User Reviewed

How to Be a Gentleman

Five Parts:Being PresentableBeing PoliteBeing Courteous to WomenBeing a Gentleman to Your GirlfriendGentlemanly Advice

A true gentleman is respectful to everyone in his orbit, from women he'd like to date to elderly people who need help with their groceries. He takes impeccable care of his appearance, is polite to everyone who deserves it, and is kind to women regardless of whether or not he thinks he has a chance with them. To be a true gentleman, you need to be self aware, mature, and courteous. Although it seems that chivalry is dead, you can make a difference by making the effort to bring more respect and care into the world.

Part 1
Being Presentable

  1. Image titled Be a Gentleman Step 1
    Maintain proper hygiene. A gentleman looks and smells pleasant when out in public. It is one thing to sweat while working out, but not while out and about. Take regular care of your body and that you look polished and clean before you step out.
    • Make sure to bathe regularly.
    • When applying deodorant or cologne, be sparing. An overpowering odor--even of cologne or body spray--is not pleasant, and can be offensive.
    • Use of hair product is fine, but be careful of hair gel. This product can be sticky and get rock hard after a while, making your hair look stiff. You can also inadvertently come off as "greasy". [1]
    • If you don’t smell clean and fresh, then it doesn’t really matter how charming you are or how your clothes look. It’s important to get the hygiene down so people don’t get distracted by an unpleasant odor or appearance.
    • Wash your hands after you use the bathroom. A gentleman cares for himself and others by preventing spread of disease. Also, other men in the washroom will notice if you bypass the sinks.
  2. Image titled Be a Gentleman Step 2
    Wear flattering clothes. Wear clothes that fit your body well, eliminate flashy clothing and avoid fashion "faux pas" (e.g. baseball hats cocked slightly to the side). A simpler wardrobe will keep the emphasis on you, not your clothes, which will change your appearance. Keep it simple, and you’ll look elegant and gentlemanly.
    • Stick to subdued blacks, grays, blues and browns. A gentleman can actually wear any color in moderation, but the classic colors for men are not bright.
    • Choose classic clothing for men. Examples include suits, oxford-style shirts, khaki pants.
    • Wear athletic clothes only for workouts or athletics. A gentleman will not wear his suit while hiking through the Alps, or practicing for his black belt, or playing tennis. But he will avoid wearing his tennis clothes unless he is going to, from, or playing tennis.
    • What is considered "flashy" will vary from culture to culture, and situation. A white linen suit and pink shirt may be fashionable on a tropical island, but be regarded as quite flashy at a corporate board meeting in England.
    • It’s very important to wear pants fit you. Make sure to hold your pants up with a nice simple belt to show that you’ve really put a lot of thought into your look.
    • The next time you need a suit, make sure you get measured for one instead of picking one out yourself. A true gentleman makes an effort with his appearance and goes the extra mile to wear well-fitting clothes. Wearing a suit that actually fits you instead of one that is one, two or even three sizes too big, will also help show that you put a lot of thought into your look.
    • Always make sure our shoes are clean. Some people say that shoes are the first thing a lady notices when talking to a man. A quick (but effective) brush can make a world of difference. Most importantly, clean shoes show that take into consideration the people who will have to look at them once you leave your home.
    • It’s also important to wear the right clothes for the occasion. Try to stick to appropriate dress codes, whether wearing business casual clothes for work, or to wear formal wear for a wedding. And keep in mind that it’s better to be slightly overdressed than underdressed.
  3. Image titled Be a Gentleman Step 3
    Groom yourself well. To be a true gentleman, you have to make sure your hair is regularly combed and that you either make a point of shaving your facial hair or that you maintain a nice, solid beard. Avoid the stubble and go for a nice clean shave every morning, or you will look sloppy. Keep a comb handy so you can run it through your hair (in private) if your hair gets windswept or loses volume after a long day.
    • Even having clean nails makes a difference. Clean under your fingernails and trim them every day or two to make sure your hands have a neat appearance.
    • Trim any protruding nose hairs to maintain a groomed look.
  4. Image titled Be a Gentleman Step 4
    Have a firm handshake. A true gentleman knows how to give a true handshake. Whether you’re meeting your future boss, your girlfriend’s dad, or your sister’s boyfriend, you should make sure to look the person in the eye, grip his or her hand firmly, and show that you mean business. Don’t grip too hard to show off, but give a firm grip to show that you care enough to make an impression. This shows that you’re a gentleman who takes the time to acknowledge new people.
    • If a new person that you don’t know walks into the room and you’re being introduced, give him or her the courtesy to stand before giving him or her a handshake.
  5. Image titled Be a Gentleman Step 5
    Avoid any offensive actions in public. If you’re in public, then you should avoid farting, belching, speaking too loudly, being overly demanding, grabbing your crotch, or getting too drunk. A gentleman is always in control of himself, body and mind. If you do lose control, however, it’s important to apologize instead of acting like nothing happened.
    • Remember that a true gentleman is a person who can go out in public without making a scene or embarrassing himself.
    • Self-awareness is a key part of being a gentleman. Always consider how others may perceive you, and be aware of how your actions may be considered offensive.

Part 2
Being Polite

  1. Image titled Be a Gentleman Step 6
    Help the people around you. Always be aware of how you can help people. Wait an extra few seconds to hold the door for the person behind you. Offer to help people get their grocery bags to the car. You don't have to go overboard and risk hurting yourself (e.g. if you've got a precarious grip on something heavy, don't open the door for someone) but respect is paramount. True gentlemen don’t only focus on the women they like and ignore everyone else; being a gentleman is a way of approaching the world and all of the people in it, not just the ones you’d like to date.[2]
    • Be on the lookout for people who could use some help but who may not want to ask for it. The man carrying a tray of coffee would love it if you opened the door for him, but he may not ask.
  2. Image titled Be a Gentleman Step 7
    Make polite conversation. Be prepared to ask questions or make statements of courtesy, like "How was your day", "May I help you?", "Let me get that for you", or "I'll take care of that". Learn to speak slowly and carefully and to take the time to really talk to people in a polite fashion, no matter how rushed you may be. Whether you’re talking to your neighbor or the cute girl in your physics class, make an effort to smile, to be friendly, and to make interesting small talk about how your day is going. A gentleman doesn’t cut right to the chase, but takes his time getting to know people.
    • Being able to make conversation is a sign of class and maturity, which are two important aspects of being a gentleman.
  3. Image titled Be a Gentleman Step 8
    Avoid cursing at all costs. Don't swear. Don't be vulgar. If it's too difficult to stop cursing all together, tone it down a lot. It’s just not gentlemanly to curse. If you do curse, you should apologize and try to keep the behavior from happening in the future. If you’re in a situation where you tend to curse more often, such as watching sports or driving in traffic, take extra care to watch yourself so you still come off as a perfect gentleman.
    • Along with cursing, you should avoid any lewd or vulgar comments in general. And remember that what’s funny to you and your buddies behind closed doors may not always be appropriate for a girl you’re courting.
  4. Image titled Be a Gentleman Step 9
    Don't talk about yourself too much. You can tell people enough to let them know a little bit about you, at first, but you should wait to really reveal every last thing about yourself. In addition to making you a much more desirable conversationalist, it will make you seem more mysterious to not share too much, which many women find attractive. Get a basic idea of what's going on in music, sports, and politics so you can sound intelligent when you make conversation. Be sure about subjects you state are important to you by making the effort to stay up-to-date on them.
    • Instead, focus on asking people questions about their interests, hobbies, and plans. Let them know that you’re more interested in them than yourself.
  5. Image titled Be a Gentleman Step 10
    Avoid bringing up controversial or uncomfortable topics. Learn to avoid politics until you know someone better, and learn how to be neutral if someone else brings it up. A simple shrug will do wonders. A gentleman doesn't make other people uncomfortable. Be focused more on being agreeable and making people feel comfortable than in proving that you’re right and that the other person’s opinions are worthless. You don’t need to show someone up to impress women; what’s far more impressive, in fact, will be your ability to get along with people.
    • Always remember to know your audience. What may be funny to a working class guy from the Bronx may not fly with an upper crust Manhattan socialite. Be sensitive to the needs and interests of others.
  6. Image titled Be a Gentleman Step 11
    Treat everyone with respect. Being a gentleman doesn’t just mean being polite and courteous to women; it means being respectful to other men, to the elderly, and even to children. A true gentleman shouldn’t be able to turn his charm on and off, and he should be kind and respectful to absolutely everyone who deserves it. Respect a person’s space by not standing too close when you talk to him or her. Respect a person’s privacy by not peering over his or her shoulder or asking too many personal questions. The key is to make people feel comfortable and good about themselves, not like they’re being mistreated.
    • Say hello to people when you walk by them, ask how they’re doing, and know when they want to be left alone.
    • Avoid speaking too loudly or making too much of a racket in public or even in your home, out of respect for your neighbors. It’s not respectful to act like you’re the only person on the planet.
    • Make sure to chew your food with your mouth closed, with respect to your dinner partners.
  7. Image titled Be a Gentleman Step 12
    Avoid physical altercations. There may be some situations that justifies physical confrontation, but it should be in self-defense or the defense of others. However, those situations should be rare indeed.
    • Remember: a "gentle-man" literally means not being a person who resorts to physical violence as a solution.
    • It is wiser to walk away from a situation, or call the police when appropriate.
    • Self-defense techniques (such as martial arts) always stress using physicality as an absolute last resort.

Part 3
Being Courteous to Women

  1. Image titled Be a Gentleman Step 13
    Women are worthy of respect. The worst thing you can do to a woman is look her up and down like she’s a piece of meat. Women are human beings with their own thoughts, hopes, and goals, and you should never ogle them and treat them like they’re only there to serve as a feast for your eyes. When you meet a new woman, ask her name and get to know her for real, instead of just staring at her like you’re undressing her with your mind.
    • Gentlemen understand that women are to be treated with respect. They don’t talk to them with cheesy pick-up lines and prefer some tasteful, lighthearted flirting instead.
  2. Image titled Be a Gentleman Step 14
    Be respectful in your actions. Open car or building doors, pull out chairs. Each woman is different, and you should see which gentlemanly gestures she’s comfortable with. For example, it may be gentlemanly to give a woman your coat if she’s cold, but if she tells you that she's fine, don't insist.
  3. Image titled Be a Gentleman Step 15
    When you’re walking down a street with a woman, walk on the side closer to the traffic. This is an old-fashioned gentlemanly action that is done so that you “protect” the woman from the street as you’re walking. You can take it or leave it, but you should be aware of it. See how the woman reacts when you try it and use that to determine whether she finds the gesture sweet or dated.
  4. Image titled Be a Gentleman Step 16
    Avoid discussing topics that are probably not of interest to her. If you bring up a subject and she doesn't seem interested, move on to something else.
  5. Image titled Be a Gentleman Step 17
    Don’t talk down to women. It's okay to tease them, but being cruel is not the way to go. Teasing does not mean calling them vulgar words, however. No matter how joking your tone is, it hurts a woman when a so-called "gentleman" calls them a dirty word. Also, don’t ever, ever act like you know more than a woman about something just because you’re a man because you think that you can really “teach” her something.
    • One sign of a fake gentleman is a man who is nice to a woman who starts talking down to her the second he realizes she doesn’t view him romantically. To be a true gentleman, you should accept the idea that not every woman in the world will fall for you and still treat them with kindness, no matter what they want or don’t want.
  6. Image titled Be a Gentleman Step 18
    Be respectful to women as you part ways in the evenings. Offer to walk her to her door (or car) if at all possible. If your girl has to park far away from her dorm or home, always offer to drive her to and from your destination. At the same time, you don’t want to overstep your bounds by making a girl feel like she can’t go out by herself.
    • It goes without saying that, if a girl has come over your place, you should not just stay on the couch and say “see ya” as she leaves. Make the effort to at least walk her to the door or to her car, whatever the case may be.
  7. Image titled Be a Gentleman Step 19
    Use caution around old traditions. It can be tricky to know exactly which courteous traditions to follow and which ones to forgo. What is appropriate in the place and era of "Downton Abbey" may or may not be right today in your circumstances. In general, just be sensitive to a lady's modern independent sensibility, and if she looks uncomfortable with your actions, back off a little. Here are some other traditions that were formerly seen as gentlemanly, which are beginning to lose steam:[3]
    • Reaching for a check at a restaurant.
    • Helping her with her coat.
    • Standing when a woman enters the room.
    • Offering a woman your seat.

Part 4
Being a Gentleman to Your Girlfriend

  1. Image titled Be a Gentleman Step 20
    Be selfless. Remember to keep doing nice things for your girlfriend when you're around her. If she's carrying something, pick it up when she puts it down and always kindly let her know you want to help by saying "oh, let me get that for you", whatever the object is. Remember, being selfish is not attractive. If you are watching television with your girl and you know she likes a particular show or sporting event, leave it there. She will appreciate that little bit of selflessness more than you know.
    • That said, you don’t want to make the girl feel helpless, or like you should do everything for her, either. Take note — if she seems annoyed when you try to carry things for her or help her out, then you may want to back off and give her help when she really needs it, not just symbolically.
  2. Image titled Be a Gentleman Step 21
    Give her unexpected gifts. It can be nice to show up with a card or a flower, and not just for holidays. Expensive and showy doesn't matter; it's the effort. In fact, a rose, a little love note left on her pillow, the gift of a book she’s been wanting to read, or a heartfelt kiss will keep any girl happy for days. These little gifts will make her see that she’s on your mind even when she’s not around and that you’ve taken the effort to get her something.
    • Though candy and flowers are nice, personalized gifts are even nicer. Two tickets to a play she’s been wanting to see, a souvenir with her name on it from a place you had to visit without her, or a poster that made you think of her, really show that you’re thinking about her, not just some romanticized version of what any girl could be.
  3. Image titled Be a Gentleman Step 22
    Give her lots of affection. If you really like your girlfriend, let her know it through loving touches. If you’re in public, hold her hand or put your arm around her shoulder, or give her a peck on the cheek when you want to. When you’re alone, you can be a bit more intimate, by kissing her on the neck, or caressing her back or thighs, as long as these advances are wanted. To be a real gentleman, you should move slowly, and wait until the girl is ready before you try anything beyond kissing.
    • True gentlemen are proud to be seen with their girlfriends and give them lots of affection, even if their friends are around. Don’t stop holding your girlfriend’s hand when your buddies are around; that said, it’s not very gentlemanly to try to make out with your girlfriend in public, either.
  4. Image titled Be a Gentleman Step 23
    Stand up for your girl. Don't go around punching everyone who looks at her sideways, but if anyone is giving her looks or unwanted advances, intervene. Put your arm around her shoulder and move yourselves away, or go to her and speak up for her. The physical contact reassures her and lets the aggressor know that he's got to deal with both of you. It’s not gentlemanly to let other men make advances toward your girl or to make lewd comments about her.
    • You should not threaten to beat the guy up or call him names. Instead, take the high road and find a classy way to tell him to back off.
  5. Image titled Be a Gentleman Step 24
    Don’t say anything negative about her to your friends. If you really want to be a true gentleman, then you should never say anything negative about the girl you’re dating to your friends. You may think it’s cool to complain about your girlfriend or to act like you’re really not into her, but this is incredibly lame and disrespectful behavior that will get back to your girlfriend and make you look pathetic. The only time you talk about your girlfriend to your friends is to praise her or to genuinely ask for their advice in a given situation.
    • The key to being a gentleman is to have respect for all people. There’s nothing more disrespectful than airing you and your girlfriend’s dirty laundry just to get some laughs.
  6. Image titled Be a Gentleman Step 25
    Don’t reveal too much about her to your friends, either. Another thing you should avoid if you want to be a gentleman is to tell your friends about your latest sexual progress with the girl you’re dating. It’s just not gentlemanly to talk about finally having sex with the girl you’re dating, what she’s like in bed, or even what kind of a kisser she is. This kind of thing is meant to stay between the two of you, and telling your friends what happened — or didn’t happen — between the sheets is about the worst thing you can do to a girl.
    • Whether you’re dating the girl or just have gone on a few dates with her, you should really keep your bedroom habits to yourself. If she finds out, she’ll be furious, and you’ll have a reputation of kissing-and-telling.
  7. Image titled Be a Gentleman Step 26
    Don’t make her do anything she’s not comfortable with. A true gentleman recognizes a woman’s limits and respects them. If the girl you’re dating or seeing isn’t ready to sleep with you — or does not want to come even close before marriage or a serious commitment — then you should respect this decision instead of putting pressure on her to do more. Having sex or getting more intimate may not seem like a big deal to you, but every woman has her own limits and her own ideas of what she wants to do with her body. Don’t ever make her do more than she wants to do, and don’t ever, ever make her feel bad for sticking to her guns.
    • A true gentleman lets the woman make the calls of how far she wants to go and never makes her feel guilty or bad for not doing what he wants. He takes the time to listen to a woman and has the patience to wait for the one who is worth it.

Gentlemanly Advice

Sample List of Compliments

Great Conversation Topic Examples


  • Basic hygiene and a clean appearance is important but a gentleman should not be obsessed with his looks. He is not a fop. He is a polite and unselfish man.
  • Don't be selfish to others. Try to do random acts of kindness.
  • Treat them with respect and the way you would want to be treated.
  • Always smile and maintain eye contact with whoever you're talking to. This creates an emotional bond between the both of you.
  • Don't ever honk when coming to pick up a girl for a date, always walk up to the door and knock or ring the doorbell.
  • Loving her means always giving (do not take this literally) so keep that in mind while you are with her. Always give (love, time, words of affirmation). Just don't give so much that you resent her. It's okay to also spend some time with your guy friends.
  • When talking, give the person speaking your undivided attention. And if they have something to add to the conversation, always be a good listener.
  • When insulted, do your best not to retort. Chances are you'll only provoke the other person, making a fight far more likely. Excuse yourself, but don't act scared either.
  • Looking good doesn't mean you can't keep wearing jeans, T-shirts, and sneakers, it just means that they should all be clean, unwrinkled, look good on you, and not be offensive. However, at the end of the day, it's the guy inside the clothes that counts. It's also good to wear a belt, it can do wonders.
  • You don't have to be dressed well to be a gentleman. While it does help, an everyday working gentleman is very appealing.
  • Truth walks side by side with men, and so does falsity. Being a gentleman is not necessarily about looking like one.
  • Be sure to have a firm handshake, not too strong as that can be taken as an act of intimidation but not too soft as it could make them feel better than you.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings and your actions, as how others perceive you can play a role in how you are received by others.
  • Lead by example that means being considerate of others and talk about things that people can relate to like the economy etc.. This shows that you are interested in people and their immediate circumstances and/or surroundings.
  • Try a simple way to defuse a heated debate, just say "you may be right"


  • Never use drugs or drink alcohol to excess. They will impair your judgement, and a true gentleman is in control of himself at all times.
  • While being helpful is nice, don't be overbearing.
  • Gentlemen have dignity and honor by their sides, yet they are humble and thoughtful. You're not better than anyone else just because you're doing this. Don't think it, don't act like it.
  • If she is cold and does not have a coat, offer your coat to her and if she kindly refuses, take it off and offer it to her again anyway. Some girls can be shy, so always ask again or just put it on her shoulders yourself. However, you should never force it on her, if she expresses that she does not want your coat, just put it back on.
  • A gentleman can recognize it when he loses a fight. Know the difference between standing up for yourself and being a fool.
  • When you disagree on an issue, but decide to yield, drop it and don't bring it up again.

Article Info

Featured Article

Categories: Featured Articles | Courteous Presentation