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20 Ways to Tell If She's a Lady

Kari was taught to be a lady by her mother. She is considerate and polite.

Is She A Lady?


Definition: To purify from what is coarse, vulgar, or debasing; make elegant or cultured.


Is She a Lady?

"Ladies and gentlemen!" is often a cry to get attention from a crowd. There are many articles regarding what a gentleman is, but not so many about ladies. What is a lady?

Merriam-Webster's Dictionary defines the word lady as "A woman of refinement and gentle manners." What exactly does refinement and gentle manners mean? How do we tell if a woman is a lady?

The word "lady" may bring to mind someone so prim and proper as to be unpleasant. Ladies may be prim and proper, but they are never unpleasant. Real ladies know how to have fun. They dance and laugh and spin until they are dizzy.

What about your date? Is this someone you can bring home to the parents? Will you be embarrassed by her tactless comments? Will she think less of you after meeting your siblings? Or will she conduct herself with grace and civility through it all?

How can you tell? Here are 20 ways to tell if she is a lady.

A Lady Is Fun

Ladies know how to laugh.

Ladies know how to laugh.

1. Courtesy

  • Courtesy is a hallmark feature of being a lady. As Sansa Stark told the Hound, "Courtesy is a lady's armor." The armor of politeness, good manners, civility and respect deflects many a wounding blow.

2. Polite

  • Politeness is another piece of her formidable armor. Playing on the phone while others are present is rudeness in her opinion. We should pay attention to the people we are with and reserve phone play for when we are alone. When her phone rings, she will excuse herself if she must answer, otherwise she lets the call go to voicemail.

The more you act like a lady, the more he'll act like a gentleman.

— Sidney Biddle Barrows

3. No Arguments

  • She respects the opinions of others. A lady does not get into arguments. She does not raise her voice or yell. She will have lively conversations, but she does not put her opinions over the opinions of her companion. Each opinion holds her respect. Her open mindedness is a well known fact.

4. Punctual

  • Ladies are punctual. Understanding others' time is as important as her own, she does not keep you waiting. Fashionably late is not in her vocabulary. A lady finds nothing fashionable about being late.

5. Patient

  • Jostling others in line and crowding those ahead of her are actions she ardently avoids. When in line she waits patiently. She has a smile and a kind word for her fellows-in-line. If the attendant becomes flustered and the line is creeping, she refrains from seeming impatient. Again she smiles and has a kind word for the flustered attendant. Each person is worthy of her respect and courtesy.

6. Good Listener

  • Ladies are well spoken and good listeners. They have excellent active listening skills. Smiling, nodding her head, adding small agreements encourages the speaker. While speaking with a lady the speaker feels he/she has an important message worth listening to.

7. Respect

  • Please and thank you are a part of her everyday regime. She respects others and shows that respect in how she treats them. When meeting someone, she smiles, shakes their hand, and maintains eye contact.

3 Phrases Every Lady Should Know

8. Good Hygiene

  • A lady exhibits good hygiene. She is clean and pleasant to be around. Ladies understand that being clean helps others feel more comfortable around them.

9. Honor

  • Ladies adhere to a code. A code of living that appreciates all others. She is honest, truthful and sincere. She wears her honor as if it was a gown to wrap herself in.

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10. Integrity

  • Ladies do not do what is right only when others are looking. Ladies do what is right when no one is looking. She embraces a strong work ethic. All jobs worth doing are worth doing well. In all instances a lady will work to the best of her abilities. She pays attention to detail.

Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren't.

— Margaret Thatcher

11. No Gossip

  • You do not find a lady gossiping. She understands that gossip is a derogatory skill. She grasps the beauty of truth and attempts to stay within its limits. If she does not have something nice to say she does not say anything at all.

12. Sincere

  • Ladies give sincere compliments. They know that there is good in everyone, and know how to look for it. If a lady says she loves your dress there is no hidden agenda. She just loves your dress.

13. Kindness

  • Kindness and benevolence are a lady in a nutshell. Others' time, feelings and opinions are taken into consideration by ladies. They are careful not to cause inconvenience or hurt to others. Ladies are thoughtful and solicitous to others.

14. Generosity

  • A lady shares well. She will take the blame, but always shares the credit. She admits when she is wrong. Ladies have generosity when dealing with others.

You may be a princess or the richest woman in the world, but you cannot be more than a lady.

— Lady Randolph Churchill

15. Dress Code

  • A lady dresses based on the situation. She understands the unwritten dress code that applies to various social engagements. A demure dress for one occasion and that little black number for another.

A Lady

The natural makeup and simple hair style matches the plaid shirt.  She knows how to present herself.

The natural makeup and simple hair style matches the plaid shirt. She knows how to present herself.

15. Ethical

  • Ladies have a code of ethics that guides their life. Fairness, truthfulness and decency are at the root of their actions. Ladies know that each of our actions impact the others in our lives. A code of ethics is difficult to maintain at all times but the lady will want to sleep well at night and live with a clean conscious.

16. Vocabulary

  • Ladies maintain a large vocabulary. They do not stoop to vulgarities during arguments. You are not a sh##, you are a dodo brain.

17. Tactful

  • A lady is discreet, thoughtful and sensitive in her comments. She tells unpleasant truths in such a way as to inflict the least amount of damage. Ladies do not belittle others in public. If you do not understand why the whole office hates you, a lady will pull you aside and tell you the reason tactfully.

18. Lifetime Learner

  • A lady is educated and continues to learn throughout life. She takes pleasure in learning new information, new ways to do things and new things to do.

19. Secrets

  • A lady can keep a secret. If you tell her something in confidence, she will not repeat it. She understands the meaning of private.

20. Moderate

  • A lady is moderate in alcohol use, appetite and extravagance. She may want that whole cake but she will content herself with a slice. She can afford that giant rock ring, but finds it tacky and flashy.


All ladies treat others with kindness, courtesy and generosity. They are truthful and sincere. Politeness is their name and integrity is their game.

If that special someone exhibits these behaviors, I believe it is safe to bring them home and show them off. As a lady she will be tactful and courteous. Enjoy yourself knowing you can trust her and relax.

Tips on Being a Lady

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2017 Kari Poulsen


Kari Poulsen (author) from Ohio on March 22, 2018:

Trisha, Maybe. It is odd to me that people do not remember how to act, but it is mostly they never learned correctly.

Kari Poulsen (author) from Ohio on March 22, 2018:

Thank you, Peg. I also remember those days, lol. I believe courtesy is what relationships should be built on.

Trisha Walsh on March 17, 2018:

Mary's comment really gave me food for thought. It reminded me of an article I once read years ago about how parents should never lower their standards even in small increments when it comes to teaching values to their children, including by example, because one small lapse can lead to further lapses which is the beginning of the proverbial "slippery slope". Perhaps that's what has led to a society and media that encourages vulgar behavior.

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on November 04, 2017:

These good reminders make me miss the days when acting like a lady was expected and taught. You've captured the essence of how it should be done.

Kari Poulsen (author) from Ohio on October 17, 2017:

Thank you, Mary. The media does like to show vulgar people. I agree, we need some balance. I guess nice doesn't sell, lol.

Mary Wickison from Brazil on October 17, 2017:

Excellent article. I think any woman can start at any time to rectify a possible slip in standards.

There is so much in the media that seems to encourage vulgar unladylike behavior. It is about time we had a balance.

So thank you for this.

Kari Poulsen (author) from Ohio on October 02, 2017:

Thank you Louise. I do believe that when we expect people to act better and show it by acting that way ourselves, that it helps them to think more of themselves.

Kari Poulsen (author) from Ohio on October 02, 2017:

Thank you Dora. That quote is very true. I have seen it many times. :)

Louise Powles from Norfolk, England on October 02, 2017:

I really do agree with the Sidney Biddle Barrows quote. I think men do act more like gentlemen when women act as ladies. So true.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on October 02, 2017:

All very good. The Sidney Biddle Barrows quote is one every lady should act on. Thank you.

Kari Poulsen (author) from Ohio on September 20, 2017:

Thanks Kenneth! :)

Kenneth Avery on September 19, 2017:


Hey, no problem, my friend. I am just happy to be among the many well-wishers who are supporting you and your tremendous works.

Keep smiling and write me anytime.

Kari Poulsen (author) from Ohio on September 19, 2017:

Kenneth, I don't know how I missed your comment. I'm very sorry it has taken me so long to respond. I really appreciate the compliment. I hope I can keep it up. Thank you!

Kari Poulsen (author) from Ohio on September 19, 2017:

You are very kind Amie. Thank you for reading! I can give you more examples if you like :)

Amie Ceesay on September 19, 2017:

Awww great points I was asked to give a speech at school on how to become a good lady I was confused on how to write it but after reading it. It really helps me a lot thank you kari you are such a great writer

Kenneth Avery on September 17, 2017:


One more thing: Keep up the Fantastic work.

Write me anytime.

Kari Poulsen (author) from Ohio on September 17, 2017:

Thanks Rachel! Glad I could help clarify things, lol.

Rachel Alba on September 17, 2017:

Hi Kari, Your articles look interesting. Up till recently I didn't want to be called a lady because, like you said, I thought it meant I was old. Well, I am old, whether I like to admit it or not. lol But after reading your article, I would like to be called a "lady". Thanks for clarifying it for me.

Blessings to you.

Kari Poulsen (author) from Ohio on September 15, 2017:

Thanks Deborah! And yes, you should take it as a great compliment. :)

Deborah Reno from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD on September 15, 2017:

Great article! When I first met my husband, he said I was a very nice lady. I thought he meant that I seemed old. I'll take it as a complement, after reading your article.


Kari Poulsen (author) from Ohio on September 14, 2017:

Thanks Kenneth, that is very kind. :)

Kenneth Avery from Hamilton, Alabama on September 14, 2017:

Wow, K@ri!

You have this topic down P.A.T. (not point after attempt).

Loved the phrasing and structure of your hub.

I appreciate you sharing your wisdom about how women can learn to be ladies.

Cudo's, K@ari!

Kari Poulsen (author) from Ohio on September 14, 2017:

Thanks Rochelle! I bet I could use the same points on being a gentleman. This is more about common courtesy that can apply to both women and men, lol.

Rochelle Frank from California Gold Country on September 13, 2017:

Nice article, good points. Now when you have a chance to do the "Being a Gentleman" companion piece, I'll bet you can use the same details.

Kari Poulsen (author) from Ohio on September 13, 2017:

Thank you so much, MizBejabbers! I was quite the tomboy when I was young. My Mom had quite a time instilling these rules in me, lol.

Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on September 13, 2017:

Very nicely done, Kari. Some of your pointers come naturally to all Southern girls, but some of us are tomboys and find it hard to draw the line between the two. I responded to your forum, but I want you to know that I think you are a good writer.

Kari Poulsen (author) from Ohio on September 13, 2017:

Thanks Imran! I agree, I think the points can be followed regardless of gender. I am beginning to think courtesy is becoming a lost art, lol.

pen promulgates on September 13, 2017:

What a wonderful article is this.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

Your points are inspirational enough to be followed by all regardless of the gender. On an impulse, I felt like being a lady. He he..

Well done!

Kari Poulsen (author) from Ohio on September 12, 2017:

I think it is just a forgotten art. People think of ladies as being delicate and dainty, but I think of strength and courtesy. We can still be tough and be a lady. Thanks for reading. :)

Nell Rose from England on September 12, 2017:

There are not many ladies these days I don't think! lol! but I do try and be as ladylike as possible!

Kari Poulsen (author) from Ohio on September 10, 2017:

Very good point, probably shouldn't burp either. I wanted to make this more amusing, but it seems my funny bone is out of whack. I like your idea of showing what not to do! Thanks for reading :)

FlourishAnyway from USA on September 09, 2017:

These are lovely qualities to aspire to. Ladies probably shouldn't fart in public either. I could see this being a fun speech or presentation to young people, complete with video or photo examples of celebrities and others behaving well or not ... and listing the advantages of behaving respectably.

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