Your handbook to an honorable life.

Manners, etiquette, and common courtesy. Three things that go a long way in building relationships in all areas of life — yet, seem to be fading from “civilized” society.

Below, we’ll discuss points of etiquette relevant to various areas of everyday life.

1: Giving up your seat.

Whether on a bus or on a crowded subway, giving up your seat to another is a rare but genuine sign of respect. When I used to take public transportation to an office in the city, I’d cringe every time a young, strapping man was so distracted by his phone that he never noticed the people around him who could’ve used his seat.

Call me old fashioned, but I believe that an elderly person, a pregnant woman, someone with a ton of bags, or simply a weary traveler should be given consideration over a person who simply does not feel like standing up.

It all comes down to being aware of your surroundings and acting accordingly — something sorely lacking in a perpetually distracted society.

2: Walking on the street side of the sidewalk.

The purpose of this lost art is to show your willingness to be splashed instead of the woman you’re with, should a passing car run through a puddle. In the olden days, in some countries people would throw trash out of their windows, and the person walking closer to the building, was less likely to be hit.

This is a small but important way to show that you care.

3: Understand etiquette of when to lead and when to follow.

Proper etiquette dictates that in situations such as being seated by a host/hostess at a restaurant, theater, or places of the like — the woman is to lead. In more crowded places that may require a push or two to get through a crowd, the man is to lead the woman.

Furthermore, she is to lead walking up stairs, and he is to lead going down stairs. Both are to ensure your ability to catch her if she slips.

These may seem like small details, but in a world where etiquette is often brushed aside, those who pay attention to the details are those who stand out from the crowd.

4: Actually take the time to plan a date.

One of the most common complaints I hear from women is that men expect a casual text invitation to ‘hang out’ to pass as a date, and to send the same message. It most definitely does not — the effort you put into planning a date sends a woman the message of how much you are [or aren’t] truly interested in her.

In the age of technology, you are likely texting or chatting for awhile before you actually see each other. Use this time to discover some of her interests and plan something accordingly. In an age of apathy, your efforts will be well received.

5: Dress appropriately.

The way you dress not only speaks to the respect you have for yourself, but also for the respect you have for the people you are dressing to be around.

The more effort you put into how you look, the more it shows you value how the other person is going to perceive you and act towards you in return.

6: Pay the bill.

All of it.

7: Stand up from the table when your date leaves or arrives.

You may be saying to yourself:

Correct. That’s exactly the point.

8: Good morning texts.

A good morning text first thing doesn’t just say “good morning” — it says “you’re the first person I thought of when I woke up today.”

Small romantic acts aren’t just for the “honeymoon phase” of your relationship. Consistency over time is key. It builds trust and lets her know that you’re serious about showing up for a real commitment.

Hint: This includes goodnight texts, too. No matter how busy your day has been, there are always 30 seconds to send a text before you go to sleep.

9: Listen.

In a healthy relationship, each partner relies on the other for love, guidance, and advice. Sometimes, just taking the time to genuinely listen to what she has to say, and not saying anything at all — will say more to her than your words ever could.

If a woman is complaining to you, remember that it means she trusts you enough to express her feelings to you. Don’t betray that trust.

10: Continue working on yourself.

Some men have a tendency to dive head first into relationships and think that the most effective way to keep a woman’s attention is to give her all of theirs.

The problem with this approach is that it often leads to loss of identity on the man’s part. He gives up passions, social time with friends, focus on his health and wellness — all for the sake of someone who wants him to maintain those very things.

You see, part of being an attractive, well-rounded man, is making sure that you stay healthy, fit, active, and focused on your own passions and desires.

These are some of the very things that drew her to you in the first place — so how do you think she’ll feel if they no longer exist?

11: Keep your phone away in social situations.

We have become so accustomed to constantly being attached to our phones that it’s easy to forget what an unnatural extension of ourselves it actually is.

It takes away our attention, focus, and ability to be present.

Whether on a date, in a meeting, or spending time with friends — keeping your phone in your pocket rather than laid out on the table in front of you is a way to express that you’re willing to prioritize the humans in your immediate presence, rather than the ones on the other side of a screen.

12: Stay well-informed.

I’m not just talking about reading Facebook memes.

Staying up to date on real current events and important world issues makes someone interesting. It empowers you to be around a wide variety of people and hold a meaningful conversation when present.

13: Hold the door.

What gender or species is the living being following behind you? Matter, it does not.

Hold the door for the woman, man, child, alien, dog, gerbil, or horse walking behind you.

This common courtesy isn’t dependent on whoyou’re holding it for, it’s dependent on who youchoose to be.

14: Never show up empty handed.

“Don’t bring anything, I’ve got it covered!” should never actually be listened to.

Whether attending a party, social gathering, or family event, a gentleman never shows up empty handed.

When in doubt, a simple bouquet of flowers or a bottle of wine will always do.

15: Always be punctual.

I remember a teacher of mine once saying:

Keeping someone waiting is poor etiquette, and shows that you do not value their time or that you weren’t willing to plan far enough ahead in order to ensure punctuality.

16: Please and thank you.

It perturbs me that this point even needs to be written — but it does.

I cannot tell you how often I hear someone order a meal, or a coffee, or a drink, and not use simply manners like saying please and thank you.

Perhaps we’ve grown more entitled as a society, or less respectful of those in the service industry. We simply expect to be given or handed things and feel less appreciation for it than once before. Maybe we have too many luxuries and have grown numb to just how special each of them are.

Showing gratitude and thanks to those who make our lives easier — or simply those we love and appreciate — makes them feel valued and recognized.

These are small words that require a small amount of effort to use, but at the end of the day, they can make all the difference in the world.

While these 15 points provide a starting place, etiquette is not a checklist, it is a way of life. Being polite, treating each other well, and living with honor and dignity is something that ensures healthy relationships, respect, and connection to, and from others

Joseph A. Cornacchia