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You might earn a great salary, drive the latest sports car, and wear top-of-the-line suits, but if you lack basic etiquette, you can never be a true gentleman. To put it simply, being a gentleman requires behaving like one too. Sadly, most men lack even this basic virtue! Here’s your guide on how to be a gentleman by observing proper etiquette.
How to Treat Women
Your treatment of women determines if you are a good person, let alone a gentleman. In today’s dog-eat-dog world, it is often said that chivalry is dead. However, it’s alive and kicking for a true gentleman. Opening doors for women, letting them enter and leave elevators first and offering them a seat on the bus is--and always has been--the right thing to do!
Another important thing to remember is women are not to be considered trophies that can be “won.” They are intellectually and morally our equals (if not our superiors!) and should be treated with every modicum of respect that you can muster up. Modern-day pickup artists may tell you that the worse you treat a woman, the more "into you" they will be--we think that's rubbish. Any sort of relationship based on such a flawed and twisted dynamic is doomed from the start!
How you conduct yourself at the dining table is a clear reflection of who you are. If you are eating out, make sure you’ve made appropriate reservations. Once at the restaurant--if you have a lady on your arm--be sure you pull out her chair before you sit; if a waiter is doing that for her, then wait for her to sit down before you do so.
Once seated, make sure you gracefully unfurl the napkin provided to you and spread it over your lap. Another important thing to remember is to never place your elbows on the table while eating--this is a common mistake! Sit upright and ask your waiter to bring the menu should you need one. Ask your dining partner/s if they’re ready with their orders. If so, call for the waiter--don’t yell--and after placing others’ orders, place yours.
Once the food arrives, make sure you start only once everyone else at your table has their food in front of them. The only time you may be excused from doing so is when the rest of the food at your table’s going to take quite a while. Also, in such a case, it’s only polite that you seek your dining partners’ permission before you start digging in.
Also, if you had a problem with your meal or dining experience, calmly ask for the manager and report the matter to him/her in a stern--not loud--manner! Do not shout at any point; and definitely don’t threaten anyone with dire consequences over a meal! One of the true tests of a gentleman's character is how he treats service staff; ranting and raving at the slightest pretext is far from gentlemanly behaviour!
A gentleman never breaks the law unless its a life-threatening emergency--and this is particularly true when it comes to driving. No matter how crowded the street is, you have to keep your wits about you while at the wheel. This means no cussing, no unnecessary overtaking, no lane-cutting and certainly no flipping the bird to fellow drivers!
When you have passengers in the car--particularly a lady friend--drive to maximise their comfort, not to show off your Formula 1 skills. Gentle stops and starts, smooth turns, and perhaps stopping for the odd pedestrian will stand you in much better stead than driving as though you're in a race of some sort. Remember, you have absolutely no control over what others on the road are going to do (and there will always be that one clueless taxi driver or lane-cutting teenage moron), but you can control how you react.
It goes without saying that you should know your role in the organization and open your mouth accordingly. We’re not saying to be a slave and tolerate just about anything from your colleagues or superiors. However, try to use reason more than emotions while at work.
A gentleman always refrains from back-biting, office gossip, and politics. Make sure your priorities are clear to everyone around--your priorities should always be your work, of course! Small talk is fine every once in a while, but don’t make a habit of it. Remember, your colleagues will respect your far more for your integrity rather than the odd juicy bit of gossip.
Finally, never try to knowingly upstage a colleague. Getting ahead at someone else's expense is highly uncalled for, and you can be sure karma will pay you back in kind!
“Treat others like you want them to treat you,” is the golden rule every gentleman should follow. No matter what your social status or monthly income, you a true gentleman accords everyone with the same respect--be it a billionaire CEO or a janitor.
Remember, a true gentleman is sensitive and cares about others’ feelings. So, don’t go around blurting out inappropriate things and creating awkward situations for others. Be kind and considerate, and that’s how you’ll be able to embody the gentlemanly spirit.
That's all for now; remember--it's perfectly alright to dress like 'Mad Men's' Don Draper in your quest to become a gentleman. However, his behaviour is far from ideal, and you're better off following our advice than emulating his TV persona!
-Pictures courtesy Thinkstock-
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