There are many ideas about what qualities define a gentleman. You should strive to project a frame of sophistication and class; to achieve this requires dressing well, groomed well and so on. But it also means personality qualities, too. At The Millennial Gentleman we define these as the following traits that are essential characteristics for what a gentleman is,
- Hard Working
When most people think of a true gentleman, they think of the tradition of a courteous, kind man who demonstrates his nobility through his words and deeds. Many things have changed over the centuries, but the core of a gentleman still rings true.
Chivalry isn’t dead. It’s at the top of a gentleman’s qualities because it’s the basis of all he needs to be a “gentleman.” This means he approaches people with respect in every sense. He will hold doors for women because it’s traditional, and not because he thinks he’s special. He offers to push in a woman’s chair because he respects her. Some women might get offended because everyone these days is supposed to be ‘equal’, but a chivalrous man is just doing what he feels is right and making efforts to demonstrate respect in the same way that his ancestors have done so. He treats all people the same way by giving them mutual respect, knowing that such is a two way road.
A true gentleman has a special place in his heart for his loved ones. He doesn’t take them for granted. He visits with them every chance he gets. A gentleman knows family comes first. The qualities of a gentleman are many. Being a good person is the basis of being a true gentleman. He may not be perfect, but his humble heart keeps him on course. A gentleman knows how to be genuine in all situations.
Manners aren’t just for the royals. A gentleman must have excellent manners. He knows how to act in social and professional settings. He’s optimistic and throughout any situation and strives to be polite even to his enemies. He knows the etiquette of handling different situations, from hanging out with his buddies watching football to presenting a big pitch in the boardroom. He’s comfortable wherever he is because he has good manners to guide him.
A well-mannered man knows how to keep his cool. He’s calm when he gets terrible news and can maintain his composure even when he’s angry, as he knows the importance of making level headed rational choices in heated situations. He knows how to communicate calmly and clearly, and this helps others communicate with him. He might be angry or sad, but he remains stoic. Being calm doesn’t make him weak. Being calm makes him powerful as he can objectively assess a situation and find the most logical and direct solutions to problems, which is much harder to do when you let your emotions get the better of you.
A gentleman is considerate to everyone and strives to treat everyone the same way. He doesn’t lie, he doesn’t cheat in line and he doesn’t treat waiters rudely when his steak is undercooked. This man accommodates others instead of thinking only of himself. He lets people cut in line ahead of him if they only have a few items at the grocery store. It’s the little things he does in his life that show consideration to others and often have the largest positive impacts in the lives of those he interacts with.
It is said that a gentleman is generous, though this can often be misunderstood; generosity isn’t about being nice all of the time. It is about leading life with wisdom and kindness as much as possible. A gentleman shows off his generous side by the way he lives his life daily.
A gentleman is generous with his time helping others who are willing to make the efforts to maximize his time helping them. He wants to teach kindly but he doesn’t wish to waste his own efforts, as his time is valuable. He also knows that charity is only useful when it allows someone to change their situation for the better, and sometimes the truly charitable thing to do is encourage someone to seek a different path that will produce better results for them in the long term.
The gentlemen of old strived to be thoughtful and worldly. A young man should explore the world and see it for himself so that when he makes important decisions he is making them based on something of substance he has direct experience with, not just repeating something he was told by another. A military adventure was once considered practically a requirement to be a gentleman, but now many men are not able to perform service for one reason or another. Still a good adventure early in one’s life as a young man will form a central part of your being and you should have one if you have not yet done so.
A gentleman knows when to show off his passionate side. When he truly cares about something, he stands up for it. He doesn’t let his emotions get the best of him in conflict, but he does defend what he loves. He knows how to approach conflict when he is passionate about it. He understands unfocused anger doesn’t get him very far in life. Directing his passion toward calculated decisions to create solutions to his problems will propel him forward the best.
It’s important to always work on yourself to show off your best qualities as a man. There are so many “rules” of society that no one fits perfectly in. A gentleman understands he isn’t perfect, but he can always work on himself to polish off his best parts. He can be emotional, physically fit, mentally sharp and professional at the same time. He understands he needs to always work on the relationships in his life to ensure his own and his loved ones’ happiness.
One of the best qualities of a gentleman is that he is a good listener and is well-spoken. This means he can talk to anyone in the room without talking too much. He is also able to listen with open ears. People love a good listener. An effective communicator leaves others feeling that they’ve been understood in the conversation. Even if he disagrees with someone a gentleman will never try to rule the conversation and will allow others to speak their own minds. He will stand up for his beliefs in a talk, but won’t overpower the other person. He wins his debates with thoughtful and balanced viewpoints that demonstrate his opinion has been formed from a place of wisdom that considers the whole of a problem.
A hard-working man is impressive to any mate. He has a strong, powerful work ethic and loves to see the results of his hard work. He has pride in his work and he gives 100 percent every day. This makes him a gentleman because he will carry over his hard-working ethic into all aspects of his everyday life. He will be dedicated, self-disciplined and humble. A true leader is a man that everyone wants on his team.
As a consequence of his level of education (whether formally educated or self taught) a gentleman is open-minded. A gentleman may have his own opinions, but he will keeps an open mind and welcome the possibility of furthering his knowledge. He knows about today’s issues, but he doesn’t condemn people for their beliefs simply for being different than his own. He wants people to challenge his ideas so he can validate them, ensuring he is on the correct path. He might be wrong, but he never gets angry when he is. A gentleman understands there are many different kinds of people in the world. No one is exactly right. It’s good to always learn about other views.
Confidence isn’t boastful. It’s about being humble while knowing you’re in control. This man knows he isn’t perfect, but he also knows he’s confident in his positive attributes. You can watch a gentleman’s body language to see his confidence shining. He walks with a purpose because he has one.
A confident man always has a firm handshake. A firm handshake in itself should be one of the top qualities of a gentleman as a handshake holds a man’s strength and confidence in one place.
A gentleman’s confidence often puts others at ease You’ll never feel uncomfortable in the presence of a gentleman. He always puts you at ease because he wants you to feel happy. He is consciously aware of his partner’s needs. He knows you want to feel secure with him. At a party when you know no one, he will do everything in his power to introduce you to everyone. On a date when you’re nervous, he’ll make you laugh by doing silly things. It’s a bit of a gentleman’s superpower to be able to make people feel comfortable naturally.
A gentleman is a person of integrity A gentleman isn’t one person in public and one person in private. He’s always the same. He makes sure to do the right thing at all times. This means he doesn’t make false promises or lie to you. He doesn’t do something just because it is popular. He’s the same man no matter the amount of money he has or his status.
Actions always follow words. If a gentleman says something will get done, he will get it done. He understands that letting people down is detrimental to relationships. He sets goals for himself and goes after those goals. Words in action mean he is always striving to do his best for others when he tells them he will do anything for them.
This does not mean a gentleman can have his honor exploited. If a promise is made but the other party fails to deliver, a gentleman does not have to be the guy left holding the bag. Honor is a two-way street; if someone behaves dishonorably toward the gentleman then he does not have to tolerate that. This does not necessarily mean a gentleman should treat others dishonorable if they have none but it does mean the dishonorable are not owed his best.
We here at The Millennial Gentleman hope this article has been a helpful guide to some of the major qualities of a gentleman as we see it. A man who strives to cultivate these characteristics in his own character will be viewed by others as possessing a noble spirit, and labeled a gentleman by his peers.