Unfortunately, in the world we live in today true modern gentlemen seem to be in short supply. The notion of being a gentleman is often misunderstood, both in concept and in practice. Being a gentleman lies in the little things and is much more of an overall character than a list of actions one performs.
Sure, things like opening doors for those trailing behind you, saying "please" and "thank you" to your bartender, and addressing your peers in a respectful manner all play a part - but it is more aboutwhywe do these things than theactof actually doing them. Having respect for those around you is the single most important trait a gentleman possesses and that means going out of your way to positively impact the lives of those around you. We don't act in search of praise but in pursuit of bringing positivity to the world.
Again, being a gentleman is a character not a list of to-dos. But, to make things a bit more granular, we have listed out a few traits every gentleman should posses. If we all focused a little less on what people thought about us and a little more on making this world a better place then we would achieve just that.
Be Genuine.Be true to yourself and who you are. Do not pretend to be someone you are not, or to know things you do not, in order to please others. Knowing who you are is paramount to living your life as a gentleman. Now, being genuine in your actions towards others is equally important here. The decisions you make and the actions you take almost always have an impact on those around you. Respect the lives of your peers as you respect your own.
Respect Others.To build on the above, take the lives of others into account when making decisions. Be true to your word and follow through on your promises. If you say you're going to do something, then do it, and if for some reason you fail to do so then take responsibility for that failure and make it up to those you let down.
Take Responsibility.Again, as we said above, take responsibility for your actions. Do not gloat in your successes but be sure to take ownership of your failures. Nobody is perfect and we all make mistakes, but taking responsibility of these mistakes and making it right to those who were affected is a great step to take.
Carry Yourself with Confidence.You know who you are, now act like it. Be confident in yourself and carry yourself as such. Make eye contact, shake hands firmly, and address people appropriately. It is okay to be assertive but try not to be aggressive.
Mind Your Manners.As elementary as it sounds, a simple "please" and "thank you" can go a long way. Show gratitude to others when they take their time to serve you, introduce yourself to those you don't know when entering a room and acknowledge those you do know.
Speak to Your Audience.Your language at a poker table with your closest friends may differ from your language at a work happy hour, and that's just fine. The rule of thumb here is to speak as if your mother is listening whenever she, or someone with the same pallet, may be near.
Listen and Learn.Have you ever heard the saying "the quietest person in the room is often the smartest person in the room"? This is because you learn more from listening than from reciting what you already know. So, put down your phone and listen when others are speaking. Don't be afraid to take a backseat in a conversation from time to time. Let others have the floor and actively listen to their experiences and opinions with an open mind, you may just learn something.
Communicate with Purpose.Now I know we just said that it is okay to take the backseat in conversation sometimes, but when you are addressing an individual or a group do so with purpose. Be consistent when it comes to communicating with friends, family, and business acquaintances. Don't let emails or phone calls go unanswered. Follow up in a timely, professional manner. RSVP to events that request it and send thank-you notes when appropriate. Take the initiative to reach out to friends, family, colleagues, and contacts to see how they are doing.
Be Punctual and Professional.Time management is a crucial skill to have as a gentleman. Arriving to meetings, dates, or other social events late is a quick way to tell people that you don't respect their time as much as your own. This goes back to how your decisions and actions affect those around you.
Dress the Part.Dressing appropriately for the situation may not be an obvious sign of respect to those around you, but it absolutely is. In business, your appearance is a direct reflection of your boss and colleagues, in social situations, it's a reflection on your friends, and in all situations, it's a reflection of yourself. Focus on fit, both to your body and to the environment you're in. A baggy suit is never appropriate but a t-shirt at a formal event is equally off-putting. Take pride in the way you dress. Hardy Amies put it best when he said: "a man should look as if he bought his clothes with intelligence, put them on with care, and then forgotten all about them". This means you should put enough thought into your wardrobe that it all goes well together without trying so hard that it looks as if you're seeking attention. Simply put, make sure that your shirt, jacket, trousers, socks, shoes and anything else you're wearing complement each other and fit well.