So you think you are a gentleman?

What I perceive is that many people talk about being a gentleman when they look classy, smoke a cigar, and drink scotch. Often, James Bond is brought into that image as well. Some may think that they can become one as well by wearing expensive watches, maintaining a smart attitude, and following some ‘rules’ to become one on a random webpage covered with advertisements. But one couldn’t be further from that.

To me, a gentleman is not a term that’s written in stone, especially considering our current time. Does a gentleman need to be a man? And what is it really about?

My view gentlemen

To me, there are more things that matter than just the above. I break them down below. By no means is this a statement or truth; it’s just my perspective on the whole thing.

Kindness above all

In any and every case, kindness is the most important thing. Being kind and gentle to your fellow people, but also to animals and the environment, is the absolute basic a gentleman needs. A person can tick all the boxes, but if they’re unkind, they are not gentlemen. Kindness can be small, but most importantly, it should be genuine. One does not need to spray compliments around or have to do everything for another person in order to be kind. But a small and kind gesture, act, or word goes a long way.

Manners matter

To me, next to kindness, manners matter most. A homeless person with manners, a kind personality, and proper manners could be the perfect gentleman. On the contrary, a person who’s wealthy, interesting, smart, powerful, kind to one’s peers but looks down on others with fake kindness or lacks manners is someone who is not a gentleman to me. One could be educated on manners, and it will help elevate one’s being. But I think that when someone cares with a small set of manners, seeing them apply in a genuine fashion has more impact than someone who just applies them statically.

For example, one of my past colleagues, a young guy, wearing just trainers and his own way of talking and going about. He calls everyone a ‘bro’ (something which I do not prefer to be called). However, he was one of the few who cared for company visitors and team members, making people at ease, and with the set of manners he knows, applied them so genuinely.

You cannot claim gentleman

One may proclaim that they are a gentleman, but can you truly say that about yourself? In my opinion, you’re a gentleman when others think you are. You can only try to be the best version of yourself, and even if you’re not, as you’re only human, allow yourself to be corrected. I do think you could strive to be one, but it is not a goal in itself.

Personal hygiene over attire

You could wear the prettiest clothes, the best brands, drive a cool car, be the most interesting person in the room,… but when you’ve been to the toilet and did not wash your hands or clean up your leftovers for the next person to walk into the toilet, I would remember this.

We live in a fast-paced world, where personal hygiene, even basics, are things we often take for granted, myself included. If I remember my grandparents, they washed their faces and tidied their nails every day. It takes some time, but not much. I often skip these things, and more people like me do.

For a short while now, I’ve been trying to get into a routine of doing these things again. They don’t take a lot of time, and we shouldn’t accept that in a wealthy world, we’re regressing to caveman-like habits.

Don’t mistake personal care for vanity

One of the things I mentioned at the start of this article is that many people out there think that being a gentleman is all about appearance. I can imagine that if one is so caught up in looking good, one may start to judge others based on their behavior and appearance. I, like many others, have also had thoughts like that. It is easy to find yourself doing this. It is hard not to compare yourself to others and strive to achieve a higher status than them. No, it is hard. It is one of the hardest tasks because you need to accept yourself for who you are. And when you do, you will find true personal care.

Extend your courtesy not only to the attracted sex

Sometimes, you see a man, let’s call him Person A, displaying manners towards a woman, whom we’ll refer to as Person B. However, in a similar scenario with Person C, another man, Person A fails to extend the same courtesy. This is in my opinion, this transparent selectiveness of showing manners is not the way of gentlemen.


In a world where we are expected to stand out, teach others, and express our feelings and opinions, it is hard to remain modest. It can be exceptionally hard to be modest in a business setting where we tend to prioritize external opinions over the qualities of our peers. This is, of course, from my perspective.

An important note here is that humility is very culturally dependent. Whereas in the USA, you should be more outgoing and show yourself, doing so can be quite offensive in another culture.

Since our world is much more interconnected, and we deal with multiple nationalities sometimes on a daily basis in both professional and private settings, these qualities can be quite interesting to observe. I would say that the most important thing here is to see what works for you and not judge others based on this.


While how it can come across and the intention you communicate and act with may vary on the receiving end, intention is still a very valid factor. Intention can help you steer conversations in the right direction. Telling someone to impress or show off your knowledge is very different from sharing knowledge to have a more interesting conversation. The difference can be quite nuanced, but the way conversations flow out of that may also be quite different.

Don’t overdo it…

One of the biggest risks of overdoing manners, kindness, putting others first, intention, etc., is that it becomes a goal in itself and interactions and perspectives become imbalanced. I want to reserve this topic for a post later on. I’ve been overdoing and overcompensating for many years; my intentions are often for the sake of showing off, blunt, or just out of rebellious behavior. This is a personal challenge, and there are some more intimate details I would like to share later on. I hope I will be able to write about my journey and overcoming these challenges.

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