Earlier this week we wrote Part I of II on How To Be A Gentleman. Some lads, young and old, might need an extra tip to point them in the direction towards manly and gentlemanly behavior. Fret not, if you want to carry yourself in a well-regarded fashion, these finer points are for you.
Check out the first 11 points on How To Be A Gentleman here.
Being a gentleman isn’t a pompous attitude or expensive clothes. Nor is it suave talk and standing tall. It’s the best mix of your character, treating others well, and presenting yourself as a man others want to follow. This is the essence of how to be a gentleman.
Speak Well of Others
When learning how to be a gentleman, it’s less about “me” or “I”. It’s about others. Them. Carrying yourself in a way that esteems others will earn you esteem.
Want to stand out? Speak well of others in their presence, and away from them as well. People will take note. The man who can give specific and exacting praise is worthy of receiving it himself.
Talk about their interests, not yours
Again, learning how to be a gentleman is about others. Growing your listening skills is paramount to being regarded as a gentleman. But learning to ask great questions that draw a person out of their shell is important as well.
Reader and fellow blogger Chris @ Stumble Forward had this to say on how to be a gentleman:
[quote]One thing that I’ve found really works well is when you are talking to someone is to ask them questions about what they are interested in. So often when I meet new people, whether it be at conferences or parties, people often just want to talk about themselves or their situations. Instead, I ask them questions about what they like to do.[/quote]
Art of Manliness did a great series last year on polishing up on your listening skills: How to Listen Effectively.
Tell stories with a point
Everyone loves a good story teller. And just because I suggest you guide conversation by asking people about them, rather than talking about you, doesn’t mean you should be a hard nut to crack.
People love good stories that share some adventure, and insight about who you are. Know what stories about yourself people are most interested in. When telling a story, remember that you’re not telling your life story. Share stories that have a point and an end.
Have you ever felt trapped in a conversation with someone telling a story that really wasn’t a story? They weren’t actually even talking with you, they were talking at you? That’s a person telling a story with no point or purpose. I’m guilty of this. And I sometimes wonder if we do it for our own catharsis–to process aloud with someone in the hopes of “feeling better”. It’s cool to do that with your therapist or close friend, but don’t use the random stranger at a party to have a cathartic moment. Be a gentleman!
Stand up straight
Now onto how to be a gentleman in how you carry yourself. No man wants to be regarded as a slouch. Standing up firm and strong isn’t just good for your health, but good for your confidence. There really is a physical/mental connection with posture. And people can see it. A person cowering or hunched is viewed as weak. A man who stands tall is regarded as having confidence.
Pay attention to your posture, and stand up straight.
Wash your clothes
Back in poor days of living in a dorm, I ran across an expert in the laundry room who had sage wisdom for me. He let me in on how to cut my laundry coin usage in half:
“You don’t need to wash your clothes, just put them in the dryer with a dryer sheet. I mean, when I take them out they smell just as clean as when I wash them as when I don’t.”
And I don’t remember who that charming young lad was. Nor do I remember anyone thinking he was the sharpest dressing gentleman out there either.
Gross. Wash your clothes. Clean stains–including the collar of your neck. And iron those shirts man! Be a gentleman!
Get a grown-up email address
Wildstallion1999@hotmail.com isn’t the way to present yourself when applying for a job. It’s also not the most savvy way to interact with new friends. Being sharp and looking on your game sometimes takes putting away some childish things. Go ahead and keep your fave teenage email address, but for those people you’re aiming to be a gentleman around, keep it classy.
Make a man out of your online social imprint
A man’s online social profile reaches far and wide. When potential employers want to know more about you, do not doubt that it’s likely they’ll look you up on your favorite social network. Having a goofy profile picture with your family is great. But looking like a drunken sailor or a Jersey-licious club rat won’t score you extra points with the classy young lady you want to pursue, or those that you want to recognize you as being a gentleman.
Give your word and keep it
Being a gentleman requires your yes meaning yes, and your no being no. When you tell someone you’re going to do something–do it. Even when it costs you.
Improve your penmanship
I’m an absolute hypocrite on this point. My handwriting has not changed since 6th grade. Considering I barely handwrite anymore, considering all the tech we use, my scribbles are probably in severe decline. It is so bad more than once I’ve asked an assistant to handwrite a post-it note to the president of my organization so I wouldn’t have to hand him something illegible.
Thinking about it still makes me smirk today (Sarah!) but probably isn’t the most gentlemanly practice.
If you’re in my bad-handwriting club, there are penmanship courses out there that’ll help us improve, and I for one could use this lesson in how to be a gentleman.
On that note, have you evaluated your signature lately?
Mind Your Manners
I’m not the most savvy when it comes to perfect etiquette. What side of your plate does the big fork go on? How do I tie a cummerbund? How do you impress really old rich people??
What I do try to pay attention to is being accommodating. If you’re with people you’re familiar with, be warm to the new persons and make them feel included. Are you around a new group of people? Don’t pull out your latest gag routine. Keep things simple until you’ve figured out the the personalized subculture of the group you are hanging with. Find out what’s important to them, what behavior is appropriate to the situation, and present yourself in the best light.
I hope it’d be needless to say, but belching in front of ladies you want to show respect rarely garners you some.
Using words like “Excuse me” and “Thank you” go a long way. Ask before taking. And instead of ordering someone to do something, ask them if they’ll do you a favor.
On a note that I’m sure any restaurant servers out there will appreciate, showing kindness to those in any service industry will distinguish you. But don’t do it to be distinguished. Show kindness and patience to those making your coffee, serving your food, installing your cable, or fixing your car.
Nix the my way or the highway attitude
People who are adamant and demanding they get their way almost always sound like alpha-douches. Or large babies. Instead of being pushy and consistently trying to get what you want, concede to what others want.
Nothing spoils chilling with a group of people more than the whiner who’s only going to be happy if the crowd does what they want. If that’s ever been you, take note. I guarantee people remember that moment you had to have your way.
Mind the details
It’s easy for any of us to be forgetful. And it’s easy to forgive ourselves when we are. When others are forgetful? We’re not so merciful. Show others you care by remembering not only the big things–but the little things. Doing this at your workplace as well will only help your touted reputation as knowing how to be a gentleman.
If you’re chief love language isn’t giving of gifts and connecting with people through acts of service, it will take repeated mental note-taking to give more effort in this area.
But few things shout “gentleman” more than a thoughtful note or gift to a lady love or friend. Whether it’s a special occasion or they need a pick-me-up. Don’t neglect to think about your bros too. If a buddy is down, make sure to be there to cheer them up. You can get them some gentleman gifts as well.
If you’re a house guest or someone recently helped you relocate, be thoughtful and give them a gift.
How To Be A Gentleman
The list could go on and on. There are an infinite number of ways to carry ourselves well and to learn how to be a gentleman. We’ll most certainly continue to talk about it on the site. Any thoughts from you to sharpen other guys and help them carry themselves with class?
Get the full story–take a look at How to Be a Gentleman Part I.
[Photo courtesy of DapperPaper]