How to Be a Gentleman in the 21st Century: Guest Post

What was considered as proper, gentlemanly behavior in back in the 1800s or early 1900s, is now usually seen as corny or unnecessary in today’s world. Gone are the days of throwing down your coat so that a woman won’t get mud on her shoes as she enters a horse drawn carriage. Today’s woman is still interested in a bit of chivalry every now and then, but you don’t need to behave like a character out of an old black and white movie to be considered a gentleman.

How to Be a Gentleman in the 21st Century

It’s Not All About Good Mannersgentleman

Good manners, etiquette and charm never go out of fashion. A man who has those traits, in addition to being confident, is as in demand now as he was in the past. Where a lot of guys go wrong with their desire to be a gentleman, is in thinking that just being really nice, sweet and helpful will “do the trick” and will make a woman fall madly in love. Often, these same guys will be the ones who lack confidence in themselves and are hoping to be chosen by a woman for being really nice to her. Yet, since women are mostly attracted to a man’s confidence, his extra nice behavior will usually result in her just seeing him as a nice friend. He will wonder if he’s not being nice enough to her and will try, in vain, to get her to like him. He might do all sorts of favors for her, shower her with compliments or share his feelings for her. Yet, she will remain distant and uninterested in anything other than a friendship.

Unfortunately for guys like this, they simply don’t realize that a woman needs to feel sexual attraction for a man before she will consider having a sexual relationship with him. It’s not just about him being nice or being a good guy, there needs to be a spark there as well. Unless he starts behaving in a confident way around her, flirting with her and making her feel like a woman really wants to feel around a man, then she’ll just keep looking at him as a friend and most-likely won’t have any sexual interest in him.

Women Still Want a Strong Man

In the modern world, women have become a lot more confident, savvy and independent, but that doesn’t mean they no longer enjoy the feeling of being with a strong man. Despite the fact that women now have a voice and can make their own choices in life, most are still hoping to meet a man who is mentally and emotionally stronger than them so they can feel safe with him. A man who respects and encourages her strength, intelligence, desires and ambitions in life while also reaching for his true potential and going after his big goals in life with determination. A man who will stick by her through thick and thin, but more importantly, be the sort of man she wants to stick with for life as well. A man whom she can look up to and be proud to call her boyfriend or husband. A man who will be emotionally strong no matter how challenging life gets. A man who will love her and treat her well, while also expecting the same back from her.

The Mistakes a Guy Makes in Their Attempt to be the Perfect Gentleman

Good manners and gentlemanly conduct are essential and something you should be proud of and continue doing. However, creating attraction between a man and a woman involves a lot more than having nice manners. If a man insists on behaving like a gentleman from an old black and white movie and doesn’t understand that things are a little more relaxed these days, women will simply turn him away. He might often hear women say to him, “Sorry, I’m just not looking for a relationship right now” and think that all he needs to do is wait for the woman to be ready. Yet, in most cases, what she is really saying is, “You’re coming on way too strong. Take it easy and let this happen naturally. Don’t be so forceful about the idea of starting a relationship.”

Some of the most common mistakes a guy will make in this area:

Hiding his insecurity and lack of confidence behind gentlemanly conduct

The fact is, women are attracted to the strength in men, not the weakness. Some guys lack so much confidence in themselves and doubt their value to the woman that they will behind the façade of being the perfect gentleman. However, a lack of confidence is visible to a woman regardless of the front a guy tries to put on. A guy can be a perfect gentleman, but if a woman notices that he doubts himself, hesitates to use humor when talking with her, is emotionally guarded during conversation and is afraid to get physically close her, she will know that he lacks confidence and self-esteem. His emotional weakness and immaturity will be a turn off to her, no matter how much of a gentleman he is being.

Relying on an old fashioned approach

Being a gentleman is great as long as you remember not to behave like it’s the early 1900s. Some guys behave in an old fashioned way and use an outdated approach hoping that a woman will be impressed. If he is always polite, never touches her in any way, never challenges her during conversation and always allows her to lead and dictate the pace of the interaction, she will naturally lose interest in him very quickly. Courting a woman in the 21st century is a lot more fast paced and exciting than it was hundreds of years ago. That doesn’t mean that modern women are easy, but it does mean that the “rules of courtship” have changed.

Being too nice or too polite

Some guys make the simple mistake of thinking that being a gentleman means being really, really nice to a woman. A guy like this will avoid saying or doing anything that he deems inappropriate or risque. Since he is not presumptuous about a lady’s virtue, he withholds all forms of sexual flirtation in case he offends her. This would have been great in the 1800s and early 1900s when interactions happened in front of parents and family and sex was still taboo, but in the 21st century, women aren’t afraid to have an innocent flirt with a guy and she how they both feel about it. Flirting is how you and a woman can signal your sexual interest in each other, without actually having to say it or without even having to have sex. However, if you avoid flirting because you think it’s the gentlemanly thing to do, then you’ll simply be seen as a nice friend by pretty much all women you meet.

Overwhelming her with his good manners

As mentioned, good manners and etiquette are great, but when a guy constantly behaves like he fell out of the pages of a romance novel written in the 1800s, a 21st century woman will feel bored or even annoyed to be around him. If all he ever does is open doors, pull out chairs, shower her with flowers, chocolates and other gifts, but never does anything exciting, risqué or even raunchy, things are probably never going to get past a friendship between himself and the woman. Sure, some women will be flattered and give the guy a chance, but if he turns out to be a guy with low self-esteem, lacking confidence and going nowhere in life, the woman will naturally lose interest after the novelty of being showered with gifts and gentlemanly gestures begins to fade away.

Putting her on a pedestal

Some guys believe that to be a gentleman, he has to treat a woman like she is better than him. If he secretly feels as though he doesn’t deserve to be with her, that he’s not good enough for her or that she’s too beautiful for him, then he will usually put her on a pedestal (above himself). Although a woman might enjoy this special treatment initially because it’s a flattering boost to one’s ego, she will soon grow bored with him. Most women want to feel lucky to be with their man, instead of just feeling as though they are doing a guy a favor by dating him. If she feels as though she’s too good for him, she may begin looking for a guy who will make her feel as though she’s gotten lucky.

Being a Gentleman Doesn’t Mean You Have to be a Pushover

If you behave in a gentlemanly way to a woman, you must also ensure that she respects you and treats you nicely in return. Being a gentleman is not about letting women call the shots, push you around or walk all over you. Any bad behavior, selfish behavior or a lack of respect towards you should be addressed immediately. Women respect a man who stands up for himself and doesn’t allow himself to be pushed around, as long as he does it in an easy-going way. You don’t ever need to become aggressive to be respected by a woman. You just need to be calmly assertive and let her know what you like and don’t like. Do it in a loving, easy-going way, rather than a tense and uptight way and she will love and respect you for it.

Most women still wish they could meet a real man who also has a gentlemanly side to him, but such men are hard to find, which is why you’ll often hear women saying, “Where are all the real men?” Most men mess up their opportunity to be seen as a real man, by going overboard with gentlemanly behavior and thinking that it will make up for their lack of confidence in themselves or their inability to flirt and make a woman feel sexy.

If you want be a gentleman in the 21st century, just don’t ever make the mistake of thinking that being really nice is the key to making women swoon and want to be with you. For a woman to see you as lover, boyfriend or husband material, you must also cause her to feel a natural attraction for you as a result of your confidence, masculinity and ability to make her feel like a woman. Then, any gentlemanly behavior or gestures you add on top of that will feel like the greatest gift in the world to her. She’ll feel lucky to have found a man like you and will hold on with both hands on not want to let go.

Dan Bacon is a dating expert and founder of The Modern Man, a company that has been helping men achieve success with women since 2005.

Your Sister in Dating Bliss,

Single Dating Diva

Copyright Single Dating Diva


  1. So true here. It is a tough out there when trying to figure out the line between being a nice guy but also showing that you are a strong guy.


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