Humility is always more admirable than arrogance. Yet it’s pretty common for people to cross the line and say things they shouldn’t…
Why? Because staying humble isn’t as easy as everyone makes it out to be.
Unclassy behavior is way easier, and it’s why some people can make it seem like they lack class and humility without even realizing it!
These 8 behaviors usually give you away – and it’s what you should at least try to stop if you want to make a better first impression.
1) They say the wrong thing to the wrong person
I think we’ve all done this before! We’ve all said the wrong thing to the wrong person. But most of us will only do this once or twice before we learn our lesson.
Like if you complained about your teacher to a classmate without knowing the teacher was their mom!
But the thing is, people who lack class and humility do this kind of thing all the time. They never learn from their mistakes or think before they speak.
Like an old colleague of mine. Whenever we ran into the director, he’d complain about various things and people. He didn’t do it intentionally. He genuinely didn’t realize how much it was annoying her. And how inappropriate he was being…
He was young, granted. But even so, he definitely lacked a little class and humility by continuing to do this all the time – even though he didn’t realize what he was doing!
2) They talk loudly about things they shouldn’t
I remember being out for dinner with a couple of girls from my college once. The server was one of the girl’s new boyfriend’s ex.
Someone with class and humility probably would’ve respected that the situation might be a little uncomfortable for the server and not bring up the ex.
But this girl didn’t. She talked very loudly about her new partner and their sex life. She even brought up things he’d said about his ex whenever the server walked past.
This wasn’t very classy or respectable behavior. But the thing is, she didn’t even realize that what she was saying might have been uncomfortable for this girl. And maybe a little rude!
She thought she was just sharing gossip with friends and that the server couldn’t hear. When the rest of us knew that she definitely could…
3) They don’t care who’s listening to their conversation
Have you ever been on the train and heard the most outrageous conversation behind you? I have, and I’ll admit, I love listening in!
There’s nothing unclassy about this when someone’s just sharing gossip. But it becomes a little distasteful when the stories are a bit inappropriate to be shared in public.
I’ve overheard conversations where people are seriously badmouthing their place of work. And other pretty graphic stories when there are kids all around us…
People can say what they want and share whatever stories they like with a friend. But people with class and humility care about who might be listening when they share these things in a public place.
4) They only talk about themselves
You know these kinds of people. They never ask you any questions about yourself. All they do is talk about me, me, me.
Most people have zero idea that they’re even doing this. I used to have a friend who did it all the time, for years. When I finally confronted her about it, she was shocked!
But even so, it isn’t a trait of someone with class and humility. And it’s usually just because they lack the self-awareness to realize what they’re doing, rather than them being intentionally arrogant or attention-seeking.
5) They brag about what they have
Bragging is never a good behavior. Unless you’ve just won a game of Monopoly, I can’t think of a single justifiable reason to brag!
This Quora thread is pretty brutal about the reasons why people brag – from narcissistic personality traits to low emotional intelligence – and I think it tells us everything we need to know about how it’s perceived!
But as a summary, most people consider bragging self-absorbed and insecure behavior.
Some people brag intentionally to put other people down, there’s no doubt about that. But the thing is, a lot of people brag without even realizing they’re doing it, so their intentions aren’t malicious at all.
I had a friend who was a major extrovert and loved talking about things she was up to. She never even realized that most people found her pretentious.
I even dated a guy once who was always bragging about the latest technology he’d got his hands on. He was only excited about it, but his enthusiasm about what he had (and how good it was) came across badly more often than I’d like to admit…
Whatever the reason is for doing it (or lack of reasoning, I should probably say), it can come across as though you lack class and humility.
6) They talk about their successes with people who have few
Another thing someone who lacks class and humility might do is flaunt their successes – especially when they’re around people who don’t have what they have!
It’s like if you just got a promotion and your friend got fired. If you talked constantly about how great your job is now and how much money you have, it’d be a little bit insensitive to your friend.
Yet it’s something people without humility (or self-awareness) would do.
I know there’s nothing wrong with talking about your successes. In fact, I think the more positive news we share with our friends, the better! And it’s good to celebrate the things you’re proud of.
But there is a time and a place for good news. If someone shares their good news all the time, even around people who don’t have (and probably want) the same things, they might lack class and humility.
7) They don’t read the room
Granted, “reading the room” isn’t an easy thing to do. It’s a skill, and some people have learned to do it way better than others!
But even so, people who struggle to read the room, or just don’t care about doing it, don’t have much class or humility.
It’s like the above example. If your friend is super upset about losing their job, talking their ear off about how happy you are with your promotion isn’t reading the room.
I actually unfollowed a few people on social media during the 2020 pandemic for not reading the room! Most people I knew were struggling and had lost their jobs.
But some people were constantly posting about the exotic holidays they’d managed to sneak away on and the parties they’d managed to host.
Basically, they weren’t reading the room or showing much humility by flaunting their good times in people’s faces.
Which leads us nicely to…
8) They flaunt the rules
If you’re going to break the rules or do something you know you shouldn’t, a humble person with class would keep quiet about it. They’d do what they needed to do and keep schtum.
But when someone lacks both class and humility, they’ll flaunt the fact that they’re breaking the rules. They don’t care who might see it or what impact it might have on them.
My best example of this happened during the 2020 pandemic.
I had old college friends who flaunted the “stay at home” orders; hosting parties, sneaking away on cheap vacations, and spending Christmas with their families (even though it was strictly not allowed). They posted these things all over social media.
Someone else I know also broke the “no Christmas” rule by visiting her very sick grandma. She thought it was worth it to give her grandma one last Christmas together.
She told no one, with no pictures online, other than a few trusted friends. She broke the rules just like the other person did, but the fact that she told no one other than a few close friends showed class and humility.
Doing something that comes across wrong isn’t the worst thing in the world – especially when you have good intentions.
Just because you’re a little arrogant with some things, or you slip up sometimes and say the wrong thing, that doesn’t make you a bad person.
But even so, people can take it the wrong way – and it can have a pretty major impact on your life when you say it to the wrong person…
I know people who have said the wrong thing at work and lost their jobs because of it. I’ve even heard some very kind people be badmouthed for how something they innocently said came across!
Which is why it is important to check your behaviors and try to stay on the right side of things most of the time.
Because no matter where you are, people respect a person with humility and class – and you never know when it might work in your favor!
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