Modern Manners: How to Behave like a Gentleman

Manners never go out of style, although they seem to be somewhat of a dying art these days. We enlisted the help of Melenie Broyles, owner and founder of Etiquette North Dallas and Melissa Case-Merritt, founder of Final Touch Finishing School. “In a season where being a gentleman can seem unpopular or old-fashioned, we are seeing a surge in men who actually believe it’s the right thing to do,” Melanie says.

Melissa emphasizes the importance of respecting the wishes of your companion: “While some still appreciate ‘traditional rules’, showing respect is timeless, classy and always in style—but respect means different things to different people.” Don’t be afraid to ask friends, family and your significant other on their viewpoints of respect and how they would like to be treated.  

Here are a few tips with some modern updates for men who want to distinguish themselves from the boys.


Take Initiative

Make plans, whether it’s just with friends or a date. Forget asking, “Do you want to hang out?” Try making a plan and then asking them to participate. Classic date ideas like putt-putt golf, ice skating and going out for ice cream may seem cliché, but they’re much more meaningful than Netflix.

Ladies First

Open doors, pull out chairs, sit after she sits. This shows you are being intentional and thoughtful. Thoughtfulness goes a long waysmall and respectful acts won’t go unnoticed. But if she clearly states she would rather help herself then, of course, let her do so.

Walk the Walk

When strolling on the sidewalk, always walk on the side closest to the street when you’re with women or children. And never walk ahead of your companion. These simple gestures are protective, caring and demonstrates that you value them as an equal.

Proper Goodbyes

At the end of an evening spent with friends, family or a significant other at your home, walk guests to the door. If appropriate, walk them to their car. If you’re out on the town and dropping someone off at their home, walk them to their door. If it’s a romantic date, walk them to the door only with the intention to make sure they get home safely.

Listen

Put away your phone and listen to what your companion has to say. In this day and age, when the stream of information is constant, giving your full attention to someone and listening really shows your love and respect. Interrupting is rarely justified. Allow them to finish their thought before beginning your own.

Be on Time

Constantly being late, especially without warning, gives the impression that you don’t respect that person’s time. Running late also adds extra stress on yourself, which can affect your mood and how you treat other people.  

Weather

Always carry the umbrella. Chances are, if you’re with a woman you’re taller anyway. No umbrella? Offer up your jacket, but don’t be afraid to get it back at the end of the night. Also give it up if it’s cold. Extra points if you keep a clean, spare jacket or blanket in your car.

Be Sincere

Pay sincere compliments, and use “please” and “thank you.” Manners matter, even if you are just with close friends. There’s a time and place for joking, but social niceties go a long way.

Plan to Pay

Pay for dates; they do not have to expensive or elaborate, just thoughtful. If your partner is insistent on splitting the tab or paying for themselves, suggest they pay next time. If they still insist, then let them pay their share.  

Proposing

When you propose, your partner should not be shocked that you want to marry them. You should already know the answer. What should be a surprise is when and where you pop the question. Ask your partner’s parents for their approval beforehand, not their permission. Although, this tip isn’t for everyone because parental relationships differ from person to person. Be cognizant of that. This tradition can be very meaningful to both the parents and your significant other.

Assumptions

More often than not, especially with texting and online forms of communicating, words can be misinterpreted in terms of meaning and tone. Rather than jumping to conclusions, ask questions: “What do you mean when you say…?” “I’m not sure I understand, can you clarify that for me?” Even better, pick up the phone, but make sure to ask whether it’s a good time to call.   

Driving

Use your turn signals; even if you don’t think you need to, use them. Don’t use your phone while driving, especially if another person is in the car with you. Ask them to look up directions or send a text message for you. Snapchat can wait.

Friends of Friends

If your best friend is introducing you to some of their co-workers or friends from another social circle remember, you are representing not just yourself but your friend as well.

The Workplace

Never ask someone to “give you a smile”. If you’re concerned, ask “Is there anything I can help you with?” or “Need to talk?” Also, try to compliment people on their work and actions more than their physical appearance. There’s nothing wrong with saying someone looks nice (if appropriate), but saying they did good work is much more meaningful.