How To Be A Gentleman

DR YOMI GARNETT By DR YOMI GARNETT, 28th Oct 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Personal Development>Social Abilities

In a world in which old, cherished values are becoming extinct, there still remains a place for courteous behavior and enlightened conduct; and for proper progress in life, one needs a constant reminder on what constitutes genuine refinement. Frankly, a gentleman will eternally remain the reference point for civilized and cultured conduct.

Who Is A Gentleman?

“A gentleman is someone who does not what he wants to do, but what he should do.”
Haruki Murakami
Without doubt, the world has undergone tremendous flux in the past few decades. However, no matter how much the world has changed, a gentleman still needs to know how to behave, from day to day, and from occasion to occasion. Frankly, gentlemanly conduct and nuances are not strictly about do's and don’ts. It is more about common sense and courtesy. To be a gentleman goes far beyond the ability to knot a tie, or conduct oneself at the dinner table with sophisticated aplomb, but rather requires a certain logic, a little forethought and genuine consideration for others. It is, to put it quite simply, about making an attempt to make life easier for other people. To put it in common parlance, it is all about being a nice guy! And this brings us to certain eternal truths about being a nice guy. The greatest virtues a nice guy can possibly display are an easy camaraderie and a solid dependability. And this is why such a man knows that his entire world will not collapse if he flies his shirt tail while wearing a tie. That would be an oversimplification of the ideals he should uphold. It is consistently being a gentleman that is important, and that translates to thinking of others, being there when he is needed and discreetly taking a dignified exit when he is not needed. Again, to put it succinctly, elegance, both in conduct and in appearance, is the attitude of the gentleman.

A Gentleman Has A Big Heart

As the title of the all-time Classic by James Allen proclaims:" A gentleman keeps a broad and open mind on all issues." A fundamental principle of just and fair living is to withhold judgement on any issue until one is in full possession of all relevant facts pertaining to the issue. Truly, this is opening one’s mind to an infine array of possibililtes. The ability to cultivate and sustain healthy interpersonal relationships is one of the hallmarks of a gentleman’s life.
Another reason why one must develop a non-judgemental attitude is that it leaves the mind free for the germination of creative seeds in the course of one’s work. When the mind is cluttered with a myriad of judgemental inner monologues, the vacuum which ought to have been left for the insinuation of the creativity that should enrich one’s work is, unfortunately, obliterated by mental material that is of little or no value to us. This is also the reason why a man of refinement ought to always forgive wrongs done him. A forgiving heart is a big heart, and the very compassion that it proclaims is at the same time an indication that one is more than willing to pursue a noble cause in magnanimity of spirit. This loosely translates to seeing oneself in the Light, and seeing others in the same light.

A Gentleman Is A Humble Man

A great deal of humility is also required for cultivating healthy interpersonal relationships. One of the greatest of human failings is a lack of humility. A true gentleman brings genuine insight and understanding to his interpersonal relationships. Human inter-relationship is generally regarded as being very complex, yet it is really quite simple, and the reason most people do not appreciate others is principally due to a lack of humility. No one crosses our path by accident. Every human being we have to relate with, no matter how difficult, almost invariably has something valuable to teach us. Let’s face it, it is quite easy to love someone who is sweet natured and agreeable, but it takes monumental effort to display the same affection to a positively obnoxious individual. However, it is this sort of person, one who disturbs our state of peace, who actually lets us know just how much work we truly have to do on ourselves.

A Gentleman Takes Criticism In Good Faith

Another very positive trait of a true gentleman is his ability to take criticism in good faith, whether justified or otherwise. The rejection of criticsm is actually fraught with risk as, in order to improve, one needs to know what needs improving. In handling criticism, there are two important things to note: The first is that it is simply not possible to please everyone all the time. Secondly, in achieving success of any sort, one will invariably attract criticism from those who are jealous, and possibly resentful that one has gone ahead of them. One a lighter note, however, have you ever seen anyone kick a dead dog? Indeed, it’s only because one is alive that one is a candidate for criticsm in the first place, and for this, a gentleman really ought to be quite grateful.

A Gentleman Is An Emotional Self-Manager

Another aspect of the elevated attitude of a gentleman is the mature and proactive handling of his emotions. For one to be labeled a true gentleman, he must also have acquired true gentility. True gentility, which comes only through tremendous self-discipline, is a trait that a man can possess only after he has successfully gained dominion over his negative emotions. A gentleman verbalizes in a clear voice, with an even pitch and a distinct, firm but noiseless enunciation. A gentleman has achieved a certain dominance over reflex reactions of panic, resentment or vehemence, when faced with irritatingly annoying circumstances. The crude and aggressive individual is a veritable affront to any civilized concept of the cultivated mind. Indeed, brashness of any sort can only be an antithesis of the definition of a true gentleman. A gentleman is a cultured man, since he exercises restraint in everything, and he is modest, with an ever-abiding consideration for the feelings and sensibilities of others. He has a total abhorrence for quarrels, and he avoids them like the plague. He, decidedly, will not condescend to respond to a harsh word, either totally disregarding it with characteristic disdain, expressed in a dignified silence, or meeting it with a contrastingly mild word, which is far more powerful than wrath. This is why to be a gentleman is to be truly wise, for while otherwise uncontrolled men persist in laboring under the yoke of avoidable and tortured rancor, he remains imperturbably calm and composed, and goes ahead to surmount the many battles of life with these qualities.
Truly, no man is a true gentleman who has not mastered his emotions, and no emotion known to man so easily destroys a man’s relationship with others than anger. Sadly, most people tend to believe that anger is a perfectly normal and reflex reaction to perceived offence. This is simply not true. A propensity for frequent experience of a feeling of anger can be a major obstacle to proper progress in life. In truth, there is nothing grossly wrong with anger, especially when it’s justified. It’s just that the emotion of anger can negatively impact on us in ways that work at cross purposes with our values and goals, if we do not take care to curb it. It is a documented fact that anger has held many gifted and talented people back from the success they so richly deserve. Anger must be handled with wisdom for it not to precipitate devastation and destruction, and without self-control, it is difficult to handle anger. It is the most destructive of the negative emotions of man, robbing a man of objectivity, especially in times when he needs to maintain level-headedness. Worse, anger can easily fester into bitterness, that malignant cancer of the soul.

A Gentleman Has Integrity

No man can claim to be a gentleman who lacks integrity. Integrity is simply moral excellence, being an excellent state of being. No one can strike a cheap bargain with prosperity. Just as a bubble will eventually succumb to atmospheric forces and burst, that is how a lack of integrity will eventually burst. In a gentleman’s quest for prosperity, he must determine and commit himself to giving a just return for all that he receives.
When integrity has soaked all facets of a gentleman’s life, prosperity will inexorably come to him for four good reasons: One, he easily gains the confidence of others. Two, having gained their confidence, they trust him. Three, since he does not abuse this trust, he develops a good reputation, and four, reports of his good reputation precede him, such that more and mopre people want to do business with him, and of course, prosperity follows as a matter of course.

A Gentleman Has Etiquette

• A gentleman says “thank you” and “please,” with infinite and appropriate ease.
• A gentleman will not denigrate the beliefs of others, whether they belong in the realm of religious faith, sports or politics.
• A gentleman always carries his own handkerchief with him wherever he goes.
• A gentleman will never allow a door to slam in the face of another person.
• A gentleman will not indiscreetly joke about religion, race or gender issues, and does not express amusement at such jokes.
• A gentleman scrupulously subscribes to the queue culture, standing in line to wait his own turn.
• A gentleman will always offer an enthusiastic handshake.
• A gentleman’s shoes are always well polished, and his fingernails always clean.
• A gentleman will always admit his error.
• A gentleman will not pick a fight with anyone.
• A gentleman does not ask certain questions:
“Surely, you do remember me, or don’t you?”
"Are you actually going to eat all that food?”
"How did both of you know each other?”
"Why does your name ring a bell?”
• A gentleman does not brag.
• A gentleman will not beat around the bush. He goes straight to the point.
• A gentleman will not intentionally insult anyone.
• A gentleman will not gloat over another’s embarrassment.
• A gentleman gracefully accepts a compliment by saying “Thank you for the implied compliment. How gracious of you to tell me that.” If someone said: “That’s a great looking watch you have on,” a gentleman does not respond by saying: “This old watch? It’s really out of fashion now. I’ve had it for years!” This is an unpardonable social gaffe, as it implies that the person paying the compliment is someone of dubious taste.

A Gentleman And His Wardrobe

A gentleman must be well turned-out at all times, for truly, this a hall mark of good breeding. And while, expectedly, there will always be personal inclinations and idiosyncrasies where dressing is concerned, there is still a set of basic rules that should serve as a broad platform on which decency in dressing should find rest:
• Whatever his age, no man who would be called a gentleman can afford to let his trousers slip below his waist.
• A gentleman’s trousers are always cuffed, with the exception of chinos, blue jeans and some formal trousers.
• The cuffs of a gentleman’s trousers should fall in a gentle break over his shoes. When he stands, his socks should not be visible.
• A gentleman never leaves his double-breasted suit unbuttoned.
• A gentleman always allows his suit to air out overnight before he returns it to the closet.
• A gentleman’s socks always match, or at least complement his trousers- not his pocket square, his tie, or his shirt.
• A gentleman knows that suspenders and a belt never go together.
• A gentleman knows that a button-down collar and a bow tie never go together.
• A gentleman leaves the bottom button of his vest undone.
• A gentleman does not wear the same pair of blue jeans for two consecutive days, since he knows that jeans need a twenty four-break in between outings.
• A gentleman will not iron creases into the legs of his jeans.
• At formal occasions, a gentleman’s shirttail is always tucked in.
• A gentleman is well aware that the absolutely correct term for what is commonly called a tuxedo is ‘dinner clothes’, and so he never wears one before five pm.


Anger, Big Heart, Criticism, Emotional Self- Management, Emotions, Etiquette, Forgive, Formal, Gentleman, Handshake, Heart, How To Be A Gentleman, Humble, Humility, Integrity, Trust, Tuxedo, Wardrobe

Meet the author

author avatar DR YOMI GARNETT
I am a physician turned creative writer. I have authored three books; one on stress, and the other two in the genre of the motivational. I am also a ghostwriter, biographer and article writer.

Share this page

moderator Mark Gordon Brown moderated this page.
If you have any complaints about this content, please let us know


author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
28th Oct 2013 (#)

Easy to suggest but hard for some men to do, it helps if they had good parenting and a good example.

Reply to this comment

Add a comment
Can't login?