This list isn’t what you think it is.
We’re not telling you how to be a lady.
This isn’t the scene in Princess Diaries where Mia learns etiquette rules from the Queen.
It’s time to face the truth: There’s more important rules in life than which one is the salad fork.
In fact, maybe the most important rule is that there are none. Yep, even if you’re a lady. While some people and society at large may try to put women in a box, you don’t belong there. Nobody does. Maybe you came here looking for it, but it’s not what you need (not even you, Karen).
It’s time to stop learning how to be a good little lady and start learning how to be a good human being. Seriously, the world needs it more.
This post contains 35 lady rules for being a good person—regardless of your gender.
How To Be A Lady: 35 Unconventional Lady Rules for Every Gender
If you’re wondering how to be a lady or what “lady rules” everyone should know, we suggest you reframe your question. Being a woman, a human and being alive is about a whole lot more than that. It’s about things you’ll unlock with the following rules:
- You can be honest and nice at the same time. Say what you mean without being mean.
- Nobody requires you to be an asshole, so try not to be one.
- Listen completely when someone talks. Stop filling the time by thinking about your response.
- When someone gives you a compliment, say thanks instead of responding with the reasons why you don’t deserve it (you do!).
- Hold the door open for other people when you can.
- Say “no” when you’re really thinking, “I guess, but I really don’t want to.” You don’t need to do everything!
- Be curious about other people. Ask questions about them.
- Exercise empathy and compassion in all things: Conversations, issues, arguments, etc.
- Speak up when something is wrong, even if it affects someone else and not you.
- In an argument or looking at an issue? Try to see it from all perspectives.
- Be there for people in your life. It’s a two-way-street.
- Learn from your mistakes, even when you don’t think there’s a lesson there. It could come later on.
- When you’re spending time with someone, give them your attention instead of checking your phone.
- Don’t mistake kindness for doormat syndrome. Make it a lady rule to be kind yet assertive of your boundaries.
- Are words or actions ambiguous? Give people the most generous interpretation you can and seek to learn more before getting upset (this is a hard one!).
- Don’t buy into the black and white the world wants you to accept. The older you get, the more grey area you find (and it’s usually where the truth lies).
- Say the truth, even if your voice is shaking the entire time.
- Reschedule as soon as you cancel on a friend.
- Take time to cool off when you’re angry. And give others time to cool off when they’re angry, too.
- When you’re in an argument with someone, take pauses before speaking to make sure you’re choosing the right words. Draft texts before sending, editing a flaming-angry message into a lesser-angry one.
- Always donate the things you can before throwing them out.
- Set boundaries. If others can’t accept them, they’re probably worth losing anyway.
- Say please and thank you. (I said there wouldn’t be etiquette rules, but this is an exception.)
- Always pick up your dog’s poop on walks.
- Plan to be 10-15 minutes early instead of on time.
- Realize that everyone is going through something you never have, so be kind.
- Stop being so judgy. Not smoking crack doesn’t make you better than the person who does. Really, it doesn’t.
- If you drive, let in cars when they want to merge. If you take transit, give up your seat for pregnant, disabled or elderly people.
- Give yourself time away from social media and your phone or laptop in general.
- If you squat and pee or somehow accidently pee on a public seat, wipe it up.
- Treat the CEO the same as the person who sweeps the CEO’s floors. Nobody likes a Karen.
- Cut ties when someone’s actions don’t match their words or if they’re not treating you well.
- Think before making promises. Can you really keep it?
- Make it a lady rule to do right thing, even if everyone else is doing the wrong thing.
- If someone tells you to act more like a lady, send them this song.
Summary on Lady Rules + How To Be a Lady
If you came to this page, you may have been expecting to learn about etiquette rules. You didn’t find it. You didn’t learn how to be a lady in the patriarchal sense. But trust me, you’ve left with something a whole lot greater: How to be a tiny bit better of a human 🙂