On being a gentleman, and being a lady.txt

I’ve asked a fair number of people over the past year what it means to be a gentleman, or what it means to be a lady. I compiled the better answers into a text file, and I think it’s time I posted it on the internet.

Let me know if you have any thoughts on this…

-Jeff Widman


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These are most of the better responses I’ve heard in response to the two questions (generally posed to the opposite gender):
When answering these questions, it’s easier if you think in your head of a person or two who comes to mind when you think of a gentleman or a lady, and then analyze why they seem to be a gentleman or a lady.
What does the Bible say about these things?

What does it mean to be a gentleman?
A gentleman is a man–strong and a leader. Yet also gentle.
Strong hands–strength and hard-worker
Strong-willed–sticking to decisions, and not wavering, though teachable
Terry Smith once told me that he’d interacted with over a thousand men over the course of his business career, yet had met less then ten men who were truly “gentle”-“men.”
July H (and several others since then)–“A gentleman is someone who respects my space.” (This seems to refer to both emotional and physical space.)
Allison K–“A gentleman is adventurous in a dangerous way.” (Seems reminiscent of CS Lewis’s description of Aslan: “He’s not a tame lion.”)
Many–A gentleman is aware of things to notice when to open the door, and other little things that show he cares.
Many girls–A gentleman is compassionate–truly caring about girls, but also about other men. He opens the door not to bring attention to himself as a gentleman, but because he truly cares enough to show respect.
Brittany P–“A gentleman not only helps a lady out, he also subltly communicates the he respects her ability to do things (she’s not helpless) even as he helps her out by holding open the door.”
Girls consistently reference the attitude behind as one of respect, and not so much the actual gestures, as simply the underlying attitude. Often a distinction is made between gentlemanly gestures, and a true gentleman.
Corrie M–A gentleman listens when a lady wishes to talk.
Corrie M–A gentleman is teachable.
Andrew N–A gentleman has deep humility.

What does it mean to be a lady?
Jeff Widman–A lady graciously allows herself to be helped, without being helpless. Not defensive about her power.
Proverbs 31:30–Charm is deceitful and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Michelle Widman–A lady is self-controlled to avoid any attempts to manipulate men and get their attention.
Elizabeth Elliot–A lady does not pursue men; she holds them at arm’s length.
Ruth in the Bible–made herself available, without necessarily pursuing
Jeff Widman–A lady respects my space, both physically (the crudest form of violation) but also emotionally.
Many–A lady has a sense of refined elegance, not weakness, but not manly power either–a delicacy in some ways.
Many–A lady is very hospitable.
Andrew Nelson–Modesty is really important for a lady; a modesty that understands beauty.

Also read...


  1. What is a gentleman?
    A Faithful man, who can find? -Proverbs
    A gentleman is one who is faithful to the Bible, God's Word, Prayer, Listening to the Holy Spirit. Just as Scripture says "Who can find a virtuous woman", it also says "A faithful man, who can find" . Unfortunately, neither are a piece of cake to find, in fact they are HARD to find!


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