Many of us pick up behaviors that lessen the positive impression we make on others.
Some of these behaviors are learned by society, some come from our parents and peers, or from ideas of what’s normal or desirable that are in our own head.
You may not be aware of many of these habits and norms, but becoming aware can help you reduce them and replace them with classier habits.
Let’s dive in.
Blowing your nose or inhaling sharply to clear your nose are both behaviors which are extremely common.
When you feel congested or have a runny nose you have to do something.
That’s when I recommend discreetly ducking into a corner or a nearby bathroom and blowing your nose into a tissue and discarding it.
If that’s not an option, a subtle inhalation can stop unpleasantness at that moment.
In general, avoid clearing your nose in public. It’s easy to reduce how much you do it or stop completely and you’ll give a much better impression.
2) Eating with your mouth open
This is a bad habit I’ve worked to reduce over the years.
When you eat with your mouth open it can become a habit like second nature and you don’t even think anything of it.
But for other people it can come across as rude or make you look like you lack manners and class.
This is just a matter of eating consciously (and also refraining from slurping drinks).
Even if you’re really hungry, make an effort to savor each bite and enjoy it.
Cut your meat, spear moderate forkfuls or spoonfuls that won’t overload your mouth, and exercise self-discipline!
The food will be even more satisfying anyway.
3) Smacking chewing gum
Chewing gum can be done in a respectful and relaxed way.
But if you tend to smack it and blow bubbles it can make you seem less sophisticated and even a bit rude.
If you like to chew gum, try to do so in a discreet way that doesn’t make loud noises or pop in the middle of quiet rooms or in public.
Feel free to enjoy gum, just avoid obtrusive sights or sounds that could bother people from it, and make sure to throw it away in a wrapper after you’re done, not on the sidewalk or stuck to the underside of a table or bus bench.
4) Scrolling addiction
We’ve all been there:
We’re out on a date or talking to a colleague in a business meeting and they look up briefly from scrolling on their phone.
We think we have their attention and continue only to realize they’re right back in phone-land.
This kind of scrolling addiction is easy to fall into, especially with so many updates coming in all the time and interesting news and social media feeds.
But by giving people your undivided attention you immediately set yourself apart.
You show that you are mature and respectful enough to focus on somebody who’s talking to you and that you have the self-discipline to stop scrolling for a minute.
It’s not always easy to know what to say when you’re speaking to someone.
That’s where “uh” comes in.
You may have your own version of uh. It could be “um,” “err,” “like,” “ehh,” or “meh.”
But whatever word you use as a gap-filler or delay while you think what to say can make you come across as tacky and unsophisticated.
Do your best to catch yourself (or get a friend to catch you) when you say “uh” or the equivalent.
Reduce how much you do this and you’ll immediately come across in a classier way.
Body language speaks volumes.
It determines so much about your presence and the impression you make when you walk in a room.
If you tend to slouch and walk or stand in a hunched over position, it makes you come across as low-energy and defeated.
People may perceive you as lacking self-worth or even being untrustworthy in some way.
Practicing a more upright posture immediately makes you come across as a classier and more confident person.
Reduce how much you slouch and you’ll find that your body and mind both feel better and stronger.
7) Excessive ribbing
Joking is great, and everybody appreciates a person who can lighten things up.
But if you find that you are constantly joking and poking fun at things, it’s a good idea to tone it down a little.
Being too much of a jokester can make people feel a little drained as they feel like you’re seeking attention or wanting them to laugh all the time.
Just as being too serious can make folks feel awkward around you or like they can’t get through to you, being too joke-y can make people feel like they have to laugh all the time and pay attention to you.
8) Temper tantrums
If only adults didn’t throw temper tantrums this point wouldn’t be necessary.
But sometimes we do, at least I know I do.
It’s embarrassing to admit, but it’s true.
If you have situations that aggravate you where you find that you just get very pouty or angry and become snappy with people, try to practice patience.
By calming yourself down you can make sure you give a much calmer impression and de-escalate stressful times.
“What are examples of bad behavior? Pouting, withdrawal, belligerence, and passive-aggressive behaviors are all examples of an adult temper tantrum.”
9) Being holier-than-thou
Another habit that can come across as very frustrating to people is being holier-than-thou.
This can also manifest as the need to always be right and to force through your opinion when others are talking.
This behavior is easier to reduce by trying to listen more than you talk.
Sometimes it’s OK to just chill and let other people have their say.
Sometimes it’s even OK to know you’re correct but not fight about it once you’ve already mentioned it.
Let it go.
10) Manipulative language
Using language in a manipulative way is another behavior that can be easily dropped and improve your presence.
When you speak in a way that tries too hard to get attention, or try to guilt people or make them give you your way, it can leave a bad taste in their mouth.
Pay attention to what you’re saying and how you say it, to try your best to speak in an authentic and direct way.
11) Attention-seeking accessories
Wearing extremely glitzy jewelry, watches, handbags, sunglasses or clothing can also be a behavior that gets you noticed in all the wrong ways.
There’s a reason that the term nouveau riche has negative connotations.
It’s OK to want to look your best, in fact I heartily agree with it.
But choosing the most garish shirt imaginable with a giant gold Gucci broach and scarlet red riding boots may make some people feel you’re a bit of a try-hard.
Keep it simple
By reducing and stopping the habits above, you’ll be much more well received by others.
This ultimately isn’t about proving anything to other people or appearing a certain way, however.
It’s about your relationship with yourself and keeping it solid and full of integrity.
Elegance is all about simplicity.
The classiest people I know are also the simplest. They dress for comfort, not just style, and they behave in a way that respects themselves and others.