18 Misguided Acts of Chivalry That Annoy Women More Than Anything

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Some people say that chivalry is dead. And while some are glad to hear it, other people long for the days when women were held in high esteem and provided niceties. Chivalrous acts are meant to be polite and show respect. Unfortunately, sometimes no good deed goes unpunished. Not all women appreciate acts of chivalry. Some even go so far as to say they find them annoying or patronizing. If you are still in the chivalry frame of mind, you might want to consider curtailing these acts going forward. 

What is the Definition of Chivalry?

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Before talking about chivalrous acts and what women do and don’t want, it is important to define it. Historically, chivalry was reserved for knights, horsemen, and noblemen. It meant the combination of qualities that are expected from those people who have upstanding positions in a community. Modern-day, chivalrous acts are those meant to be an honorable and polite way of showing courtesy and attention to women.

Picking Up the Check For Everything

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It used to be commonplace that a man would pick up the check for everything. The reason is that women, historically, were reliant upon men for their income and financial status. It was a necessity in the past, which has now become a nicety. The problem is that nice is nice, until it isn’t. Some women consider a man picking up the check a negation of their ability to be self-sufficient. For some, it comes across as not respecting the place where women have fought hard to get themselves financially.

Walking Her Home or to Her Car Without Permission

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The chivalrous act of walking a woman to her home or car dates back to a time when women could not go anywhere unescorted. The roots of it tie to a time when women had to be escorted everywhere. They couldn't walk solo not due to their safety, but because they were seen as objects to be protected. Offering to walk a girl home in a dangerous area or after dark is a nice gesture. If, however, it is not an offer, then it can come across as creepy or even infringement. You have to walk a fine line to balance respect for someone’s wishes and offering care and concern.

Ordering Her Meal

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In previous generations, it was traditional for a man to do the ordering for both him and the female at the table. Then, ordering etiquette dictated that the waiter would first take a woman's order, and then the man's. If you want to order for a woman, it is a good idea to let her have the choice to order first. When she hands the microphone over to you, then you can take the liberty of ordering for her. If she isn’t sure what to order and lets you decide, that is a different story.


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It is nice in the age of mobile phones and rapid communication to let the woman in your sight know that you are thinking of her. If, however, you are doing random and constant “check-ins” to see how she is doing throughout the day, that can become intrusive. There is a fine line to walk about when you are being protective and concerned, versus when you are coming across as controlling. If you are blowing up her phone because you don’t trust where she is, that isn’t a chivalrous act, that is stalking. 

Doing the Heavy Lifting

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On the whole, women are absolutely equal to men, but individually, that doesn’t mean that women are all as strong as men. As much as it is appreciated when you see a woman struggle to step in and help with heavy lifting, if you aren’t asked, then it might not come across as helpful. Constantly hopping in front of a girl to move things around, comes across as you think they are too weak to do for themselves. Sometimes it is best to stand back and wait to see signs of struggle before rushing in to take over. 

Being the Driver

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Thank goodness the acceptability of assuming that women are terrible drivers is no longer a thing. Some traditions, however, do die hard. There is still the stigma that when in a car, the man should take the wheel. The problem is that women don’t always like to be a captive in the car. They are completely capable and able to drive themselves, and even able to drive the man sitting next to them. Some women see not being in the driver’s seat as a sign of dominance and don’t like the loss of control. If that is the case, be chivalrous enough to hand over the keys and ride shotgun.

Giving Unsolicited Advice

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When it comes to differences in the way men and women communicate, science tells us that women tend to speak with more emotion, while men are more task-oriented. In saying that, that doesn’t mean that women are always looking for a man’s advice when they involve a man. Sometimes women are just looking to vent and go through their thought process by asking a man to be a sounding board. Sounding boards, however, do not talk, interrupt, or offer unsolicited advice. Respecting when someone would like your opinion, and when they are just fine with their own, is an important thing to take into consideration instead of thinking you are being chivalrous. 

Social Media Blockading

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Although maybe not in the exact category of being chivalrous, perhaps more protective, shielding a woman’s social media activity and account is not something that is always seen as protective. In some instances, looking at what she is doing or monitoring her social media activity is really about trust and control. If she has a problem that she needs your protection or help with, she will ask. As with most of the acts women don’t think are chivalrous, when they need help; they will ask.

Speaking For Her

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Women traditionally have fought to have a voice and for that voice to be heard. When you speak for her, whether that is public speaking or just casually answering questions that were asked to her, that is condescending. It isn’t about who can talk loudest, it is about what is being said. It is about having an opinion and being able to express it. Most women do not only not need you to talk for them; they would prefer if you didn’t. 

Constant Compliments

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Compliments are sometimes not easy to accept, and especially not when they come continually. When you compliment a woman out of the blue, it usually boosts their self-esteem and makes them feel good. When you do it continually, it comes across as insincere and disingenuous. Compliments are meant to make the recipient feel good, or at least they should be. If a man is using them to get something, such as attention from a woman, then they are a manipulation tool and recognized as such. If you are going to compliment, be authentic and make it be for her well-being not your own.


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Jealousy is a way that people express how much you mean to them and is okay and healthy in small doses. When jealousy, however, is threatening, aggressive, or accusatory, it is no longer about showing concern and care; it is controlling and fear provoking. Women have the freedom to talk to whoever they choose regardless of the relationships they are in. Unless they have given you a reason not to trust them, you should do so. And if they have given you a reason not to, control and suppressing other relationships is not the answer; walking away is. 

Grand Acts 

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Not all women dream of a day when Prince Charming arrives to whisk them away from their surroundings. Although grand acts or gestures can be exciting and amazing, if given too frequently, they lose their luster and become just “acts.” Women sometimes would rather have love and support daily than a huge splash of attention. When you plan a grand act, you should stop to ask yourself whether you are doing it for the recognition and power that it will gain you or are you doing it to make her feel good. There is a difference.

Chivalry is Not the Same as Dominance and Control

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There is a fine line to walk between being chivalrous and being dominant, controlling, or possessive. Women, like all humans, like to feel valued, loved, and cared for. What they do not want is to feel manipulated, controlled, or not heard. Before you do act in a way that you think is protective and shows your concern, it is a good idea to step back and ask yourself how it might come across to the person you are doing it for. Once more, ask yourself why you are doing it and what you intend to gain from it. 

Chivalry is supposed to be something that men do that shows their respect for women, not their acknowledgment that women are somehow inferior or a possession to have. It isn’t that women don’t like help and support; it is all in the way that men go about doing it. 

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