7 habits of classy people that leave a lasting impression, according to psychology

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I have a friend – let’s call her Rebecca – who’s incredibly classy.

And by “classy”, I mean that she is so wonderfully self-assured, elegant, and self-collected that you can’t help but think to yourself, “Wow! I wish I was like her.”

The best thing about Rebecca is that wishes of this kind don’t come from a place of envy but rather inspiration because she doesn’t act like she’s better than others in any way. 

On the contrary, she loves to share tips and tricks, recommend products she loves, and take a genuine interest in other people’s lives.

To sum it up, she’s awesome.

But what is it about her that makes her leave such a lasting impression? What makes her so very classy?

Let’s find out.

Here are the 7 habits people like Rebecca have in common.

1) Their language reflects their inner confidence

The words you use and the tone with which you speak say more about you than you might think.

If your speech is full of filler words, if you nervously blabber, or if you keep staggering over a dozen umms and ehs, you’re not going to come across as exactly confident.

The first thing I noticed about Rebecca when I first met her was just how self-assured she sounded when she spoke, both due to her tone and her eloquence.

She avoided words such as “like” and “dunno”.

Instead, she meant every word she said, taking great care to express herself accurately.

This made her come across as someone who knew what was what, which left a lasting impression on me and made me gravitate toward her quiet confidence.

Susan Biali Haas M.D., expert on mental health and wellbeing, explains how important it is to pay attention to one’s language if you want to appear classy and confident.

She says it’s crucial to speak clearly and avoid “umms” as well as meaningless chatter.

When you throw all these out of your vocabulary, you’ll clear up your speech and sound much more self-assured.

2) They listen with intention and empathy

It may sound strange, but at its core, classiness isn’t as much about how you present yourself.

In fact, a huge part of it has everything to do with the way you make others feel.

When you think of someone classy, you probably also consider them to be highly charismatic.

And charisma isn’t just about the way someone carries themselves – it’s also connected to how skilled they are at social interactions.

A classy person who leaves a lasting impression does so because when the conversation is over, you walk away feeling seen, happy, and inspired.

It is precisely the feelings that the other person has ignited in you that stay with you for days and weeks.  

So, how do they do it?

It all comes down to active listening:

  • Their facial expressions and body language show that they’re paying attention
  • They ask follow-up questions
  • They chime in with their own opinions when relevant
  • They always seek to understand the person they’re talking to
  • They are open-minded and accepting of other people’s differences

What’s more, they also show high sensitivity to nuance and the ability to contextualize information, which means they come across as wise and knowledgeable.

3) They are in control of their feelings, not the other way around

Ever heard of the term emotional self-regulation?

According to psychologists, it’s one of the five defining traits of emotional intelligence.

It’s also one of the classiest traits one could ever possess.

The reason is pretty simple: when you can regulate your emotions (that is, accept them as they come and find socially acceptable and healthy ways to express them), you’re going to be able to keep your cool in challenging situations.

And the ability to stay in control even when everything’s falling apart is extremely classy because it signals you’re confident enough to keep your wits about you.

Imagine a person who has to join a long queue and almost has a meltdown because they can’t keep their frustration in check.

That image is as far from classy as they come, right?

Point made.

4) They dress in a way that reflects their authentic self

When you imagine a classy man, you might picture him in a suit.

As for a classy woman, she’s probably wearing a trench coat or an elegant dress, her hair just so and her makeup all done.

But the truth is much more complicated.

Rebecca, for instance, doesn’t necessarily dress in an elegant manner.

Sometimes, she puts on knitted cardigans; other times, she wears a street-styled outfit.

It ultimately isn’t her clothes that make her classy. It’s the way she carries herself whilst wearing them.

It’s how she slips into them like into her second skin no matter the style.

It’s that each and every outfit makes her feel comfortable and reflects some authentic part of her.

Look, I’m not going to sit here and tell you that a man in a suit isn’t ultimately classier in the typical sense than someone in a sports jacket.

But if you put a confident man in hiking trousers next to an insecure man in office wear, you’ll soon find that the first acts more charismatic than the latter simply because he feels great in his own skin – no matter what’s on top of it.

5) They are punctual and reliable

Arriving on time and keeping your word sounds like not that much of a big deal, but the truth is that many people can’t fulfil their promises, let alone be punctual.

But that’s where classy people shine.

Remember when we spoke about the importance of making others feel heard and inspired?

Well, you won’t get very far if you arrive fifteen minutes late and then forget to bring the notes you promised you’d complete.

Being a let-down isn’t very inspiring, let alone classy.

Not to mention it portrays you in a very negative light, and if you do it multiple times, it gives you a pretty bad rep. As Alex Lickerman M.D. says, “Building a good reputation requires effort, patience, and time. Destroying a good reputation only requires a single moment’s misstep.”

Don’t let such a simple thing as punctuality destroy what you’ve worked hard to build.

Don’t be late, show others you respect their time, and be a (wo)man of your word.

Tick, tick, tick.

Just like that, a new level of classiness has been unlocked.

6) They respect themselves as well as other people

You’ve probably already figured out that classiness has a lot to do with self-respect.

After all, this is also why classy people leave such a lasting impression on us – they show us that it’s possible to love and respect oneself, set clear boundaries, and prioritize one’s own wellbeing.

But self-respect often has another amazing benefit, and that’s the fact that people who hold themselves in high esteem and are emotionally mature also tend to extend that same sentiment to others.

If you set certain boundaries, they’ll respect them. If you don’t want to do something, they won’t push you.

And that’s another reason why classy people are so charismatic – they make us feel safe.

7) They seem to have it all figured out

If there’s one thing all classy people have in common, it’s that they act like they’ve got their sh*t together.

Just look at Rebecca.

She’s always prepared.

If she wants to do something new, she researches the hell out of it, be it the ins and outs of getting a credit card, buying a new car, or finding the right shade of lipstick.

And that’s basically the whole secret. Classy people don’t have it all figured out.

Oftentimes, they’re just as confused as the rest of us.

But they prepare. They organize. They manage their time.

And when it comes time to shine, they know what to do because they’ve put in the effort to feel ready.

From wearing perfectly synchronized outfits that express their authentic selves to smashing it at work, classy people genuinely care.

They put in the work.

And in the end, that’s what’s most inspiring about them.

That’s what leaves a lasting impression: their willingness to always go the extra mile.

Ava Sinclair

Ava Sinclair is a former competitive athlete who transitioned into the world of wellness and mindfulness. Her journey through the highs and lows of competitive sports has given her a unique perspective on resilience and mental toughness. Ava’s writing reflects her belief in the power of small, daily habits to create lasting change.

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