Be Amiable

Welcome, welcome! It’s April 1, and that means today is the first day of the 2014 A to Z Blogging Challenge. Each day in April (excluding Sunday’s), I’ll be posting a lettered and themed blog. The theme for this year’s challenge is. . .

On Being a Modern Gentleman

The month of April will feature 26 guidelines to being a modern gentleman, in so far as it is possible. While these guidelines are based primarily on experience and opinion, I believe that should you follow them–you’ll better yourself and the lives of those around you. Do it.

Today’s posting: Be Amiable

Amiability is the first and most important characteristic of a true gentleman, whether he be a modern gentleman or belonging to an earlier period. Amiability; or being good-natured, friendly, and pleasant; is what separates the gentleman from the dandy.

In the following 25 days, I’ll be discussing many values or “rules” for being a modern gentleman that may seem anachronistic. Many of them are optional as I’m only expressing an opinion; however, being friendly isn’t an option. You may think that you can get by without being pleasant or friendly, and yes, maybe you can get by, but you won’t enjoy it and those around you won’t enjoy your presence. If you ask an individual to describe you (or any one for that matter), you will either be friendly or unfriendly. Oh, they didn’t say unfriendly? Well, of course, they may say that you are pessimistic, overly introverted, withdrawn, too serious, or some such, but what they really mean is that you are unfriendly. You are not amiable.

Friendliness has been a valued characteristic in humankind for centuries. Aristotle claimed in his Nicomachean Ethics that friendliness is a virtue, and he went so far as to say that eudaimonia, or human flourishing, would come to those able to form true friendships.

Consider popular culture or literature. The figures we often remember best are the charismatic and the amiable, even the antagonists. Why? Because, voiced or unvoiced, amiability is a characteristic we admire, find attractive, and (should) cultivate in ourselves.

How do you cultivate friendliness? You either are, or you aren’t? Right? Wrong. Friendliness is a habit, nothing more. Make a point today and throughout April to smile, wave, or even give a friendly nod to at least five people you might usually ignore. Rather than ignoring the fellow at the water-cooler, say hello, and ask him about his day. Passing a neighbor while entering your apartment? “Hey, how are you?” It needn’t be any more complicated than that. Eventually, greeting neighbors and coworkers, smiling at passersby, and being pleasant will be instinctual.


12 thoughts on “Be Amiable

  1. Hey! I’m doing the A To Z blog crawl, thought I’d stop by. I am glad I did! What a good topic! I am very interested in being a gentleman (which, I agree with you, is an ideal to which we can all aspire, regardless of gender); I try to practice the Gentlemanly Arts, though I’ve noticed something funny: there are some old men (I have never found this in a man under 70 or so, or in a woman or the variously other-gendered) who will not walk through a door a woman is holding open for them. This can get awkward; we stand there and stare at each other, at a hopeless impasse. They want to be holding the door for me, but I’ve already got it. What to do? I find that in these situations, a smile and a bow, and a doffing of the hat, is, if not exactly appreciated by the old man in question, at least satisfying to me.
    I will be following this thread with considerable interest.
    Melanie Atherton Allen

    • Thanks for stopping by, and I’m glad you enjoyed it! I’m not sure how to respond to such old men, though your response seems both respectable and tongue-in-cheek, which is the very best attitude for life in general.

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