I was recently interviewed on a BBC radio program hosted by popular host Graham Torrington, dealing with the issue of chivalry and whether it's dead. Graham mentioned that if he holds the door for a woman and she doesn't acknowledge the gesture he will sometimes call after her and say something to the effect of "the word you're looking for is 'thank you.' "
I understand the sentiment and at times have felt a tinge of resentment myself for a chivalrous act not being acknowledged. Yet I realize that if I am doing chivalry only for the acknowledgement I am losing some of the value of it. A gesture or gift of any kind is at its most value if it's offered without any expectation of receiving something in return. It builds me up on the inside, giving me a boost in confidence and self-esteem. I've held that chivalry isn't meant to be a pick-up technique and that it can't be offered just to try and get a date or to make a sexual encounter more likely. That would make the whole thing smarmy. So taking it a step further, it also doesn't come with a requirement that a woman say thank you.
Yet I would proffer that it doesn't help the man to respond with a snarky comment or to carry the resentment with him. That seething feeling only eats away at the man and will likely have no effect on the woman. If after such a remark she does then respond with the thanks, the man doesn't know if it's sincere or done out of guilt or for the purpose of avoiding further confrontation. So the thanks isn't all that meaningful. And if she doesn't respond with thanks, it likely increases the man's frustration, further ruining his day. How can that be to his benefit? Smug satisfaction of having somehow "won" by shaming the woman into offering thanks will have robbed his action of its nobility.
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John Rasiej is a Chivalry and Relationship Expert who founded Bring Chivalry Back™ for the purpose of enhancing the quality and enjoyment of relationships by men and women. He rediscovered the value of chivalry several years ago and has been practicing it both in his marriage of 23 years as well as when he's been among groups made up largely of women. Chivalry and similar gestures resulted in a more satisfying marital relationship and life, and also helped him stand out to many women in those group.He now shares the value of chivalry with more men and couples so they too can have happier results. You can follow him and get a special report how to deepen relationships and attract a woman's admiration at BringChivalryBack.com. You can follow him on twitter at @YesToChivalry.