What Is the Definition of a Gentleman?
At Sigma Nu, we strive to fully understand the meaning and engage the importance of our actions. Study from our examples and ask yourself whether or not you would pass the unequivocal test of a gentleman.
“There is a law which brings gentlemen together in groups. It acts like the law of gravity, and regardless of what is done to divert it, it holds true.”
– Dr. Charles Wesley Flint, former Chancellor of Syracuse University
Characteristics of a Gentleman
A gentleman knows how to begin a conversation.
If a gentleman is subjected to a rude remark or rude behavior, he does not offer rudeness in return.
A gentleman allows others to finish their sentences. Even in his most brilliant moments, he does not interrupt.
A gentleman does not talk with his mouth full – even over the phone.
A gentleman is slow to judge the actions of others, either in their public or private affairs.
A gentleman never corrects another person’s grammar – unless he is teaching an English class.
A gentleman does not take part in major arguments over minor issues.
A gentleman makes a conscious effort to use correct grammar, but he resists all temptation to sound overly grand.
A gentleman does not pretend to speak languages that he has not made his own.
A gentleman never asks a woman if she is pregnant.
A gentleman avoids raising his voice and does not shout others down – even in the most heated discussion.
A gentleman says “Excuse me,” not “I’m sorry” when he inconveniences someone while moving through a crowded room.
A gentleman never begins a statement with “I don’t mean to embarrass you but…”
When it comes to accepting social invitations, a gentleman never waits for something better to come along.
A gentleman does not ask anyone – male or female – to divulge his or her age.
When a gentleman initiates a telephone conversation, he knows it is his responsibility to end that conversation.
A gentleman does not use his cell phone when he is at a table with others.
Once a gentleman discovers that he must decline an invitation that he has already accepted, he promptly alerts his host.
When a gentleman receives a number of invitations on his voice mail, he accepts the first one.
A gentleman does not engage in arguments, of any sort, at the dinner table.
When a gentleman is confronted by foolishness, he does not attempt to refute it with reason. Instead, he keeps silent.
A gentleman never claims to have seen a movie or read a book about which he has only read reviews.
In a civil conversation, and when attempting to meet new friends, a gentleman asks the question “What do you think?” often.
A gentleman sincerely appreciates any gift that comes his way, and pens a thank you note to show his gratitude.
A gentleman knows that a toast need not be epic in length, but usually a few well thought out words will convey his wishes.
A gentleman knows that the freshest toast of the evening is the first one offered.
A gentleman knows that, beer steins excepted, he may not toast with anything resembling a coffee cup.
A gentleman never uses a toast to ridicule or embarrass a friend.
A gentleman does not take it upon himself to deliver a toast at a breakfast meeting.
When a gentleman will have guests in his home, he makes sure the toilets are clean and there is plenty of toilet paper.
When a gentleman throws a party, he goes to the grocery store and the liquor store early in the day, and buys plenty of ice.
A gentleman understands that a hat exists for utilitarian purposes, and that it should never be worn inside.
A gentleman always removes his hat during any formal prayers.
If a gentleman has a cold, especially if he is running a fever, he declines all social invitations.
If a gentleman has left a message for another person, he does not leave badgering follow-up calls.
Even if he lives alone, a gentleman never drinks milk directly from the container.
At a concert or any musical performance, a gentleman does not applaud until the end of a complete musical number.
A gentleman does not pick his nose in public. In fact, he is wise that he does not pick his nose at all.
In a theater, church, or any place where people have gathered, a gentleman always turns his cell phone off.
When a gentleman arrives late for a church service, he waits for a suitable pause in the service before sitting down.
A gentleman always thinks before he speaks.
Adapted for the chapter from “The Gentleman Series” by John Bridges and Bryan Curtis