How to Be a Lady

Three Parts:Behaving Like a LadyDressing Like a LadyProper Table Etiquette

As manners, attitudes, and styles of dress change over time, so has the conventional understanding of what it means to be a “lady.” Though the term may seem outdated, there are certain aspects of ladylike behavior that are undying: elegance, courteousness, and a sense of respect toward oneself and others. Read this article to learn how to be a true modern-day lady.

Part 1
Behaving Like a Lady

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    Make introductions. If you are talking to one person and another person approaches, introduce the person you were initially talking to the person who has just arrived.
    • In the business world, the order in which introductions are made depends on a person’s level of “importance;" in other words, on his or her level of seniority within the company. In such an example, you would first introduce the person of higher importance to the person of lesser importance, and then vice versa. [1] Remember that the client is always of the highest seniority, regardless of his or her title.
    • Add a thoughtful detail about the person you are introducing, when possible. Rather than just stating the person’s name, also introduce his or her title, or how you know this person.
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    Say please and thank you. While this may sound like an etiquette cliché, forgetting to say these things (even by accident) will not go unnoticed, and comes across as very rude.
    • Say thank you anytime somebody does you a favor, however big or small; it will show him or her that you appreciated it.
    • Always thank a host/hostess after attending a party or other special occasion at his or her home. Consider sending a “thank you” text, phone call, or email the following day.
    • Always thank people for gifts they have given you. You may want to consider writing the person a note thanking them.
    • Don’t abuse the words “please” and “thank you.” Using them excessively will devoid them of their meaning, and make you appear weak. For example, if a waiter pulls your chair out for you, unfolds your napkin, and then pours you a glass of water, then thank him/her one time at the very end of the action, rather than once after each gesture.
    • Add details when thanking others. Rather than just saying “Thanks” to a friend for talking you through an issue, say “Thank you for being so understanding. It really means a lot to me.” This will come across as more sincere.
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    Know when to say no. Being polite doesn’t mean being passive and letting others take advantage of you. It is important to learn how to politely tell people no.
    • If somebody offers you alcohol or a cigarette and you are not interested, then kindly thank the person and refuse. Giving in against your will sends the impression that you are easily impressionable.
    • Similarly, if a man is attempting to “pick you up” or is getting physically aggressive with you, then stand up for yourself and tell him to back off. If necessary, call or ask for help.
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    Educate yourself. A lady is eloquent and can carry a conversation. This requires being well-read and staying up-to-date on the current events of the world. While this doesn’t necessarily require formal education, attaining the highest possible level of education that you can will be to your benefit.
    • If you are not enrolled in school, then find alternative ways to educate yourself. Read plenty of books (both fiction and non-fiction), read the news, and attend seminars and/or discussions.
    • Thanks to the internet, most people have free access to an endless array of scholarly articles on various topics at the touch of a button.
    • Many college campuses allow people to sit in on lectures without receiving academic credits. Be sure to clear this with the institute before dropping in on classes, however.
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    Have good posture. Standing and sitting up straight are signs of a true lady. As an added bonus, having good posture is better for your back, and will help strengthen up your core! It will take some training to get used to this, especially if you are accustomed to slouching.
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    Be respectful toward others. Being a lady isn't just about looking or behaving properly on the outside; it involves being a good person on the inside.
    • When talking to another person, give him or her your undivided attention. It is polite, and will make for a more stimulating conversation for both parties.
    • Don't interrupt or talk over others.
    • Offer your help to those in need. This can be as simple an act as helping an elderly person carry his or her groceries, or a more generous act like volunteering at a homeless or animal shelter.
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    Be charming. A true lady doesn't just sit there quietly and let the world pass her by. She engages with other people, carries stimulating conversations, and is a subtle flirt.
    • If you don't know how to be charming, start off by smiling more at people when you talk to them, and complimenting people more. Make your compliments personal; for example, instead of complimenting a person's shoes, tell them that you think they have impeccable sense of fashion.
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    Don't use profanity, overeat or drink excessively. Being a lady requires having self-control and will power, and each of these activities is an example of overindulgence.
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    Be respectful when visiting others' homes. When you are a guest in somebody else's home, allow the host/hostess to tell you where to sit, where to leave your purse, whether or not to take off your shoes, and so on.
    • Remember that some people are more protective over their home environment than others. Use your best judgment to determine how to behave.
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    Hold the door open for others. It doesn't matter whether you are a man or a woman, offering to hold the door open for other people is respectful and friendly.
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    Stay calm, cool, and collected. Avoiding lashing out at others if you are annoyed, angry, or upset. Remain poised, and handle the situation rationally and calmly. This will prevent you from doing or saying things in the heat of the moment that you will regret later.

Part 2
Dressing Like a Lady

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    Maintain your personal hygiene. This will keep you looking and smelling your best, and more importantly, prevent infections and other illnesses.
    • Shower daily. If you don't want to wash your hair everyday, then wear a shower cap and rinse your body with soap and water.
    • Brush your teeth every morning and evening. Brushing in between meals can further improve the health and appearance of your teeth and gums.
    • Wear deodorant. Smelling your best is just as important as looking your best.
    • Maintain your waxing, shaving, and/or tweezing regimen. Getting rid of unwanted body hair can instantly make you look and feel more attractive and leave you with smooth, touchable skin.
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    Dress elegantly. This means dressing appropriately for the occasion, your body type, and your age. Use your best judgment to determine what clothes are most appropriate for you.
    • Don't try to squeeze into clothes that don't fit you.
    • Consider a simple dress over pants. While there’s nothing wrong with wearing pants, dresses and skirts bring out your femininity and show off your curves better than pants do.
    • Choose trousers over jeans when possible. When you do wear jeans, be sure that they are not torn or otherwise destroyed.
    • Don't wear sweatpants or tracksuits unless you are at the gym or exercising. Wearing these around all day suggest that you pay very little attention to your physical appearance.
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    Keep your clothing clean and pressed. Iron your clothes to remove any wrinkles, and be sure to wash your clothes if they are stained.
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    Don't wear excessive makeup or revealing clothing. Elegance requires minimalism; wear makeup to accentuate your beauty, not to cover it up.
    • Don't show excessive cleavage or wear bare-midriff tops. These types of revealing clothes suggest that you are not dressing for yourself, but rather, to attract men.

Part 3
Proper Table Etiquette

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    Don’t start eating before the meal has started. If you are at a restaurant, wait until everybody’s meal has arrived before you start to eat. When at a dinner party, wait for the host/hostess to unfold his or her napkin and begin eating.
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    Don’t speak with food in your mouth. It is not only rude, it can actually ruin other peoples’ appetites.
    • Also avoid burping, smacking your lips, or fidgeting at the dinner table.
    • If you have to cough or sneeze at the table, be sure to cover your mouth with a napkin.
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    Excuse yourself when necessary. If you need to get up from the table to go to the restroom, let others know where you are going.
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    Don’t text or talk on the phone. Not only will it disturb other patrons if you are in a restaurant, it is disrespectful to the person/people you are eating with, especially if one of them has cooked the meal for you. Wait until the end of the meal to make phone calls.
    • Turn off or silence your phone during formal dinners.
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    Leave your elbows off of the table. This rule applies only when you are actually eating. If the food has not yet arrived, or if you are sitting at a table drinking water or other beverages, then it is acceptable to rest your elbows on the table.
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    Cut your food into bite-sized portions. Not only is it healthier than taking huge bites, it will give you the opportunity to quickly chew and swallow your food if somebody asks you a question when you have food in your mouth. Nothing is more frustrating (and embarrassing) than having somebody ask you a question right after you have taken a huge bite of food!
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    Only grab for things on the table that are within your reach. Otherwise, ask somebody to please hand it to you.
    • Always pass the salt and pepper shaker together, even if the person only asks for one of them. These items are meant to be kept together at all times.
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    Remember to use your napkin. Clean your fingers or blot your lips when necessary.
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    Make proper thanks. Be sure to thank the waiter/waitress if you are at a restaurant, and thank the host/hostess if you are at a dinner party. Compliment the food when dining with the person who has cooked it.


  • Remember that being a lady doesn't mean compromising your personal style or creativity. Don't adhere to rules or guidelines that you don't genuinely believe in.
  • A lady is accepting of others, and does not point out differences in others that might make them feel uncomfortable. For example, if someone walks differently, don't ask them about it until you know them well. In other words, ladies practice acceptance and tolerance, all of the time.
  • Watch classic films to find inspiration for how to act like a lady.
  • Consider taking a formal etiquette training class.
  • A lady has a pleasant, authoritative voice. If your voice is nasal, high-pitched or monotonous, if you use "vocal fry" or "up speak," if people frequently ask you to repeat what you've said as if they can't understand you, please look into coaching. Many community colleges and business academies offer courses in this for professional women.
  • Sit with your legs crossed whenever you can!
  • A lady crosses her legs at the ankle not at the knee as it can be revealing to cross your legs at the knee.
  • Just in general, it is always smart to not be overly flirtatious. Also be nice to others.
  • Be tenderhearted.
  • A woman has her own, unique personality. She likes herself and is interesting and fun.
  • When you have finished your dinner, place your napkin beside your plate. A lot of people forget that.

Article Info

Categories: Personality Types and Youth Style | Socialite Style