Being a gentleman in our modern world is more than being polite; more than holding a door; and more than knowing which fork to use. A gentleman also means more than a dashing wardrobe. The character of a man and his actions every day, all day throughout the year.
What’s true is the traits are common sense, though I’ve been fortunate to have wise men in my life. Some of the men were fathers, teachers, random people I’ve met while travelling and one man in particular. Mostly, this one man influenced me in so many ways, and during particular situations I find myself asking “what would Bert do?” Then, I act accordingly.
Please have a look at my Ultimate List of A Gentleman’s Rules To Live By – a Guide To Being a Modern Gentleman, if you will. As you read through, keep in mind each of our lives and life experiences is different. What works for me, and what I think a gentleman may be, could very well be different to you. Feel free to add to the list or even create your own list that suits your life. The following 50 Rules for Being a Modern Gentleman are what works for me.
1. Be yourself and yourself only. Don’t try to be something you think someone else wants you to be.
2. Don’t do or say anything that makes others feel uncomfortable.
3. When someone tells you something in confidence, let that secret stop with you. Never share anything someone tells you.
4. Learn the art of conversation. Be able to talk about almost everything. If you’re unsure, “I don’t know” is a respectable answer.
5. I might not like what the truth is, but it is the truth I want to hear. Truth can be understood and dealt with in a civil manner. 6. If you are going to impress, be sure to impress in the way you intend. In other words, be natural and you’re sure to impress. 7. Never cancel at the last minute unless something drastic happens and you genuinely are unable. And very importantly, don’t accept an invite then say no with a lame excuse at the last minute.
8. Don’t be late unless your tardiness comes with an honest and genuine excuse. 9. Not every moment is golden (and successful). Try to get ‘it’ right the first time, and if you don’t, make the second time count. 10. Remember your good manners at all times even at the most inopportune times. 11. Be interested and interesting – be the man people want to associate with.
12. Be a genuinely good listener. 13. Know your alcohol limits, and respect them. And sometimes, know when not to drink alcohol at all. 14. Avoid anger without reason. Don’t ever ‘fly off’ the proverbial handle in public. Just don’t do it. 15. Know when and how much to tip. A dollar isn’t enough.
16. There will be times you’re wrong. Don’t be afraid to admit it. 17. Don’t give advice unless you’re asked for it. You’re not an expert in someone else’s life. 18. Never turn up to a party, friend’s house, or dinner empty-handed. Always have a host/hostess gift even if it’s simple.
19. Be loved and liked by those who know you. It’s ok if everyone doesn’t like you. Not everyone will. 20. Practice chivalry and understand that courteous behaviour is not at all dead. It IS ok to open the door for someone. 21. No one likes arrogance especially when it is not warranted. It’s not at all attractive.
22. Don’t ever be too proud to apologize. 23. Saying thank you goes a long way. Say it. And always send a written thank you note. 24. Don’t judge based on other people’s judgments. Give everyone a chance – your chance. 25. Don’t strive to be the centre of attention. If it happens, let it be.
26. Don’t regret the things you’ve done, only the things you haven’t. 27. Television and the internet are the biggest black holes of our time. Live and experience life firsthand in real time. 28. Take risks. Break out of your comfort zone.
29. Learn to go with the flow. Let ‘it’ be. 30. Be confident and realistically believe in yourself. 31. Watch what you eat, take care of what you wear and have pride in how you conduct yourself. 32. Confront boredom by making a change.
33. Travel whenever possible. Follow passions and indulge in guilty pleasures even if you want to run naked on a beach.
34. Be spontaneous. 35. Take a compliment as well as you can give one.
36. If you invite someone for dinner or drinks, do not ask, suggest or expect to split the bill.
37. Allow yourself to be challenged. 38. Life’s too short to only work, eat and sleep. 39. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or ask for directions.
40. Remember that most people do what is inspected and not what is expected. So true. 41. Say what you mean and mean what you say. 42. There are a time and a place to use English slang; otherwise, use the English language properly. S’up is not acceptable. 43. Have your own thoughts and beliefs based on your own personal experiences. There are too many sheep in the world. Don’t be one.
44. Be original even if you’re quirky. And if you are quirky, embrace it. 45. Wherever you are in the world, be inclusive. Division by any means gets us nowhere good. 46. If you think you have the skills, creativity or means to help someone, do it without wanting anything back.
47. Learn when and how to say no. 48. Know when to keep your mouth closed and when to be quiet. 49. When you first meet someone, look them in the eye when you shake their hand.
50. If you say you’re going to do something, be sure to do it. Don’t let your words be hollow.