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Give the Guy a Chance to be a Gentleman

By: Bethany Baird

I was a sophomore in high school and had just finished playing in the semi-finals for a big basketball tournament. As my team and I were sitting in the bleachers scouting out our competition, one of the high school guys teams came and sat right behind us.

It just so happened that these guys went on to introduce themselves and quickly struck up a conversation.

As our conversation with these guys gained speed, my ears quickly tuned into their major language problem. Their English was fine, but their choice of words was filled with profanity and inappropriate comments.

Being the outgoing girl on my team, I turned around and looked at the leader of this guy pack.

I said something like this, “I really don’t think it’s appropriate to curse in front of ladies. So if you’d like to talk to us, please don’t curse.” (the teenage Bethany was doing her best to say, “stop talking that way.”)

I wish you could have seen the look on the dudes face.

I’m pretty sure I was the first girl that had ever asked him something like that. He looked totally shocked and surprised.

What happened next was incredible though.

The change in his attitude and behavior was amazing.

He went from cursing, inappropriate flirting and crude joking, to talking and acting like a true gentleman.

In that moment, I realized that all he needed was someone to act in a way that expected more of him. Instead of allowing him to sit there and curse up a storm, I challenged him to a higher standard.

I’m not saying that this will change every boy into a gentleman, but I’ve seen it work more times than just once. I’m amazed at how my personal behavior and words have directly affected the way that guys have chosen to treat me.

Give the guy a chance.

Way too often we as girls cry and complain that there are no real guys left in the world. We cover our pillows with tears and ask God to raise up respectable gentlemen.

Hold up!

Instead of despairing over the fact that there aren’t any real men, why don’t you take a look in the mirror and ask yourself if you are being a real woman?

I have a hunch that so many of those boys would rise up to become men if you would ask them to. I don’t mean literally go and ask them (*that could be awkward*), I mean ask them by your behavior. By the way that you dress. By the way you talk. By the way you interact.

I realize this isn’t a foolproof guarantee, but I think it’s a great place to start.

Tips to encourage the gentlemen.

Let me close out by giving you a few of my personal tips on encouraging boys to act like gentlemen.

1. When a guy offers to be a gentleman, accept it. When a guy offers you a chair, accept it. When a guy offers to carry something heavy, allow him to. When a guy is making an effort in gentlemanly behavior, allow him the opportunity.

2. When you are walking up to a door, slow down and give the guy a chance to open it. Most girls walk ahead and open it themselves. Try giving the guy the opportunity instead.

3. Try dressing in classier, more modest clothing and you will notice a difference. Strangers, friends, brothers and even my dad all tend to treat me with more respect when I’m dressed like a lady. I think it pulls out their inner nobleman.

What about you?

Do your actions call for guys to treat you with respect?
Do your clothes choices and word choices challenge guys to treat you like a lady?
How can you help guys rise to the occasion and act like true gentlemen?

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  • Bel :)

    Thank you so much for this post! I will inspire the men around me to be the gentlemen God has created them to be! Also, I’m not sure if telling a guy “I Love You” is a good thing. Should I save those words for my future husband? Or is it completely fine to tell a guy those words.

    • Hey! I personally don’t tell my guy friends I love them. I express appreciate in other ways, “I’m grateful to have a godly friend like you” “I appreciate the way you treat me.” “Thanks for being such a great guy.” Etc. That might be a better way to encourage them.

      • Bel :)

        Thank you sooooooo much!! I was so confused about this, but your advice gave me clarity!! Thank you again!

  • Rachel M.

    Great post Bethany! I have seen so many instances of guys just ditching being gentlemanly and going with stereotypes that the culture has for them. Thank you for this reminder for us to help guys in this area.

  • Love this article! I appreciate the gentlemen my life and you’ve challenged me both in this post and others to be encouraging them in that. I love it when guys at college open a door for me–somehow I don’t expect it, but I try to always give them a big smile and genuine thanks to encourage them to keep doing it.

    I’ve had a couple guys tell me, “It’s so confusing–we’re told we’re supposed to be a gentlemen, but at the same time, women are offended if I open the door. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do!” I feel really bad that guys are getting such conflicted messages.

    • It can be confusing for guys. We (as christian girls) need to do our best to support and encourage them in this way. 🙂

  • Naomi

    You’ve challenged me – now I’m going to challenge those around me! Thank-you so much for this blog!
    Girls so often get confused about true womanhood, but it’s a problem for guys too. I’ve seen a Youtube ad that said something like “Real men don’t sit on the sidelines; real men play World of Warcraft.”
    I totally agree with Anastasis (below) – It’s so sad that guys are getting mixed messages just like us girls. But we have the power of prayer – recently I’ve been praying for all the boys I know (Christian and non-Christian alike), that they would grow up to be the kind of men that God desires them to be.
    Thanks again for this post!

    • That’s so awesome that you are praying for them. I love it!

  • I was just speaking to one my spiritual older brothers about this and he recommended the same thing to me. He said that most men need to challenged to change their behaviours and attitudes toward women. By responding to them in this appropriate manner, we are forcing them to rethink their current mentalities even in just the simplest things.

  • Love this!

  • MarihelenG

    Amen!!!

  • Séphora Valberg

    Well written and true 😉

  • Heather Hemsley

    I love those tips, Bethany! Thank you! <3

  • Thanks for this article! I’ve seen the same in my life. We need to start encouraging men to be gentlemen instead of the opposite!

  • Thanks for this article! I’ve seen the same in my life. We need to start encouraging men to be gentlemen instead of the opposite!

  • Kaela Schultz

    great post!

  • Brooke M.

    Wow! What a great post. 🙂 My sister friend and I lead a Bright Lights group and it is at the same time most of our brothers do ALERT. If you aren’t familiar with it, definitely look it up! It’s so good. 🙂 I usually take a laundry basket full of books, teaching materials and other things that I probably won’t need, but take anyways… and it is HEAVY! For a while, I would trudge through the gym with the basket hanging on for dear life and most of these gentlemen would just watch me and continue what they were doing. I talked to my dad, and he went the straight forward route and announced that since Bright Lights was in the next room, the capable guys MUST help us out. 🙂 I talked to my mom, and she encouraged me to not just do it myself when the guys weren’t doing anything, but to ask them politely to help me out. She said that they often have their “head in the clouds” and don’t think about doing something unless they are urged. Since I am not shy around people, not even guys, I would go straight up to a group with the basket and sometimes, I wouldn’t have to say a word. After a few weeks, one particular gentleman who happened to be my big brother’s best friend began to help me out. We really just have to give them a chance!

    That was a ramble, but thanks for writing this post!! <3

  • Sienna

    Thank you SOO much- that’s such a really fabulous post!!! Really helpful, and definitely what we need to do to encourage guys to be gentlemen:):)xo

  • Wow, that was so true- I’ve came to a similar conclusion a few weeks ago that left me staring at my screen trying to let it sink in!

  • Brianne

    Awesome post!! It works 99% of the time when you expect more from guys. Thanks, Bethany! 🙂

  • Ama

    I love your ministry and especially the girl defined book! It’s been such a blessing. I’ve been thinking though, about my brothers in Christ and want to know if there’s a similar ministry but geared towards guys. Books would’ve helpful too, any suggestions? x

    • Susannah Grant

      Same here!

  • Claire Rachel

    Wow, what great thoughts on being a Lady; some I had never thought about; thanks!!!
    Thank you so much for having this ministry; I have been following you over the last few months, and you have really inspired me to take my faith and femininity to a whole new level. God is doing a wonderful work with you ladies, so PLEASE don’t stop. Thank you so much for all you do!
    God bless!
    Claire Rachel<3

  • Rebekah

    I love this ministry keep going! We need more people like you guys!

  • Cea

    This is awesome! God is teaching me a lot lately about doing my part with encouraging Christian guys. So glad that He provided this post at the right time!

  • Oreoluwa James

    Beautiful post. I’ve really learned a lot

  • Anna

    Thank you very much for writing this post. I think I really need to work on all the things you’ve mentioned, but the one thing I need to work on is my attitude. I need to let the guys around me be a gentleman and I need to take a step back in order to do so.

  • Hannah grace

    Wow really good points, gave me something to think about! Great post Bethany!

  • Love this post!! I think a lot of women aren’t aware that they can set the standard when it comes to what you receive from men! This generation has become too afraid of losing a potential love in someone that they begin to lower their standards and expectations because “there are no good guys left!” You are totally spot on with your points! Love. Love. Love!

  • Amelia

    Love this post! And I definitely agree with you. Sometimes all you need to do is ask, and they will rise to meet those higher standards. Some of my guy cousins are not Christians, and they used to swear and take God’s name in vain and crack inappropriate jokes around me and my much younger siblings. So one day, I asked them to please stop talking like they did in front of me and my siblings, because I didn’t like it or approve of it. They were surprised, but they immediately stopped and to this day they will even stop each other if they think the other is saying something that we wouldn’t like to hear. It’s amazing. And I think God really used that to convict me of what you were saying in this article. Thanks again for writing this!

  • Charis Chen

    Love this post so much! I agree!! I tend to dress more modestly than some of my friends, and I don’t use crude language (my girlfriends do sometimes) so I think that really makes a difference because the other girls get pranked, teased, shipped, and all, but I don’t. Recently I was having lunch with a group of friends. The boys were having a conversation that I was very lost in, and I finally told them I was lost. The oldest boy (who worked with me on a project last year) said, “It’s fine, you don’t need to understand things like these.” He said it in a kind way, which really threw me back, and now I think I know better 😀

  • Anna

    Thanks for the post Bethany. I think that in our culture us as women are trained to be independent and so accepting help from others, especially men is really hard. In my opinion, this has made men think that they are inferior and they don’t know how to act in a “manly” way. I’m trying really hard to be more accepting of men showing me kind deeds e.g. opening doors, letting me walk first etc and by doing so encouraging men to “reclaim” their masculinity.

  • Gertie

    Not too long ago I was in a situation with a guy where we were walking alone in the woods together. It was winter and cold and I hadn’t brought a coat, so when we were standing and talking he offered his to me. I refused (sorta instinctual), but now reading this post I’m not sure if I did the right thing anymore! I’m under age 18 and we’re not officially dating or anything.
    I of course can’t go back and change anything, but for the future, what would you have done?

    I love love loved this post! Thank you for such wise words!

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  • S

    Great article…I’m in a committed relationship and am wondering how to handle the “Do I pay or does he pay” when we eat at restaurants and such. Both of us are financially capable of either/or.

  • Ana Castro Yanez

    I am trying to gently nudge my brothers to be gentlemen. I try to praise them when they do kind things for me. If I encourage gentlemanly behavior then they will feel appreciated!

  • Schylie

    This is so true, and a great post! I’ve been wearing skirts regularly for the past several years. For the two years that I attended college, finishing last month, I always wore a skirt and blouse to classes as a habit. I was surprised and impressed by how many guys opened the door for me before going in themselves, or held the door open for me. I really do think it is due to how I dress and how I carry myself. I also say the same guys and others NOT open the door for other girls who were dressed…more casual and less feminine. Just throwing that out there… 🙂


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