Etiquette Tips for Men in a Modern World

Mid adult couple arriving home after work and entering hallway
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News flash: It's not old fashioned for men to have good manners. In fact, it's more important now than ever for a man to pay attention to the basics of proper etiquette with all the competition for good jobs and invitations to the best parties.

Some people seem to think that being strong means exhibiting rude behavior and bulldozing others. It doesn't.


Contrary to the behavior of many people on today’s reality television shows, proper etiquette is not out of style. The act of following the basic rules of good manners shows respect for other people and sends the message that you want the same respect in return. 

Practice Your Manners

You don’t have to exaggerate proper etiquette. It should come naturally. That means that you should read the rules and practice until you can follow them without even having to think about it. It's like riding a bike. The more you do it the better you get. Really.

Old School Manners

Remember that proper etiquette applies to all people, including men, women, and children. However, there are certain things that started long before you were born that may not make sense to you. Even some of the rules that may not apply now can still be followed. You’ll certainly impress the older generation when you exhibit old-fashioned manners, and a nod from Grandma might be just the thing to turn that special girl’s head.

Manners at First Glance

Like the old saying, “You only have one chance to make a first impression," goes, make sure it counts in your favor. People tend to hang on to their original image of who you are for a very long time.

Even if you manage to sway them later, you can pretty much count on their remembering you as you were at the first meeting. These guidelines are good to follow in the beginning, whether you are at a party or interviewing for a new job.

Here are tips for men on meeting people for the first time:

  • Meeting new people: Meeting new people can be nerve-wracking but if you offer a warm smile, are polite, and maintain personal boundaries you're sure to be a hit with any crowd in any situation.
  • Starting a conversation: You don’t have to be tongue-tied when you meet someone new. Remember you're not the only one who is nervous and you don't have to be super witty or charming to strike up a conversation. All you need to do is be friendly, offer a warm smile and handshake, and introduce yourself. You can start the conversation off with a quip about the weather or ask the other person about something you think interests them. For example, if they're eating or drinking something, ask them what they like about it? What are their other favorite foods or drinks? etc. Who knows where the conversation will lead.
  • Handshake etiquette: Learning how to shake hands will be valuable throughout life.
  • Job interview etiquette: Set yourself apart from the candidate pool in a good way by showing that you know how to act. All you've got to do is dress appropriately, introduce yourself with a firm handshake, and answer all the questions honestly. Keep eye contact with your interviewer and don't look at your phone or other distractions, or talk about things irrelevant to the position.

Everyday Good Manners

Not only do you need to practice proper etiquette when you first meet someone, but you also need to maintain it all the time. It’s not as difficult as it may sound. All you have to do is practice so good manners will become a habit.

It’s all about showing consideration for others. Some specific examples include putting down the toilet seat when you finish your business, say “please” and “thank you,” and respect people’s personal space.

Extra tips for daily manners:

  • Grooming: Brush your teeth, take a shower, comb your hair, and trim your nails for a good start on good grooming.
  • Handling awkward situations: Don’t make a bad situation worse just because you don’t know how to handle it. Depending on the situation your best bet is to be polite, don't make excuses, and apologize if you've done something wrong. If you're the one who is uncomfortable try your best to change the subject, or firmly and politely explain that you are uncomfortable and you'd like for the behavior to stop.
  • Gentlemanly language: In other words, refrain from using four-letter words around your boss, your clients, and the parents of a girl you want to impress.
  • Work etiquette: Acknowledge and respect others around you at work. Don't make too much noise, avoid showing your bad habits, and don't stink up the place.
  • Answering rude questions: Even if you know proper etiquette, you can count on someone else to be rude occasionally. Be prepared with good (polite) answers and then change the subject.
  • Show manners at home: If you want harmony in the home, make sure you carry your share of the load. Pick up after yourself, take a turn at kitchen duty, and participate in child rearing.

Manners While out and About

Going out is much more fun when everyone behaves. You might get a few laughs for acting like a clown, but people probably won't take you seriously when you want them to. Knowing the social graces will give you an edge and attract more people than if you come across as a boor. Once again, the act of practicing good manners is mostly about treating people the way they should be treated.