10 habits that separate classy people from tacky people

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The line between tacky and classy might seem a bit hard to spot sometimes.

But if you look closely at the way people act, it becomes a bit easier to discern.

To make it easier for you, I will give you 10 habits that separate classy people from tacky people.

1) Classy people don’t toot their own horn

One easy way you can figure out if someone’s tacky is to listen to how they speak about themselves.

Tacky people like to toot their own horn—they would always post about how #blessed they are, and find ways to make their accomplishments the main topic of the night.

Classy people don’t see the need to do this. In fact, they see this kind of self-praise distasteful and crass.

Sure, they will still share when they’re truly happy about something, but the big difference here is that classy people are confident in themselves. And so, when they do share their joys and accomplishments, it’s because they want to share their joy with the people they love.

This is in sharp contrast with tacky people, who do those things to WOW people and “earn” their validation.

2) They don’t try to one-up others

Stealing the spotlight is something they would consider trashy and in poor taste—tacky, in other words.

Rest assured that a classy person won’t outshine the bride when invited to a wedding. If someone does this, she’s not at all classy even if she wears a $4,000 dress.

And unlike tacky people, truly classy people don’t say things like “Think that’s bad? I have it worse!” or “That’s cool, but I did something even better.”

Sure, they might have had it worse, or had done better, but a classy person sees no point in destroying someone else’s joy or invalidating their struggles.

Instead, they would offer their congratulations or condolences. They understand that it’s not their time to shine.

3) Classy people are real

You might think classy people are fakes, but the truly classy ones are anything but.

They don’t post pictures of themselves standing in a famous place pretending it’s not biggie when it actually is. They don’t filter their true feelings just to impress anyone.

They also don’t rant about how “ugly” they are when they know they actually look like a world-class superstar.

Some people understand well enough that humility is part of class, but just can’t let go of their ego so they play coy and humble-brag. Truly classy people don’t do this.

It doesn’t matter if they have gone somewhere famous, met a celebrity, ate a million-dollar meal or won the lottery—they’ll be upfront and honest about it.

4) They know better than to be petty

You know about those people who would talk about how everyone who hates them are just “jealous” and “miserable”, or always find ways to talk about how bad or shallow their exes were?

Yeah, those people are tacky as all hell.

It’s petty, in poor taste, and while they might feel like they’re a winner, everyone else will simply think that they’re being a clown.

Classy people know better than to act that petty, or to be so obsessed that they make it their whole personality to put others down just so that they can look better.

They do their best not to get sucked into pointless beefing with others. And if they do, they try not to make a public fuss about it.

It’s their own problem after all, so why make it everyone else’s problem? Why should they care?

5) They don’t try hard to be “classy”

So here’s the thing with classy people: They don’t try hard to look high-brow.

They don’t dine exclusively in 5-star restaurants or wear only branded clothing just to feel classy.

Sure, they’d not say NO to those things, but they’re also perfectly happy blending in with the crowd and looking “normal.”

If they don’t need to bring their car or bust out their fancy clothes, then they’ll be perfectly happy riding the train and wearing cheap cotton.

Tacky people, on the other hand, try way too hard to look “classy” or high-brow.

They would try to always eat at 5-star restaurants, tout their branded clothing, or brag about their expensive cars even if they’re struggling to keep up.

Class is one of those things where if you have to prove (somehow) that you’re classy, then you’re most assuredly not.

Tacky people misunderstand class, and in trying to imitate it, end up making themselves look downright trashy.

6) They don’t monopolize the conversation

Something that classy people find crass and tacky is when someone completely monopolizes the conversation.

I’m sure you have probably met someone like this before. These are the people who always find a way to get the last word in, or bring the conversation back to them.

You would be talking about how you managed to jog a kilometer for the first time, and they’d start talking like they’re your personal fitness guru.

You could say that tacky people speak at you or over you, not with you. They also keep yapping!

Classy people instead prefer to listen and only pitch in when they have something to add to the conversation.

They are good conversationalists because they actually spend time listening to you and give you the room to express yourself.

7) They mind their manners

And that also means adapting to whatever is “proper” where they are, even if it might be seen as crass elsewhere.

There are places where the proper way to eat is with your hands, like in India, for example.

Classy people have no issues adapting and using their hands, while tacky people would be too obsessed with appearances and instead insist on a spoon and a fork.

Wherever you might take them, a classy person always tries to mind their manners and will do their best not to embarrass you.

If you ever have a “high-brow” friend you’re afraid of taking with you because of how stiff and inflexible they are, you can rest assured that they’re not as classy as you think they are.

8) They care about how others feel

There are a lot of people out there who think that they need to make fun of someone’s sex, age, weight, race, or looks just because they can.

You’ll probably have heard them even—it’s hard not to come across at least one in your life.

This is what classy people loathe!

They find this sort of trait tacky and incredibly crude. When they hear someone say something offensive—even as a joke—they stay away or defend the person they’re insulting.

This doesn’t mean that they’re just righteous or unfunny killjoys, of course. It’s just that they believe that no one should feel bad.

They simply care a lot about how others feel, and think it’s very bad taste to bring others down just for the sake of a few cheap laughs or an easy conversation.

9) They don’t judge others

There are over 8 billion people on this planet, and we all grow up in very different circumstances.

This can often mean that we won’t always understand other people—their life experiences are just too alien for us to judge or relate to.

What separates the crass, tacky people from the genuinely classy is that classy people do their best not to judge others.

It doesn’t matter if they can’t “understand” or make sense of someone—they’ll try to offer understanding anyway.

The tacky, on the other hand, instantly judge what they don’t understand.

10) They don’t demand respect

That is to say, they don’t do stuff like “Don’t you know who I am?” or “You don’t know who you’re messing with!”

They don’t try lording their age, rank, fame, or even qualifications over other people in order to demand respect.

Sure, they might bring up that they’re a scientist or a fashion expert if it’s relevant to the conversation, but they aren’t going to use it to shut people up.

Respect, to them, is something that is not demanded but earned. And respect they will earn just by being a good person.

Last words

It’s actually not that hard to become classy.

Try to focus on becoming a good person overall, and you’ll instantly have class. Then, once you’ve got that covered, you may add the clothes, the gestures, the make-up, and the wit if you like.

The problem with tacky people is that they skip the important part, and go straight to the superficial. Don’t be one of them.

Be a classy person inside first, and the rest will follow.

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Justin Brown

Justin Brown is an entrepreneur and thought leader in personal development and digital media, with a foundation in education from The London School of Economics and The Australian National University. As the co-founder of Ideapod, The Vessel, and a director at Brown Brothers Media, Justin has spearheaded platforms that significantly contribute to personal and collective growth. His deep insights are shared on his YouTube channel, JustinBrownVids, offering a rich blend of guidance on living a meaningful and purposeful life.

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