Street Etiquette – How to Walk The Walk

| May 6, 2013 | 14 Comments


Street Etiquette

Great Honore de Balzac in one of his novels, depicts depreciation made by a wealthy flamboyant young man and his fancy horse. With his color, figure and attitude, the horse was so provocative that even the man’s girl thought that the horse was an attack on a good taste.

Today we rarely see a horse on the street, but this introduction is not about horses but the point is that we should not attract attention of others neither with attitude, nor with clothes or appearance. This should be the first and foremost rule when walking down the street in order to avoid the staring looks.

Although today in the modern world we try to break the rules of the ordinary, sometimes it is nice to follow the rules. Manners and etiquette are having it’s revival, believe it or not.

In this article we will bring you several nice rules on how to walk the street when in the company of someone, being it a woman or a man.

Some of the rules mentioned below are self-explanatory but we should mention them none the less.

  • While walking down the street you should walk on the right side.
  • No need to mention but if you have an umbrella with you, you should not swing with it. You never know who you might hit and hurt.
  • Do not throw cigarette buds or small paper on the pavement. Find a trash can.
  • If a woman accidentally drops something be a gentleman and pick it up for her.
  • Do not stare at people, some might find it intrusive.
  • Never call out loudly in public unless it is an absolute emergency.
  • Spiting is strictly forbidden.


Walking in the company of a woman

couple walking

Photo Credits @jasedewaldphoto

If you are walking down a street in the company of a woman or a man know that the right side is honorary side. You will let a woman walk on the right side of you or a man if he is a senior person. In this way we honor them.
This custom dates from the middle ages when knights wore the sword on the left side keeping the right side free, since the right arm was “fighting arm”.
In some Scandinavian countries they follow the opposite rule. A woman should walk on the left side, “the side of the heart”.

A woman should always walk on the “protected side”, it being left or right, if she is exposed to some unpleasantness. For example if the road is filled with water ponds she might get splashed from passing by cars. This is why you should walk on the outer side of the pavement, no matter if it’s left or right.

If you are entering a cab, and plan to sit on the back seat, apologize to the lady and enter first. In this case you will squeeze yourself through and let the lady enter easily after you. In this case you will spare her squeezing through the back seats to sit on the outer side. To avoid this situation you can open the doors for her, let her in, close them, and walk over to the other side and enter inside the cab.

When exiting a cab be the first one out and offer your hand to the woman with you.

When entering some premises men should enter first, since this premise are unknown territory. When leaving, open the door for the woman and let her out first.


The three of you

The order changes if there are three of you that walk the street. If there are two men walking the street with a woman, she should walk in the middle.
If you are the youngest person you should walk on the outer, unprotected side.
In the company of the two men, the most senior one walks in the middle.
If you are in the company of two ladies, you should walk in the middle, but only till the moment the the rain starts to fall. Then you should open your umbrella and hold it above them, even if you get wet.

As you can see these are not so complicated rules and they are easy to follow. Any woman with a sense for chivalry will appreciate it.
Photo credit: petertandlund / / CC BY-NC-ND

Filed in: Etiquette

14 Comments on "Street Etiquette – How to Walk The Walk"

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  1. SirVantes says:

    These are very good recommendations for a man’s role in moving around in public with a beloved lady.

    As mentioned, a man should walk on the side of greatest risk of harm or unpleasantness, protecting the lady with his body as needed.

    A Gentleman should always open the car door for a woman, holding her hand if needed for balance, as she sits. The reverse is also important, that the man should exit the vehicle, open the woman’s door and offer her a hand to step up as she desires.

    In my dealings with ladies/women, a chivalrous attitude and action has brought the greatest positive response.

    Keeping her from harm by walking on the street-side to protect her from muddy splashes and rogue drivers with your own body, ‘handing’ her into and out of a car as you two move about the world are all ways to build a shell of protection by you so she feels safe when she is with you.

    You may need to steer her away from the curb as you walk, you may need to hustle yer a$$ the first few times you open her door to hand her out of the car and you may have to ignore some dweebs calling you out as pussy-whipped when you know for certain everything is working in your favor and it is she that adores your attention and is eager to get more however she can.

    Women are not the weaker sex, they are the gentler sex. The sooner we Men find resonance with their feelings and what they appreciate from us, the sooner we all will be happier.

  2. Sadie says:

    I will do.
    Wisdom and Knowledge! :-)
    Thanks for this message.

  3. Waqas says:


  4. Karen says:

    Gallant is the Knight who pays homage to his Lady.

  5. Adrian says:

    Great information!

  6. Denis says:

    My question about walking with a woman is that I walk with a cane in my right hand. I cannot move the cane to my left, as it is used because of a physical disability.
    Should a woman walking with me be arm in arm, she will ONLY be able to walk that way on the left side. This could leave her at the edge of the sidewalk where cars could splash mud or water upon her. Were she to walk on my right, away from the danger of the road, then she would not be arm in arm with me. This would seen to be the more gallant way, but if she wants my arm then she must walk with danger on her left.
    This leaves me unsure of what to do.


    • Mar says:

      One thing is gallantry and another thing is health. Your own convenience comes first here. You won’t be able to be gallant or anything else if you feel uncomfortable or weak. The other part will perfectly accomodate. You can show your respect a thousand other ways!

  7. Kieren says:

    When you walk down the street, you should walk on the left hand side. As you point out, this keeps the right arm available to greet or to fight anyone coming towards you. It also avoids you walking close to the road with your back to traffic.

    However, with the break away from English rule, lots of nations did away with driving on on the left so perhaps everything should be flipped in those countries. To use a half / half approach is confusing as can bee seen in London’s tourist hotspots

  8. David Hall says:

    I have a question, two men walking together down a sidewalk who walks to the right? Or does it matter? Thank you.

  9. Ryan says:

    We say that both genders should be equal but men should still do things like open doors for women. How can you be expected to get the same wages if you cant even open doors? if you want to be equal with men then stop expecting stupid things like opening doors for them.

    • Pat says:

      Ryan, I personally take pride and pleasure in assisting my beautiful partner in any way I can. She, like many ladies these days, may not necessarily expect these practices, but I can assure you it is most always appreciated.

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