Last updated on February 19th, 2024 at 05:27 pm
There are many guides on how to be a gentleman, but here is a very simple day-to-day guide wherever you may find yourself.
The times we are in are rude, fast, selfish, and uncouth, and people have imbibed those as normal ways of life.
But the gentleman is different… and this difference could be the source of the challenges facing him.
I find this time interesting because it gives me – a natural gentleman an opportunity to stand out with my rustic (if you like) and impeccable finish of manner.
While some see maintaining gentlemanliness in 2023 as volunteering to be an orphan, true gentlemen see it as the easiest way to stand out.
From a distance, a gentleman might appear effeminate or even a people’s pleaser, but up close, he’s got solid personal boundaries with formidable discipline to power his life.
What underlies his philosophy is to try his best to make people comfortable, exuding integrity and honesty.
Wherever you find yourself, you have the obligation to bless the environment with your gentlemanly qualities, and also passively teach others how to be a gentleman.
Now let’s go…
I am going to explain how to be a gentleman according to situations.
At least, we find ourselves in one or more of these situations every day of our lives, and that makes it important to put up the very best attitude to make people feel less pain, beam up with smiles or be comfortable.
We have a comprehensive article on how to be a gentleman on the internet (netiquette), so it wasn’t included in this article.
Recommended: Understanding Masculinity and Manliness
Table of Contents
- How to be a Gentleman at Home
- How to be a Gentleman at the Workplace
- A Gentleman on the Streets
- A Gentleman with Visits
- A Gentleman in the Party
- Gentleman in Dressing
- Frequently Asked Questions
How to be a Gentleman at Home
It is easy to let all guards down when in your closet – when nobody is looking, but the thing is this: a true gentleman does not wear and unwear his character when he desires.
Yeah… it’s okay to practice gentlemanly conduct until they stick, but at all times, at all places, a gentleman makes sure he upholds his good conduct.
So instead of being tempted to be a half gentleman at home, double down on discipline.
If you are a family man, it even gets more interesting because you have the important task of passing the traits on to your children.
Check out an article on the importance of teaching your children gentleman’s conduct.
Here are ways to be a gentleman at home:
Be a Good Husband, Father, and Sibling
A true gentleman does not have different codes of conduct in different situations.
He is as courteous at work as he is at home. He does not treat his boss with respect and treats his wife with carelessness.
He respects his wife and treats her as an equal and provides for his family.
The same goes for his siblings and extended families.
Be a Good Neighbour
Look out for neighbour’s good and always respect boundaries, this is important.
Nothing is more annoying than having a noisy emotionally daft neighbour who disregards people’s comfort.
Don’t be him …. treat your neighbours and family with respect by keeping noise levels reasonable and being mindful of their privacy.
Avoid engaging in disruptive behavior that could disturb others.
Related: Gentleman’s Online Civility Guide
Practice Good Personal Hygiene
A true gentleman does not need to be reminded about the importance of hygiene.
You must have to take care of yourself by maintaining good personal hygiene.
Be clean, well-groomed, and considerate of others when it comes to shared spaces like the bathroom.
Related: How to Become a Man of High Value
Be Mindful of Noise Levels
Organized noise is good but it depends on the situation. When you blast your music, take a call, or discuss with people, always have your finger on the pulse of the rhythm of the environment.
Be mindful of other people’s need for peace and quietness.
Avoid playing loud music, having noisy phone conversations, or making unnecessary loud noises, especially during late hours.
For every little gesture from people around you, show gratitude. A laundry, a well-cooked meal, or a well-kept kitchen, show appreciation.
It doesn’t matter if it is their job. Occasional tips or appreciative words can do the job.
Express gratitude and appreciation for the efforts of others in your home.
Recognize and acknowledge the contributions and hard work of your family members or roommates.
There is a wrong belief that men don’t need to do house chores as they are reserved for women.
It’s unfortunate that men bought this opinion and ran with it.
There are few sights worse than sitting idly while there are tasks around your home to be done when you as a gentleman don’t have your hands tied.
Take on your fair share of household chores and responsibilities.
This could include cleaning, cooking, taking care of younger siblings, babysitting, or helping with financial obligations.
Remember, a gentleman makes life easier for others.
Boundaries are physical, mental, or emotional spaces people hold sacred. It is a personal space within which they can operate alone.
It’s their privacy and nobody wants their privacy invaded by anyone.
This is important … be mindful of your family members’ personal boundaries and give them the space they need when required.
Respect their privacy and avoid prying into their personal matters.
Even the littlest in the family has a level of boundary.
Related: How a Gentleman Walks the Walk
Be Supportive of your Family’s Reasonable Goals
Encourage your family members to pursue their dreams and goals, of course, which are reasonable.
If you are in a position to give advice, go ahead and advice properly.
Offer your support and motivation to help them achieve success.
Celebrate Special Occasions
In my home, there is always something to celebrate, a new business milestone, an award, a new entry into college, a new car, Christmas, and birthdays.
It’s an opportunity for a true gentleman to show this other side of himself that celebrates life.
Acknowledge people’s good moments and give your support. If there is a small party, assist if you can in any way.
Remember important events and celebrations such as birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays.
Be sensitive enough to acknowledge and celebrate these moments together.
How to be a Gentleman at the Workplace
One good thing about being a true gentleman is that you can be it no matter your status or position in society.
There is never a situation where being a gentleman is prohibited, even in the face of attack, unless you are not a true gentleman and trying to make excuses for it.
Your workplace is a good place to display your finish of manners to your superiors and colleagues making them have a special regard for you.
Because the workplace environment is formal unlike the home, it requires more tact, carefulness, and emotional intelligence to navigate the scheming, landmines, and the politics that abound.
However, just like ever, the bottom line is being able to make everyone feel relaxed and comfortable around you.
Here are ways to be a gentleman in the workplace:
1. Treat everyone with respect
Respect will always be at the forefront of the path of being a gentleman. A man would have overcome himself if he strips himself of ego and pride.
Ego is one factor that makes you not want to recognize his superiors or those he is under and so desires his loyalty and respect.
It’s also ego that will make you not want to look down on your staff.
People have emotions and so humans feel the same way you feel when you are treated with respect.
The glaring point is that you will elicit more goodwill, performance, and support when those you work with whether they be your superiors or staff.
Related: Who is a Country Gentleman?
2. Dress Appropriately
Every working environment has its code of dressing and you should be a custodian of this code as a true gentleman.
Dressing according to your profession and the stipulation of your firm shows that you take your job seriously.
Usually, before being fully employed, you agree to the company’s culture and standards, the best a gentleman can do is to honour it.
3. Be a Good Listener
The workplace is driven by information that passes from one office to another or from person to person through different modes of communication.
Giving your full attention when information is being passed is in good taste.
You don’t need to be caught fiddling with your phone or attending to other tasks when you are being addressed.
This passes a message of rudeness and disrespect across, unbecoming of a true gentleman.
Also, being a good listener gives you a clear understanding of the message for a good response.
It is in excessive bad taste when you ask your colleague to repeat themselves after they thought they have your attention.
Show genuine interest in what others have to say during conversations or meetings.
Avoid interrupting and give others the chance to express their thoughts and opinions.
4. Communicate Politely
After the appearance, communication is the next thing that distinguishes a true gentleman from the average man.
His speech, use of words, politeness, body language, and tone of voice are things that are easy to notice.
Most of these are unconscious, that’s why you should train yourself to be in control of your entire behaviour.
Your superiors and colleagues would pick up on these and make whatever they want with them, so make sure you are self-aware and conscious of these communication behaviours.
A gentleman communicates in ways that aid understanding and in no way incites or insinuates negativity.
On your journey to becoming a perfect gentleman, never let politeness leave your conversation.
Politeness in your language and tone will say a lot about your treatment of people.
Use polite language and tone when communicating with your colleagues.
Avoid using offensive or disrespectful language, even in informal conversations.
6. Keep Personal Matters Separate
Separate business matters from personal matters. You might not like the face of a colleague, but it is in excessively bad taste to let this affect how productive you are with the person.
Bringing personal interests into the workplace is unbecoming of a true gentleman.
Also, it’s important to maintain a professional boundary and avoid sharing personal matters or engaging in gossip at work.
Focus on work-related discussions and keep personal conversations for appropriate settings.
When you are being dragged into such, politely withdraw yourself from such.
7. Offer Assistance
It is good conduct for a gentleman to give assistance to a colleague who is struggling with a task or in some other kind of discomfort.
This assistance is given without belittling or condescending in any way.
Sharing your expertise and supporting others creates a positive work environment and good relationships.
8. Practice Good Email Etiquette
If you work in a firm that uses email for communication, endeavour to acquaint yourself with netiquettes – the internet version of etiquettes.
Ensure your emails are professional, concise, and courteous.
Use proper greetings and sign-offs, respond promptly, and avoid using all caps or excessive exclamation marks.
9. Be Punctual
Punctuality is another way a gentleman shows respect to his workplace, even if there is nothing to do at the instance you arrive.
It shows how disciplined you are and how important the business is to you.
Arrive on time for meetings and deadlines, respecting others’ time commitments.
If you’re running late or won’t be there at all, inform the relevant parties in advance with a sincere apology.
10. Take Responsibility for Mistakes
Accept when you make a mistake and take responsibility. Apologize if needed and work towards finding a solution.
Blaming others or making excuses creates a negative atmosphere.
Remember, being a gentleman is not limited to your actions alone; it also involves treating others with kindness, empathy, and understanding.
Practice these qualities consistently, and you’ll contribute to a more respectful and harmonious workplace.
Also Read: Easy Ways to Identify a Gentleman
A Gentleman on the Streets
Even in the hustle and bustle of the streets, a gentleman clings to his values and never allows the times or trends to stagger his gentleman etiquette and good manners.
On the street where everything unthinkable is expected to happen, the gentleman carries himself with honesty, respect and the good intention to please.
A well-bred gentleman will be easily identified on the streets from people who lack good breeding.
Flouting these rules of good conduct is rude and points to ignorance and abandonment of propriety. Unfortunately, you can’t imagine how often it is flouted.
Here are some of the good conducts of a gentleman in the streets:
- Patience is a virtue the gentleman thrives on. In today’s fast-paced world, patience can be a rare virtue. The gentleman remains composed and patient, even in the face of adversity. Whether you’re stuck in traffic or waiting in a long queue, maintaining a calm demeanor can positively influence those around you and create a harmonious atmosphere. A gentleman does not try to jump the queue or beat the system to have his way.
- The way they walk, greet, and how they attend to people they know on the street or treat others in the streets shows they are true gentlemen. He will not, knowingly or unknowingly inconvenience other pedestrians by unconsciously standing in the middle of the way.
Also Read: Unravelling the British Gentleman
- He does not also make insensitive remarks about unwholesome things he notices about others he meets and does not even appear to notice them.
- Do not stop to join a crowd who are entertained by street acrobats, tricksters, or self-acclaimed magicians, unless you want to be sorry to lose one valuable item in your pocket.
- If you stop to chitchat with anyone in the street, give other passersby room to pass so that you may not interfere with their movement, or be reminded you are in their way.
- If you stop to ask anyone about your way, or if someone is missing their way and needs your help, it is in good taste to remove your cap or hat if you have one on while answering or asking.
- Be gentle to children in the street. It’s only a rude man who is low in thinking that can raise his voice in anger at the little ones in the streets.
- A man ceases to be a gentleman who will annoy, insult or quarrel with a lady in the street either in look gesture, or words.
- A gentleman does not smoke openly until after it is dark, and he removes his cigar from his mouth when greeting a lady.
- Be deliberate and careful about what you wear, for you don’t know who you might meet. It’s in good taste to leave the house well-dressed. Avoid bright clothes and too much jewelry. It is unbecoming of a gentleman to be dripping in jewelry.
- When you carry an umbrella, make sure it does not block the view before you, be cautious that it does not touch those who walk past you. If you are with a lady, cover her perfectly, and if you are with two ladies, allow them the comfort of the umbrella while you walk in the rain. It is unbecoming of a gentleman to share an umbrella with two ladies.
- You must pay your expenses and that of a lady you went out with, and if she offers to share the bill, decline, but if she insists, then yield gracefully as a gentleman.
- It is in bad taste for a gentleman to join a crowd in a street show of entertainment or in whatever guise that does not represent his ideal.
- A gentleman is friendly, courteous, and kind to kids. It is less of a gentleman to bark at kids or use derogatory words to address them in the streets or where else for that matter.
- A gentleman assists a British woman the same way he would assist an African woman who schlepps a bagful of groceries in the street.
A Gentleman with Visits
A gentleman must pay visits to friends, family, and colleagues from time to time in society.
This could be a mere visit after seeing you for a long time, or as a result of an occasion like a celebration, birthday, funeral, or any other event that your acquaintance might be holding.
If you have time on your hands, courtesy and your position as a gentleman permit you to oblige.
Here are some of the gentleman’s etiquette and manners regarding paying visits and being paid visits as a true gentleman:
- When a friend or any other for that matter invites you to his occasion and you see you cannot make it, it is a gentlemanly attitude to let them know by calling or visiting them. By so doing, you will soften the pain of your unavailability.
- Upon visiting your host and finding them at their meal time, and your host is forced to call upon you to join them, it is the best move to decline the invitation to dine. But if however, he insists and you see that it will give him pleasure, oblige, but be careful not to come again at the same hour.
- You should know it’s time to take your leave when visiting someone and they look at their watch or become fidgety or show some other unconscious cues that show they are weary.
- If you have a visitor who is emotionally daft, who spends hours and talks only about things you don’t care about, you must not show any sign of weariness, unless they are keeping you from attending to other important things. Listen to them and if possible, entertain them and be as polite as possible with a composure of excitement. If they are wasting your time, you may without any infringement on the gentleman’s etiquette let them know about it and ask for their excuse.
- Do not immediately rise to leave a host when other visitors visit in a way that should suggest you want to avoid them. Stay for a moment and leave so that your host may not have too many visitors to attend to at a time.
- When your host asks that you stay more after you had risen to leave, be sure that’s the best time to leave. It would be better to leave than hearken to him than to wait till you have worn out your welcome.
- Never visit a man who you know would be busy at that hour engaged in the pursuit of his business. He will not care to have a visitor at the time dedicated to his daily work.
- Do not intrude upon a gathering that is already complete and does not need extra human burden upon themselves. You might be an intruder who disrupts their tete-a-tete.
A Visit of Condolence
When on a visit of condolence, watch the mood of your hosts and assume their tone. If they talk about their misfortune in a sorrowful mood, for instance for their deceased relative, join them.
But if they avoid the subject because they don’t want to constantly be reminded of their sorrow, avoid it too.
It would be rude and ungentlemanly to force the feeling of sorrow afresh upon them.
Also, if they are making a painful effort to be cheerful as it should be most times, cheer them up and make them forget their affliction. At the same time, do not jest, celebrate or laugh out loud as it would violate the laws of politeness. You don’t want to be seen as heartless.
A Visit of Celebration
On the other hand, a celebration visit should be a cheerful and joyous one. Here, no painful expressions and stories.
You cannot mar the happy mood with stories of your miseries or other moody situations.
Rather enjoy with them and let them know their pleasure is also your pleasure.
Laughing with those that laugh, and weeping with those who are mourning does not translate to hypocrisy, but mirroring your environment as a true gentleman.
A Gentleman in the Party
Dancing remains the best amusement so delightful and popular that it lightens and lifts the spirit.
According to Lord Chesterfield to his son in a letter:
Lord Chesterfield’s letter to his son says:
“Dancing is, in itself, a very trifling and silly thing; but it is one of those established follies to which people of sense are sometimes obliged to conform; and then they should be able to do it well.
And, though I would not have you a dancer, yet, when you do dance, I would have you dance well, as I would have you do everything you do well.”
In another letter, he writes:
“Do you mind your dancing while your dancing master is with you? As you will be often under the necessity of dancing a minute, I would have you dance it very well.
Remember that the graceful motion of the arms, the giving of your hand, and the putting off and putting on of your hat genteelly, are the material parts of a gentleman’s dancing.
But the greatest advantage of dancing well is, that it necessarily teaches you to present yourself, to sit, stand, and walk genteelly; all of which are of real importance to a man of fashion.”Lord Chesterfield
A few things can ease the carriage of a gentleman than dancing and exercise because they give him easy motion – a soft step, with the arms and feet conjuring fine harmony that pleases judgment.
But what can be more awkward than a man who doesn’t know how to make his arms and legs do a harmony that is pleasing by finding his arms and legs in his way, betraying his lack of dancing skill.
To such gentlemen, learn to dance.
Gentleman in Dressing
There is a proverb – “it’s not the cowl that makes the monk”, and it can well be applicable to the gentleman’s dressing – the cloth does not make the gentleman.
But as the monk is identified abroad by his cowl, so the gentleman is identified by his refinement and tact.
One of the foremost dressing etiquette for the gentleman “Let the dress fit the occasion.”
Every dress is made for a reason. We know the primary reason for cloth is to cover nakedness, yeah.
But each kind of clothing serves an occasional purpose. This is what the true gentleman should know.
You don’t want to be caught in suit on your way to the farm, or in your overalls in an evening party.
Though men don’t have much choice for colours in clothes, there are still good masculine colours that the gentleman can choose.
Grey, black, blue, brown, and ash are all good colours that men can choose in their shades.
Whatever a gentleman wears, he should be sure it is agreeable with his spirit and make himself valuable, and not his dress, his wits, not his toilette, his elegance, and not the cost of his clothes.
Another dressing etiquette for the gentleman is not to try to appear too conspicuous.
If you are wealthy and you love fine things, let the luxury of your appearance show the fine quality of each accessory, but not too much jewelry and other too obvious accessories that are seen on the account of their money value.
The gentleman’s wardrobe follows simplicity.
Indulge in fashion as far as it is necessary to avoid oddities in your costume. Use your perfume but very little as too much of it is in excessively bad taste.
While every man needs to understand how to be a gentleman, not every man is destined to be a gentleman.
Embracing the principles of gentlemanliness proves indispensable in navigating diverse social landscapes.
Whether attending a formal event or engaging in casual interactions, the art of being a gentleman promotes respect and sometimes amusement.
From the above, we have seen how being a gentleman in many situations is possible, starting from the home to the workplace and how a gentleman acts during visits and other situations.
A gentleman might not be flawless, but he loves and enjoys orderliness and encourages others to follow suit.
While it is difficult to get everybody to be gentlemanly, the true gentleman does his bits and leaves a trail.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I be a gentleman all the time?
Being a gentleman entails respecting others, practicing kindness, displaying good manners consistently, and demonstrating empathy in all interactions, fostering a positive and respectful environment.
How do I behave like a gentleman?
Embrace courtesy, exhibit polite behavior, prioritize others’ comfort, practice active listening, and display respect for diversity to embody gentlemanly conduct in daily interactions.
How do you teach a guy to be a gentleman?
Teach a guy to be a gentleman by setting a positive example, discussing the importance of respect and empathy, providing guidance on etiquette, and encouraging self-awareness and personal growth.
Pyo Merez, a social psychologist and avid writer, specializes in unraveling the intricate relationship between gentlemen and society.
With years of experience studying human behaviour, he offers unique insights into how societal norms shape gentlemen’s identity and vice versa.
Through his captivating and thought-provoking articles, Pyo taps into the depths of gentlemanliness and masculinity and provides valuable perspectives on etiquette and manners in modern society.
Prepare to embark on an enlightening journey with Pyo Chims as he dives deep into the world of gentlemen’s culture and society.