21 Rules to Being a Gentleman

There are some basic rules to being a gentlemen that have been slowly disappearing from society and its our job to make sure they make a strong return as soon as possible.

Most of these should be known by everyone but some are a little less obvious and truly distinguish a modern gentleman from the rest of the men.

Below are my list of the 21 rules to being a gentleman but clearly there can be a lot more then 21.  I choose 21 to provide everyone a good starting point and not to overwhelm you so you can easily remember and take action today.

The taking action is the most important part. 

Rules to Being a Gentleman

21 Rules to Being a Gentleman

Show Respect to Everyone

A gentleman believes respect is given to everyone, and doesn’t need to be earned first.  Even if someone clearly has shown you disrespect, a modern gentleman will always rise above the situation and continue to show the highest level of respect to everyone.  Its just in his nature.

Respect can be shown in many forms and to make sure you act correctly, I recommend a simple mind trick.  If you actually tell yourself that you greatly respect the person you are with, your actions will naturally become respectful.

As you read through these rules, you will notice that respecting others is a key thread that runs through most of these rules to being a gentleman and is clearly the most important.  If you remember one thing from this article, it is this.

Say Please and Thankyou

Nothing says polite better then always saying please and thankyou, and modern gentlemen are always polite.

Just remember: Simply using the word doesn’t make the request polite. Tone, expression, and body language are just as important as the words.

If you are asking someone to “Pass the salt” in a friendly way, it is polite and acceptable but then you ask in a polite way AND add “Please pass the Salk”, it takes the request to a whole new level.

This is the level gentlemen live and everything they do is always a step above the rest.

Work Hard

Modern Gentlemen are never lazy.  We work hard, and play hard.  We succeed where others give up and we help others succeed as well.

Most people think gentlemen are born of privilege and were handed their luxuries in life.  99% of the time, nothing is further from the truth. 

Amazing things happen when you are smart, focused, work hard and never give up.  These are the keys to success and they are gentlemen core character traits.

Mind Your Manners

Manors are steps above politeness.  There are countless ways to display proper manors.  Some examples of displaying manors is giving other people our attention when they are speaking to us, always being punctual, eating properly in mixed company, and taking your hat off indoors.

We all heard the saying, never put your elbows on the table when you eat, but no one ever really understood why.  Its simple.  Good posture is good manors.  When you have your elbows on the table, you are slouching and not sitting correctly.

Here are some more basic table manors you should be following:

  1. Chew with your mouth closed.
  2. Keep your smartphone off the table and set to silent or vibrate. Wait to check calls and texts until you are finished with the meal and away from the table.
  3. Don’t use your utensils like a shovel or stab your food.
  4. Don’t pick your teeth at the table.
  5. Remember to use your napkin.
  6. Wait until you’re done chewing to sip or swallow a drink.
  7. Cut only one piece of food at a time.
  8. Avoid slouching and don’t place your elbows on the table while eating.
  9. Instead of reaching across the table for something, ask for it to be passed to you.
  10. Take part in the dinner conversation.

Offer a Lady Your Seat

It is common knowledge to always offer your seat to ladies, but I think it is proper to offer your seat to anyone who may need it. 

Ladies often wear clothing and shoes that are not suited well for standing for long periods of time.  Offering your seat is just the right thing to do and is one of the top rules to being a gentleman.

Of course, this is not limited to ladies.  Offering your seat to anyone who needs one is proper.  This could be older people or even another gentleman.  The situation will clearly guide you and remember, as a gentleman, you are always thinking about how to help others, but rarely put your needs above others.

 Never be Vulgar

A modern gentleman is never vulgar.  This means he will never use profanity, avoid rude jokes, and doesn’t make unappropriated comments.  He attention is always on a ladies eyes and never her bust (or any other body part).

This is one that is personally very important to me.  I was raised that the use of vulgarity just shows ones ignorance of the English language.  Plus, it is often offensive and unneeded.

Have a Firm Handshake

Modern gentlemen are known for Always keeping their word. 

Nothing says this better then a firm handshake while looking the person in the eyes.  You are backing your words with strong action and showing confidence that you will keep your word, no matter what.

Back in the days of knights, when greeting a knight on the road, one knight would raise his visor and look the other in the eyes.  This was a form of respect.  This tradition is used today with the military solute between soldiers.

The handshake is another way this tradition is carried out in the civilian world.  When 2 gentlemen meet, they shake hands and give each other respect, just like their knightly forefathers did generations before.

Dress Well for any Occasion

People often think of a modern gentleman as always wearing a suit and tie.  A well fitted suit is fantastic but not appropriate for every occasion. 

The rule here is to always be dress better then most other gentlemen at the occasion.  Dressing down shows disrespect to the host which a modern gentleman will never do.

I recommend reading my article about my 20 Inspirational Style Quotes for Men and start dressing better today.

Keep Your Word and Never Lie

I see lots of quotes floating around suggesting that a gentleman can be ruthless and dishonest in business.  This is never true. 

The rules to being a gentleman are not put on hold when he is performing business.  A modern gentleman will always keep his word and never lie.  Lies are only allowed when keeping a surprise from your lady.

In modern society, it is becoming more acceptable to lie if it will help you in some way.  This is never acceptable for a gentleman and shouldn’t be for the larger society.  I do not believe in “Alternative Facts”.

Have Confidence

Gentlemen have confidence in anything they do.  This is probably one of the most attractive features of a man and modern gentlemen clearly show it in everything they do. 

Confidence is just the belief in yourself and your abilities to succeed, and every modern gentleman has it.  Please know the difference between confidence and arrogance, because a gentleman is always confident and never arrogant.

This will be a future article for the Gentlemen’s Manual but this is way to important not to address here.  I recommend taking a few minutes and watching a little Alpha M. and his video called “Confident or Arrogant | Which One Are You?”.

Proper Posture

A gentleman always had proper posture and the reason for this is simple.  Anyone with confidence will stand and sit up straight up and be noticed.  It’s the ones who lack confidence who will slouch and hope not to be noticed. 

This extends to standing, walking, and sitting.  Plus there is a huge health benefit in doing this.

This requires a lot of practice and constant corrections until it becomes natural and part of your natural habits.  This is time well spent so please, right now, correct your posture and continue reading.

Open Doors for Others

This is probably the most common trait that people will recognize in a modern gentleman and is probably listed in every article about rules to being a gentleman. 

This is not just about opening doors for ladies but for everyone.  Let me say this again, a modern gentleman will open or hold the door for everyone!

This just required that you become mindful of the things happening around you.  When you see someone following you through a door, keep it open.  You should also stay at the door a little longer and keep it opened for them too.

Be Well Groomed

No rules to being a gentleman will be complete without calling out grooming.  Being well groomed is a way to not be offensive to others by your appearance and odor.  It shows class and character when done right.

This simply means you need to take pride in your appearance and take steps to always make sure you are clean and looking your best.

Gentlemen Rules of Etiquette Rule 4

Act Chivalrous, Be a Good Knight!

There is a famous quote from the movie “Kingdom of God” that instates the qualities of a knight of that time.  I think those qualities are just as relevant today as they were back then.  The quote goes like this:

“Be without fear in the face of your enemies.
Be brave and upright, that God may love thee.
Speak the truth always, even if it leads to your death.
Safeguard the helpless and do no wrong;
that is your oath”

Always Learning

The success of a modern gentleman can be contributed to hard work and knowledge.  Knowledge is obtained from proper and continuous education in all things.  Reading and learning are always feeding a never ending curiosity for life.

You should set a goal to read at least one book every month.  Sorry but web pages are great but a full length book is what needed here.  Great news, if you are busy (and I know we all are), Amazon has a great service called Audible.

I am not getting anything from Amazon to recommend Audible but it’s a service I use and love.  I listen to several books every month and its been a life changer for me.  I expect it will be for you too.

Give it a try and see what learning and reading will do for your success in life too.

Rules to Being a Modern Gentleman: Ordinary People Have Big TV's, Successful People have Big Libraries

Be Punctual

Nothing says rude louder then showing up someplace late and unprepared.  Gentlemen are never rude and therefor never late.

Sometimes you will not be able to control when you arrive even if you take all the proper measures and leave really early.  When this happens, just make sure you call and tell the person you are running late and the reason why.  This clearly shows them that you respect them enough and value their time.

Properly Address People

It is just polite to address people correctly.  Mr, Mrs, or Miss should be standard address for everyone when you know their names and when you don’t, then sir, ma’am, or madam should be used.   

Using the proper way to address someone is a great way to show them respect and modern gentlemen are all about showing respect.

This is not an age thing either.  You of course will always refer to your elders as sir, ma’am, or madam, but a real gentleman will extend this greeting to everyone.  Young, old, family, friends, peers, and strangers. 

I tell people it’s a military thing and I call everyone sir and ma’am, even if it’s a 5 year old child.

Stay Humble

Modern gentlemen are usually very successful due to their constant learning and hard work.  There is no surprise that just those 2 things will have a dramatic affect on your life. 

Where a gentleman stands out from the rest is how quite he is about his success.  Being humble is a core rule for being a gentleman.This rule is closely tied to having confidence (but never arrogance) rule.  I strongly recommend reading the article “Celebrity Role Model – George Clooney“.  Having a role model will make improving yourself easier as you will have a guide to help.

Be Faithful

A gentleman only has eyes for one woman and is always completely faithful to her.  Modern gentlemen show this by the little things they do everyday.  They know it’s the little things that make a relationship grow and they are focus on doing them.

I created a simple article about “50 Quotes on How to Treat a Woman” with 50 ideas on ways to show your lady how much you love her.  Keep it simple and watch how great your relationship can be.

Send Flowers and Thank You Notes

There are always 3 names in a gentleman’s phonebook.  They will always have the name of their tailor, their barber, and a great florist. 

Gentlemen are always thankful for any hospitality they receive and they are not shy about saying it with a hand written note or flowers.  Small gifts or signs of appreciation will make you stand apart from the rest of the crowd and that is what every modern gentleman does regularly.

A Gentleman Gives Compliments Sincerely and Often

A proper gentleman is always trying to make the people around him feel more comfortable and relaxed.  It should be natural and second nature to always give sincere complements to the people around him. 

There is also a good reason why gentlemen are usually always well liked.  They go out of their way to make others feel good.  Giving sincere compliments is a way to make others feel great, and in return, they will like and respect you more.

When engaged in conversations with someone else, always try and keep the conversation about them.  While talking, remember to give sincere complements to them and others (never complement yourself, that is other peoples job).

This is another thing that will require practice but is incredibly valuable in every part of your life.

Conclusion to Rules to Being a Gentleman

There are clearly many more rules to being a gentleman but I believe in developing small habits that over time create large changes.  If you can consistently live by these rules, you will turn them into habits and show the world the true gentleman inside yourself.

What did you think of my 21 rules to being a gentleman?  Please leave a comment below and let me know what rules you would add or remove and I will add them to my next article, maybe called “21 More Rules to being a Gentleman“.

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