How to Be a Gentleman in the Modern Age

A guy who knows how to be a gentleman getting a hug from his date at a wedding.

Dating today has changed from the days of yore. We swipe right instead of exchanging handwritten love letters. We meet at bars instead of being picked up. We go dutch on dates instead of expecting the man to pick up the check all the time. And while dating etiquette needs to change with the times too, there are certain traditions, particularly those related to romance and respect, that never go out of style.

The truth is, the basic fundamentals of courting as a true gentleman are as true now than they were back in the days of “Downton Abbey.” It’s been said chivalry is dead. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be resuscitated.

Here are some tips on how to be a gentleman in the modern age.

Be consistent.
Don’t underestimate the power of consistency. If you say you’re going to call her on Monday night, call her on Monday night. If you’ve gotten into a habit of texting her every morning, save emergencies and the occasional lapse, keep texting her every morning. If you can’t, let her know and tell her when you will contact her. The same goes for punctuality. If you say you’ll meet her at the restaurant at 7:00, be there promptly for 7:00—although earlier is better. Consistency helps build connection and trust within a relationship, as well as speaks volumes on how much you respect and value someone.

Give her your attention.
This means shutting off your phone on a date. You’re not checking for texts or emails, or the latest tweet. All of your attention should be on her, which also means consistent eye contact. No wandering eyes on the waitress, no looking around at the patrons or at your shoes during awkward silences. While you don’t want to stare into her eyes all night without blinking, maintaining eye contact is an excellent indicator that you’re actively listening to her and is the surest way of creating connection and intimacy.

Understand “ladies, first”
While understanding and adhering to “ladies, first” might sound a tad traditional for modern dates, it’s an underrated form of romance that’s often neglected nowadays. “Ladies, first” means opening all of the doors for her, and allowing her to leave or enter a car, a building, wherever, first. When being seated at a restaurant, allow her to go first. When ordering, have her request her meal first with the server. When do you lead? When there is a crowded place, such as a concert or a busy nightclub, and you clear the path for her, casually taking her by the arm. A gesture like this might not seem like a big deal, but it definitely helps make an impression.

Don’t make the connection all about sex.
While sex is an important and fun part of dating and relationships, a gentleman doesn’t enter a connection pushing sex first. A gentleman doesn’t ogle his date nor does he compliment her solely as “sexy” or “hot.” Don’t turn every conversation into a sexually charged one, and not every texting session needs to lead to a sexting one.

You’re patient.
A true gentleman is able to gauge the natural ebb and flow of his connection with his date. He’s able to tune into her needs and pick up on her body language in order to make her feel comfortable and at ease. He doesn’t rush the organic rhythm of the relationship, including sex and commitment. He knows the importance of cooling his jets so that he’s able to forge an authentic connection with his lady. That means knowing when to lean in for a kiss or knowing whether you should suggest going back to your place for a nightcap. A true gentleman doesn’t rush a woman.

You don’t ghost or cling.
A gentleman doesn’t overstay his welcome, and will bow out gracefully if a connection is fizzling out. He won’t cling onto a relationship that’s no longer working or bother a woman after she’s told him they’re through. On the flip side, a true gentleman won’t leave a woman hanging either. If it’s time for a relationship to progress to the next level, he won’t hesitate to make moves. And if he isn’t feeling it, he will communicate his feelings and tell a woman that he no longer wishes to see her. A gentleman doesn’t breadcrumb or ghost. He’s honest and truthful, especially when the going gets tough.

Being a gentleman today doesn’t have to be difficult. It’s simply holding higher standards for yourself and making the effort to establish trust and intimacy within your connections. It means consistently demonstrating respect and attention towards the object of your affection so that you set yourself apart from the rest of the modern Neanderthals. P.S. Showing up with a bouquet of flowers doesn’t hurt either.

Brianne Hogan

Freelance Writer

Brianne is a Canadian freelance writer who’s been writing about dating and relationships longer than any of her relationships. She applies a “do what I say, not do what I do” approach to her articles, and believes you can find Your Person mostly when you aren’t looking. So enjoy your life, and eat lots of cheese (at least that’s her motto). Her byline’s been featured on Thrillist, The Huffington Post, HelloGiggles, Elle Canada, Flare, Awesomeness TV, among others.

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