worthy of your respect, so treat them accordingly and warmly, no matter your personal opinion of them. This also goes for respecting yourself: do not tear yourself down every time you make a mistake and think that you have made a colossal error. You are human, and the best thing we can do is accept our mistakes and learn from them to do better in the future.

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10. Always be the best version of yourself.

Being the best person that you can be is the way of the gentleman. A man cannot be perfect, but striving towards the basic core of humanity and decency is what makes a gentleman, once you dig beneath the suits and the smiles. A true gentleman knows his limits and keeps trying to stretch them, going further to both improve himself and to aid other people in whatever way he can.

Find your best qualities and work on them. Find your worst qualities and work on trying to improve them. The real secret of how to be a gentleman lies in being yourself—but the best version of yourself that you can work towards and improve on so you can be the best ‘you’ you can be.

More by this author

Chris Haigh

Writer, baker, co-host of "Good Evening Podcast" and "North By Nerdwest".

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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