Skip to main content
Updated date:

How to Be a Gentleman: A Guide for the Modern Man


Why Do You Need to Be a Gentleman?

Somewhere in the last fifty years or so, the art of being a gentleman became less and less common for men. Today, we often look up to those who do have the admirable traits that the men of old used to possess. When we act as gentlemen, we portray qualities that all people look up to and that women find irresistibly attractive.

Many men often become misled into thinking that being gentleman means being a “nice guy” or a pushover. This is far from the truth. Being a gentleman means much more than saying please and thank you and always giving in to others. That is a shallow and unfortunate misrepresentation of how a man should conduct himself. Being a gentleman means carrying yourself with confidence and showing respect to all people. Confidence does not mean a muscle t-shirt and a cigarette. It does not mean being a “bad boy”. It means being a respectable man who puts others first while remaining sure of who he is as a person.

Being a gentleman takes learning and practice. It is not something that happens to us overnight. While a descriptive guide for being a gentleman in every possible human situation would encompass a book far too large to read, this short guide will hopefully give you some idea as to the way gentlemen generally act in certain circumstances. If you want to become a more respectable and confident individual, consider the following guide a roadmap for your future behavior.


While Speaking

Although you may be a dashing, handsome, good looking individual, it is a lost cause in acting as a gentleman if we do not speak like one. We must remember the following:

  • Never speak like someone you are not - If you are an educated individual who has ever taken an English class, do not speak with slang or in a voice that sounds as though you want to be cool. You will ultimately fail at portraying any coolness whatsoever. Altering our true voice says to others that we are not confident in ourselves. Stick to your natural voice.
  • Listen to others – All too often, we prefer to hear ourselves speak as opposed to others. In your quest to gentlemanliness, you will do well to remember that listening to others and not interrupting is a show of respect. Listening more than speaking will allow you to develop a response to someone and answer intelligently.
  • Use manners – Do not underestimate the importance of saying please and thank you. Being polite while speaking to others shows that you are a man who is not focused only on himself. Using manners shows that we have a genuine respect for others in society and are willing to acknowledge them. Don’t be the “bad boy” who isn’t polite. He is not as confident in himself as he appears.
  • Be slow to talk about yourself – No one likes the guy who talks about himself constantly. This goes hand in hand with listening to others. When someone asks you how your job is going, do not immediately give an elaborate response about how successful you are. Learn to focus on the other person, not yourself.
  • Do not swear – An occasional slip of the tongue may be alright, but make a point to not cuss repeatedly. Swearing a lot immediately tells all who may hear you that you are a negative person. It makes you look unintelligent and lacking in respectability.

In Public

Public is a broad word. In this case, I simply mean at the store, post office, or any other place that we may find ourselves on a day to day basis. In all of our public affairs, it is important to remember a few rules of thumb if we wish to act as gentlemen.

  • Open the door for all people - Gentlemen hold doors open for people. They do not make a 90 year old woman open the door for herself. This too shows others that you care more about their needs than your own.
  • Be courteous to store employees – Never treat an employee at a store with disrespect. Although employees may not always be the best at what they do, that does not give you the right to treat them with disrespect. Do not be the person who makes a scene or demands to speak to a manager all the time. A gentleman is above this.
  • Don’t dress like a mess – When you are in public, do not dress as if you were at home on the couch. Gentlemen look respectable no matter where they go. This does not mean that you ought to wear dress shirts to the grocery store, but you should at least take the time to comb your hair and look presentable in public.
  • Give others your full attention – If you are ready to pay at a store or public place, give the cashier your full attention. If you are on the phone, hang up. If you feel you have other things that require more attention than what you are currently doing, do those things before you go somewhere else.
  • Do not be loud or disruptive – Gentlemen do not use loud voices in public. No one likes the guy that is talking so loud that everyone in the store can hear him. It makes others uncomfortable and makes you seem like you are trying to draw attention to yourself.

While Driving

Driving is one activity that can lead a man to act in a ridiculous manner. Gentlemanliness does not end when you are in the car. Still, it is not an easy place to portray it. It is in fact the one area that most men will find it very hard to maintain a gentleman’s character. Remembering a few key points will aid you in this endeavor.

  • Allow pedestrians to cross – It does not matter if a person walks at an incredibly slow pace when allowed to cross a road, a gentleman always insist a person walk across before driving along.
  • Never drive right behind someone – Driving close to the back bumper of another car shows that you are an impatient, impolite individual whose sole concern is for no one other than himself. Yes, many people drive incredibly too slow. Still, a gentleman does not allow his frustration to get the best of him.
  • Do not play loud music – No one is impressed when someone blares his music so loud that everyone around can hear it. This only shows that he cannot live without getting added attention, even when parked at a red light. Gentlemen do not require this extra attention, nor do they want it.
  • Do not honk unless in danger – Unless another vehicle is about to collide into yours, there is really no reason to honk your horn. We have all seen the group of guys in a car that honk at the pretty girl walking down the street. Honking your horn will not win you a date. Be respectful and have the courage to actually speak to women.
  • Never rev up your engine – Like honking, revving up a car’s engine proves nothing other than the fact that you know how to press a pedal down and waste money on useless things. Unless you are competing in some sort of racing event, revving an engine and peeling out makes you look foolish and immature.

If You Are a Guest

Whether you are invited to a dinner event or staying with a family member, being a guest in someone’s home is one activity that a gentlemen does not show appreciation for. When you find yourself in a situation wherein you are a guest, remember the following:

  • Always call ahead – Calling your host before you arrive is a polite gesture. It allows the person to make sure everything is in order and as they would like it to be. Try not to just show up unannounced. Make a quick call and let them know you are going to make it on time.
  • Bring Something – Do not expect your host to have everything he or she could possibly need for your stay or visit. This will obviously vary depending on the situation, but always bring what you think your host may not have or could use. For an overnight stay this is really important. If you aren’t sure, ask your host what you can bring when you call ahead.
  • Do not appear bored – If you find your event to be rather dull, never allow yourself to let your guest see that you are bored. It will undoubtedly make your host feel uncomfortable. A good remedy for this is to have a backup plan of possible activities in case the visit proves awkward or dull.
  • Send a thank you – A day or two after your visit, show your appreciation by sending a thank you to your host. This can be in the form of a simple card or letter. If you suspect your host spent some money on the event, it is a good idea to send a small thank you gift as well. Your host will feel he or she did well and very appreciated.

In a Relationship

This is one topic that requires a gentleman to be the ultimate gentleman. Treating a significant other with little respect proves that you are a selfish man that finds confidence in feeling more powerful than a woman. A woman should be treated respectfully and with care. A gentleman will do this by adhering to the following:

  • Remember the little things – A gentleman makes it a point to remember little things about his significant other. If she loves a certain candy, he picks it up for her at the store. If she likes her socks put in the drawer a certain way, he does it her way. Doing little things like this may sometimes go unnoticed, but it is when she notices you do them that you see how much they really mean.
  • Open car doors for her – Many men feel embarrassed or are shy about chivalric acts like opening doors for a woman. That is unfortunate. If you asked 20 women if they’d prefer a guy who did or didn’t open the door for her, I would bet not one would say one who didn’t.
  • Don’t expect things to be done – Never expect a woman to make you dinner. Never expect a woman to wash your clothes. It is when a man begins to expect things like these to be done that a woman starts to feel unappreciated. Be a gentleman and take it upon yourself to do things like this, at least every now and then.
  • Let go of pride – Pride has no place in a relationship. If you are having an argument over something, do not be unwilling to listen to her side of the story and admit if your own misunderstandings or wrongdoings. Never have too much pride to admit your own failures. A gentleman understands the pride should be reserved for other things.
  • Do unexpected things – This is the key to woman’s heart. If she is getting home late from work, make a romantic dinner for her. Buy her flowers or candy for no reason. These are the things that can continuously rekindle the flame in a relationship.

On a Date

In the old days, when a man was to take woman on a date, he practiced his chivalry and made a point to act in a manner that was worthy of a girls attention. This is the way of the gentleman. If a man can show his gentlemanly side on a date, he can secure another one in the future.

  • Always pay for everything – Some think that in the modern world we live in that it is fine for a woman to pay for things on dates. I do not think this way. Women want to feel appreciated and important. Do not allow them to pay. It suggest to them that they are not even worthy of a dinner bill.
  • Always drive – Girls don’t like driving their dates around. They want to be “taken out”. They do not want to take you out. Be the gentleman and pick up your date. It doesn’t matter what you drive. In today’s world, a beat up 85’ Pontiac might even be considered cute to the girl.
  • Dress appropriately – Please guys, do not wear gym shorts and a tank top on a date. This does not mean you need to go find a suit and tie, but at least wear a polo and some nice pants. It is perfectly acceptable to ask the date what she will be wearing so that she will not be worried and feel uncomfortable if the two of you are dressed entirely different.
  • Use good manners – Although you may prefer to eat your spaghetti by slurping the noodles and licking extra sauce off of your fingers at home, your date might not find it very appealing. Practice good table manners. Chew with your mouth closed and keep your elbows off the table. Google “table manners” if this is foreign language to you.
  • Have plans for the night – Nothing Is worse than driving around with a girl and not having the slightest idea as to where you are going to go or what you are going to do. It is the fast track to a dull and awkward night. If you don’t have definitive plans, have at least an idea of what the two of you can do that night. This will portray confidence and self-assurance.

In an Argument With Someone

If you ever find yourself in an argument or disagreement with someone, you will want to maintain your gentlemanly character. This is where many modern men fail miserably. Whether it is an argument with a drunken guy at a bar, or a disagreement over politics at work, you will want to remember a few things.

Read More From Pairedlife

  • Avoid physical fighting if possible – Eventually, you will be in a situation wherein a drunken person pushes you because he is drunk and would like a nice fight. Do not be the person to throw the first punch. If you can avoid fighting, you have proven you do not wish to sink to a reckless and immature person’s level. Thus, you show you are a gentleman.
  • Do not raise your voice – If you are having an argument with someone, do your best to not get overexcited and raise your voice. If you do, you are showing that you have a very short temper and are not able to carry a tough conversation without losing it. Gentlemen know how to control their emotions and temper.
  • Take disagreements outside – If you find yourself in a situation where you feel you must address some sort of problem that has arisen, do not do it in public or around a large group of people. Do not draw attention to yourself or ruin everyone else’s time with your public quarreling.
  • Be slow to anger – Rather than immediately getting defensive and angry, try analyzing the situation and seeing it for what it really is. If a store clerk has accidentally given you too little change, do not lash out in anger at the manager. Ask him quietly if he could look into the situation. A gentleman is calm, relaxed, and slow to anger.

At Work

Everyone who has ever had a job knows that it can be stressful. Even so, if you wish to become a genuinely confident, respectable gentleman, you will need to become one at your place of employment as well. Work is where we spend much of our lives. If we are not gentleman there, then we are not gentleman.

  • Do your work – No matter how mundane or difficult your work may be, always make sure you complete it before going home. You may hate your job, but it is nevertheless the thing you get up and do every day. Take pride in the fact that you are employed. Gentlemen have work ethics.
  • Do not complain about others – You may be the only person at your job that truly works and gets things done. Having said that, do not go complaining to your boss about the lackluster performance of your coworkers. It does not matter how they perform. They are not gentleman. You are. Their performance will catch up to them in one way or another.
  • Do what you are told – Your boss may randomly ask you to clean the toilets if the janitor happens to be sick one day. Do not think that you are above anything. A gentleman knows that we are all equal in society and does not hold his self-worth any higher than the next man. Respect those above you and take the high road. Do what is asked of you.
  • Challenge unethical practices – If you for any reason feel that something your employer is doing is unethical or hurtful to others, be the man who steps up and says something. It does not matter if you get penalized. A gentleman does what he knows to be the right thing. How much disaster could have been avoided in the financial crises if we’d had more gentlemen?
  • Offer to help coworkers – If someone asked you to do something for them at work, just do it. Work is not meant to be easy. Even if we feel heavily burdened by our own personal duties, do not hesitate to help others complete their own tasks. A gentleman knows how hard work can be and thus offers his assistance to those who need it.

The fact of the matter is the world has lost the art of being a gentleman. Somewhere along the way, chivalry and good manners were replaced with an unfortunate desire to seek our own interest first. Being a gentleman is something that every man can learn to be. There are those who will tell you that being a gentleman means being a sissy or pushover. Those who say this are the ones lacking in self-confidence and self-assurance. We must not be afraid to be gentlemen. Gentlemen are what the world wants and needs.

While this is just a guide to particular situations, the main point should be clear. Being a gentleman means having confidence, being sure of ourselves, never failing to be polite, and always seeking to put others first. Take it upon yourself to be a better man. You will be the one other men aspire to be like, whether they admit it or not. You will be what every woman has longed for for many years now.

Be a man. Be a gentleman.

Cast a vote!


Jw on January 03, 2020:

Did a woman write this out, just curious?

Dale Anderson from The High Seas on July 23, 2019:

BRAVO! I applaud you for this how to article. It has been on my mind for some time to write something similar and I think that you have done a wonderful job here. Be proud.

Sethughes (author) on November 20, 2017:

Thanks for your comment Katherine. Any person in their right mind should know not to sexually harass or make unwanted to passes to another person. It should go without having to mention. Not sexually harassing another person does not make you a gentleman, it makes you not a criminal. I understand the point you are making, but using that logic, I may have well just said "a gentleman doesn't rape others."

Katherine on November 17, 2017:

I read this carefully for an article I want to write - I was stunned to see no mention of sexual harassment, unwanted sexual passes at work, not using your power to take advantage of subordinates -- not forcing yourself on women? In light of all the issues we are hearing about sexual harassment and sexual assault, this article could use an update on what being a gentleman really means.

Matty Navarro from New Jersey on June 08, 2017:

A lot of women would be so happy to see men behave like gentlemen. Great hub!

Eben on March 31, 2017:

this is really inspiring. Good work done.

BT on February 08, 2017:

Well done. Thank You. The article was clear, accurate and concise - quite correct and professional written. Gentlemanly behavior hints at: confidence, education, clear thinking, skills, respect for self and others and good character. Because of faulty: learning, thinking and confidence; many incorrectly judge respect for others, as weakness. We need to act as ladies and gentlemen to re-educate ourselves and others. Thanks.

piustyler on August 19, 2015:

i need your email please

justinh. on March 06, 2015:

I'm only 16 and i think you just upped my knowledge of what to do in order to have the best date by about 99.9%. Thank you, so much.

Clay Coppage on October 20, 2014:

Great hub. I know it was only one point, but I loved the "Be courteous to store employees" line. It's so sad to me when people step all over low income fast food workers, hourly store employees, etc. The world would be a better place if everyone had an hourly, low level job at some point in their lives.

Yves on March 18, 2014:

Wow! You covered the art of being a gentleman like a pro. This article is wonderful. It is a shame that the word gentleman is sometimes misconstrued to mean "too nice or, as you said, "a pushover." There is no question that a gentleman is a rare bird indeed, but one who is also magnetically appealing. I believe the reason we are drawn to gentleman is because he respects others as much as he respects himself, and it shows through all of his actions. A gentleman is something that anyone can practice becoming-- for it is well worth the effort. As an aside, the same goes for being a true woman. It's a learned habit and a choice that more of us need to make and practice daily.

Up & awesome.

Ed Palumbo from Tualatin, OR on January 30, 2014:

Gentlemen will always be appreciated, but I see fewer men (of any age) modeling that behavior. I will say that a lady is a woman that makes a man WANT to be a gentleman, and I suggest that young women expect and encourage that behavior. My wife and I have been married for 31 years, and I understand that she's a busy professional but she often finds it impractical and time-consuming to wait for me to open a car door or other to hold a chair for her. I've reminded her, "Our son and daughter are watching." She understands, of course. Courtesy is often a function of time; it takes a moment to exercise take the extra step(s) that evidences civilized behaviors and polished manners, but it's worthwhile investment of time. Ladies, if a man forgets the rules, discreetly remind him that you expect and deserve gentlemanly behavior.

VDorchester on May 31, 2013:

Some really good advice here. I think a lot of young men today forget what it really means to be a gentleman and undervalue that status.

H C Palting from East Coast on April 16, 2013:

This is a hub that I wish was required reading for men. So many in this world are very rude, self centered, and quick to anger. I am a lady and it's nice to be approached by gentlemen who introduce themselves and speak like men. Only boys hoot, holler, and as you said honk car horns at pretty women and girls. Gentlemen will always be appreciated, it would be nice to see more of them in this world.

FullOfLoveSites from United States on January 29, 2013:

Please find me that perfect gentleman LOL. Don't you know guys, even modern women still find the out-and-out gentleman really adorable. :)

I really enjoy reading this hub, good work my friend. :)

Up, interesting, and shared.

Lissette from Central Florida on January 28, 2013:

I really enjoyed reading this. I am a bit at a loss for words at how your written voice sounds. You defy expectations and that is refreshing. Thank you for finding me so that I could have the chance to look into you.

Alecia Murphy from Wilmington, North Carolina on December 30, 2012:

Excellent hub! I love seeing a gentleman in action, it gives me hope that there are still nice and considerate guys around.

Mark Passarelli from Lakewood Colorado on November 23, 2012:

Very great article. I always strive to become a gentleman but I have quite a ways to go. Great tips and great message. Bravo chap, bravo.

jmartin1344 from Royal Oak, Michigan on November 21, 2012:

Great hub Sethughes! All very true...particularly liked the Arguments and Work portions.

The "pay for the bill" portion reminds of an episode of How I Met Your Mother, where she "offered to pay the bill" and was therefore a keeper.

Take notes folks! Voted up.

Sethughes (author) on November 20, 2012:

Thank you very much! I firmly believe that the art of being a gentleman is a treasure that is slowly fading away, but that all men and people should strive to keep. Thanks for reading!

Dianna Mendez on November 20, 2012:

This should be handed out to every man when he turns twelve! Excellent advice and what a great image to pursue. I especially like your guest and little things tips. The ethical point is another great one for not just men, but everyone. Voted up and across!

Thaddeus Byron Bullock Jr. from Clemson, South Carolina on November 15, 2012:

Very inspiring and well-written, it's comforting to know that being a true gentleman is not an entirely lost trend. In my opinion, everybody should be raised to be this way and should raise their children this way. The media should encourage this, but sadly there is an increasing trend towards the "dark side"

Robert Erich from California on November 14, 2012:

This is a well thought out and well written article. I certainly agree with what you have written. Personally, I love the "Difference between a man and a gentleman" poster. That says it all. I'll be sharing this article with my followers. Keep up the great writing and continue to strive towards being a gentleman!

Sethughes (author) on September 26, 2012:

Thank you much! I only it can become a norm for all men.

cheetah786 on September 23, 2012:

the tips for speaking are really powerful and add to your personality.. this is a great hub. great work..!

catgypsy from the South on September 17, 2012:

Your welcome. I have to admit that my dad was in the Air force, so we left Wichita Falls when I was very little, but I still love being from there!

Sethughes (author) on September 17, 2012:

Thank you very much for reading and for your kind comments. I am flattered and grateful. Also, I am thrilled to have found someone from Wichita Falls! It is nice to see someone on huppages who shares my hometown. Thanks again :)

catgypsy from the South on September 17, 2012:

What a great Hub! It is so refreshing to know that there are actually men out there that care about this. I read your profile and you said you have a great girlfriend...she is one lucky lady! By the way, I was born in Wichita Falls! Really nicely written hub.

Sethughes (author) on August 23, 2012:

Thank you very much for reading and sharing!

emilybee on August 19, 2012:

Very complete hub, you included all the different aspects and scenarios needed, couldn't agree more with everything you mentioned. Excellent and sharing!

Mark on August 02, 2012:

Great article, This is a topic I have been exploring for years. It's great to see it becoming mainstream again, all those women asking "where have all the real men gone" have actually started to inspire young men to pick up some of the traditions that made their fathers and grandfathers great men. I believe it's a topic that should be covered more. Well done.

Sethughes (author) on July 27, 2012:

I suppose I was raised a bit differently. I think it is just one of those common sense areas that tends to separate men from boys. Maybe more people my age will learn these things and find a goo woman because of it! Thanks!

Mr Archer from Missouri on July 27, 2012:

Wait, wait wait! A young man, college student in today's world, giving us an insight into what a gentleman is!?!? I thought there were no men left in the world who thought this way, at least under the age of 40 or so. Very well done, young man! I am proud to say that you hit the nail squarely on the head. Men SHOULD treat women with respect, should treat ALL people with respect. The Golden Rule applies here, "Do unto others as you would have done unto you". That is what a gentleman is. Greast hub!

Sethughes (author) on July 14, 2012:

Well thank you. I think that this is just a common way to live that has been lost. Thanks for reading and for your comments.

Michelle Dee from Charlotte, NC on July 14, 2012:

You are very wise sethughes, I really enjoyed reading this hub.

Sethughes (author) on July 12, 2012:

Thank you very much for reading and for your comments. Im glad you enjoyed it.

Mary from Cronulla NSW on July 12, 2012:

Definitely a great read Seth and so well thought out and put together and we all need some of your tips for good behaviors & have my votes...cheers

Sethughes (author) on July 12, 2012:

Thank you very much for reading and for your kind comments. Im glad you enjoyed it!

misslucile on July 12, 2012:

What a fantastic hub Seth! So very well-written and thorough! This is definitely a timeless piece. Congratulations.

Sethughes (author) on July 12, 2012:

Thank you Kashmir I think it is all too often overlooked in the world we live in today. Still, it is just as important as it always has been. Thank you very much for voting and sharing!!

Takerecess, I am glad that you have found someone who knows how to be a gentleman. Consider yourself lucky! I do think it should be expected. Unfortunately, it isn't always. Thank you for reading and for the real life example.

takerecess from USA on July 12, 2012:

From a lady's perspective, I LOVE this hub. My daddy raised me to expect certain things from young men and I do. Honestly, if my husband had not opened doors for me, I probably wouldn't have married him. Despite all his many wonderful characteristics, I wanted to feel taken care of and appreciated. To me, opening doors and polite behavior demonstrated that he cared about me and would treat me with respect.

Thomas Silvia from Massachusetts on July 12, 2012:

Hi Sethughes, This is one great hub with very valuable information in this well written hub that every guy should read. Being a gentleman is rarely see or done with the young men of today. Well done !

Vote up and more !!! SHARING !

Sethughes (author) on July 11, 2012:

Good points! I think the men who truly are gentlemen do not even notice the fact that they are. Perhaps it is because they were raised that way and in turn, it is their natural behavior. Either way, I think the world needs more men to be this way!

Thanks for reading and commenting! Glad you liked it.

KatrineDM on July 11, 2012:

Wow, this is a truly awesome hub.

Mainly addressed to our male many excellent tips to take on board..

In today's fast-paced world many people often forget about the importance of good behavior and manners..

Yet, I still personally know some great men out there who perhaps don't even realize they are in fact gentlemen...

Sethughes (author) on July 11, 2012:

Thank you for reading and I am glad you agree. I will consider making a poll for it. I wish that all mem could see why being a gentleman makes you a better man. Thanks for the vote.

Russ Moran - The Write Stuff from Long Island, New York on July 11, 2012:

Fabulous Hub, voted up and awesome. Nobody talks about this anymore. The emphasis is on being cool, selling your brand, and in other ways having the universe revolve around oneself. Thanks for being a gentleman! A poll would be great on this Hub.

Sethughes (author) on July 11, 2012:

Thank you myownlife, I agree we should all learn to be this way. The world would be a better place!

Sethughes (author) on July 11, 2012:

Thank you for reading ksharp. Im think if you teach your boys to do things, they will understand and appreciate it eventually. Teaching them to be gentlemen is a real gift. Thank you for reading.

I have considered the apprenticeship, I just want to be sure I am at a point where I have plenty of time to complete the task and such. I would really like to do it and may look into it further next month when the new semester begins. Thanks again!

myownlife from london on July 11, 2012:

Wow, Great ideas and tip to be. Let's follow all Men to add Gentle before Men. Great hub.

Kristi Sharp from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota. on July 10, 2012:

Seth, that's one terrific list! If can raise my boys to be half as phenomenal as your guide, I'll feel pretty darn good. A lot of is going to happen because "momma said so" type rules, my boys are 11 & 13. Overall, your list is wonderful. Are you considering the apprenticeship? I think I asked you this once before. -K

Sethughes (author) on July 10, 2012:

Thank you very much. Chivalry needs to make a comeback!

Mellonyy on July 10, 2012:

Great explanation! I agree on everything you point out here!Thumbs up! Shared.

Related Articles