12.12.2016

Sterling fellows: how to be a gentleman online in 6 steps

Many a traditionalist would argue that the art of gentlemanliness isn’t something you can perfect overnight. We beg to differ! Being a stellar fella on the net is an attainable goal for every guy. And with so many of us going online to find love, understanding how to be a gentleman is vital!

How to be a gentleman, and talk the talk

Right then squire, let’s get the ball rolling. This first bit of advice on how to be a gentleman online is elementary, yet so many chaps get it wrong. Being a gent requires that you know how to string a sentence together. You don’t have to go to elocution classes or brush up on your Oxford best, just make sure you communicate clearly. 

50 years ago a gang of US Navy engineers coined a useful acronym that works here. The ‘KISS’ principle, which stands for ‘keep it simple, stupid’, is a failsafe rule when it comes to sending messages over the web. If you can find the middle ground between overly verbose, gushing love tomes and illegible text chat, you’re on the right track. Another thing; manners don’t cost a thing. You’d be surprised how far a polite ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ go!

Never leave people hanging

There’s a lot of ‘advice’ around nowadays concerning the optimal amount of time you should wait before replying to a message. The main concern centres on whether acting too soon makes you look overly keen. Hate to break it to you here but most of it is a tad bit spurious. 

Gentlemen don’t conform to flaky conventions about when to write back. They do run on instinct. If it feels right to respond, trust your gut and just do it. If you abide by the above point you won’t frighten your date off by looking like too eager. It’ll more likely give off the impression that you’re a straight up bloke who’s direct and got a dependable demeanour. 

This is a man’s word

For the more musically astute readers, you may have clocked that there’s a little nod to James Brown’s ubiquitous song written in to this subsection’s title. And yes, it is misspelt on purpose. We’re not trying to suggest that Brown’s patriarchal machinations coincide with how to be a gentleman online either. Rather, a true gentleman is never noncommittal – he’ll always keep his word. 

In short, if you’re not going to be able to deliver on a promise, don’t make it in the first place. There’s nothing worse than being let down, especially by someone you’re developing feelings for. This means that you mustn’t renege on plans; if you’ve decided you’re going to meet up with someone you’ve met online don’t pull out at the last minute. 

A little respect 

When Aretha Franklyn and Andy Bell (separately!) crooned about the merits of respect, they weren’t just warbling on about any old nonsense. No, they were singing about one of the most important traits going. That’s right, if you’re wondering how to be a gentleman, you’ve got to be au fait with what it means to respect others. 

When it comes to online dating, respect is king. If the woman or man you’re messaging isn’t as enthusiastic as you are, you have to appreciate that. Understanding that some people have opinions that don’t align with yours when it comes to religion, politics and lifestyle goes without saying; it’s wholly unacceptable to lambast someone for seeing things differently.

Social media etiquette

Gentlemen of yesteryear wouldn’t have the foggiest when it comes to this point. Indeed, some of the older gentry amongst our readership could possibly be at a loss here too. Yet it’s an essential point to discuss as the world around us becomes even more enmeshed with social media. So, if you’ve got a Facebook account or are partial to the occasional Tweet, pay attention. 

Do not, under any circumstances, vent your distain for someone or something on the web. Public tirades are 100% devoid of any decorum. It’s best to think twice before you craft a ranty post or wade all-guns-blazing into the comment section. Whilst we’re on the subject, gentlemen certainly don’t have any errant photos documenting their boozy university days floating about.

Tune in

No, not to the radio... Rather, pay attention to what people tell you! If you want to know how to be a gentleman of the most sterling calibre, you need to learn how to listen. And it’s no mean feat either. Granted, if you’ve been blessed with exemplary hearing and the memory of an elephant, you may as well gloss over this point. 

However, for the remaining majority, honing your listening skills is a must. Whether it’s first date patter or something a colleague has said in passing, being able to recall the finer details will make you stand out. What’s more, it’ll make others want to take note of you.

There you have it, getting to grips with how to be a gentleman online couldn't be easier. If you've got any questions (or feel we've missed something out), get in touch via the 'ask the experts' link to the right of your screen!