7 essential skills for the dating gentleman

*A version of this piece originally appeared on eHarmony.

With the traditional gentleman all but obsolete, there is a new age dawning, that of the new age gent. Do you fit the bill?

Romantic Young couple

Once upon a time, in a land far far away, there lived a breed of almost forgotten men; the Gentleman…

It seems near fantasy for many to think of this ‘golden age’ of chivalry, however, we can accurately look back at the age of the gent knowing this was still a backward time, when women were second class citizens.

The traditional gent has all but died out, we live in a world of much higher equality (still a work in progress).

This brings the need for a gentlemanly revival, befitting the modern day.

Enter the New Age Gent; a man of integrity, compassion, strength, empathy, and purpose.

Where gentlemanly conduct was once purely about opening doors and walking on the curb side of the pavement, the new age gent is about so much more. Let’s take a look at the top essential qualities of the dating gent:

  • Chivalric basics: Traditionally this was a moral and social code which often pertained to warfare. With the specific medieval aspects long irrelevant (duelling, killing for honour, etc…),  chivalric basics nowadays involve opening doors, smiling, eye contact, intently listening, giving genuine and specific compliments, using manners, standing when a lady enters or leaves the room/table, be on time, go the extra mile, etc. These standards remain the basis of respect and should be a staple. Learn and do.

 

  • Master communicator: The most important trait of any new age gent is to develop a genuine connection, regardless of the situation he’s in (social, professional or romantic). This requires strong communication skills, both verbal and non-verbal and is based heavily in your ability to build trust – a vital piece in your tool box. If you need work in the below areas, then make a concerted effort to up-skill yourself.
    1. Listening – As a general rule, listen more than you talk. Ask questions and take genuine interest in the answers. Your aim is to be able to truly understand her. Intent is key. This extends to being open-minded and non-defensive when listening to information about oneself.
      1. Don’t solve –  This now going beyond the first date and into the realm of a more familiar connection where she feels comfortable to share things that are bothering or troubling her. Our masculine need to solve things usually trips us up in the romantic dynamic. Learn to bite your tongue, listen and ask questions – do not shell out advice or opinion*This author still working on this one…
    2. Know her love/appreciation language – In order to truly understand her, and therefore, develop mutual trust and admiration, learning to read her love language brings a depth to you. It’ll help your confidence in better understanding here, and increase her opinion of you.
    3. Empathy – This is the crucial extension of listening. To be able to understand her experience of the world from her point of reference is a vital skill in establishing strong bonds.
    4. Body language – Learning to read and understand her beyond what she’s saying can only strengthen connections, and your understanding of her. The same goes for what your body language is telling her. Be open and welcoming, yet strong and safe when needed.

 

  • Be authentic: No one likes a disingenuous person, however, what can be just as frustrating is wasting time with someone who doesn’t even really know who they are, let alone what they want out of a life and a relationship. Your most important step in finding a partner is first in finding yourself. Moreover, showing integrity by being true to yourself and your word. Integrity builds dependability, which ultimately builds trust. Men who continually saying ‘yes’ to please others show a lack of respect for their own space and needs.

 

  • Bring your best: The trap of looking for the best in others before first being your best befalls too many of us. No new age gent enters a relationship looking to find himself or be completed. He is complete and is looking to share his life with someone. A significant difference. Bring your best by having a strong self-image and sense of worth, and seeking your validation and purpose from within, not others. When you have a healthy self-worth you can confidently show up in a relationship as your best, therefore, attracting the best fit for you.

suited dude

  • Be interesting: A simple extension on the above two points – whatever unique quirks you have, don’t silence these. Be content in your own skin and all of your more fascinating points. These are what separate you from the crowd, celebrate them, because a partner of significance will need to love these too. This can be difficult seeing as we’ve often learned to shut these down in order to fit the crowd. Simply think about being you – 100% you – as an extension of points 3 and 4, not some fabricated version of you.

 

  • Willingness to be vulnerable: Having an inner strength that doesn’t see vulnerability as weakness, instead as courage and real balls, is vital, especially in connecting with partners and potentials. The ability to speak honestly, share feelings and emotions will allow real for deeper connections, and further build trust and mutual understanding.

 

  •  Take the lead, make decisions: There is never a need to ‘wear the pants’ or be dominant in a relationship – equal partners is sexy. However, being able to stand confidently in your masculinity power and make decisions is an enviable trait these days. This means suggesting date venues, etc, not the lame and limp “Whatever you would like to do…” Many women happy and willing to be in their feminine want a man to take charge and have purpose in his actions. Make decisions; set the date, pay the bill, allow her to relax, but give her the opportunity to do so too.

At the end of the day being a gentleman is about knowing who you really are, being content in your skin and consistently acting with empathy, compassion, confidence and purpose. When you lead your life by example you become someone worth knowing and connecting with, someone with a reputation that speaks for you in a positive light; a modern day gentleman.

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