5 signs you’re a legitimately classy person, according to psychology

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Do a quick Google image search for “classy person,” and you’ll see endless images of stereotypically good-looking men and women. 

You know the sort of images I am talking about: men standing tall wearing suits and sophisticated-looking women drinking champagne or in business clothes, presumably at their high-powered jobs. 

Go ahead and actually do a quick search if you don’t believe me. 

But, and it’s a big but, I think we all know that being classy is not really about looking wealthy or maintaining a slim figure or sipping expensive drinks on a yacht. 

In fact, I’d bet many of you would agree that true class is not about appearance at all. It’s more along the lines of how Britannica defines it: 

  • having qualities that make someone or something special and attractive
  • showing impressive character: very good, kind, etc.

This is the sort of person many of us want to be, right?

But are you?

Well, that’s what we cover today. If you can relate to the below signs, you are a classy person in all the ways that it matters.  

1) You can put yourself in others’ shoes

Ever noticed how some people just have a knack for making everyone around them feel at ease? 

That’s empathy in action, a true mark of class that goes beyond just good manners—it’s about genuinely connecting with others on an emotional level and making their lives better, even for just a few minutes. 

Studies support this, highlighting how empathetic people are naturally more compassionate. 

Other researchers have suggested it’s empathy that stops us from hurting others and 

Dr. Elizabeth A. Segal seems to echo this saying empathy “guides our moral compass.” 

It’s about feeling what others feel and using that insight to guide our actions, ensuring we don’t just act but act kindly and thoughtfully.

So, think about how you interact in social settings or even on dates. Do you adjust the conversation to help someone feel more comfortable? Do you pick up on when someone’s uncomfortable and change the situation to help them relax? 

That’s empathy. And if this sounds like you, you’re not just being polite—you’re showing true class. 

2) You make people laugh

This might sound a bit unusual, but having a good sense of humor is actually a key part of being attractive and, hence, a part of being classy. 

As noted by Martin Graff, a psychology lecturer, research backs this up. It suggests that “women prefer men who can make them laugh” and that this ability is actually an indicator of intelligence. 

I suppose when you think about it, crafting a joke or coming up with a witty comeback on the spot requires quick thinking and a bit of intellectual agility.

Anyway, Yale lecturer and best-selling author Dr. Emma Seppälä echoed the fact that laughter makes us more attractive. However, she added that research has shown that it improves relationships and makes the world a better place because it’s contagious!

Basically, it’s a bonding agent, a way to ease tensions, foster connections, and contribute to a more joyful world overall.

So, if you bring laughter into a room, know that you’re not just being fun; you’re being deeply classy. 

After all, if making the world a little brighter isn’t a sign of class, what is?

3) You have real integrity

Integrity—it’s an old-fashioned word, but it packs a powerful punch when it comes to what it means to be truly classy. 

But what does it mean to have “real integrity”?

Well, it’s about deep-seated ethical principles guiding every action you take.

A person with integrity doesn’t just act out of personal gain or for public recognition. Their choices aren’t dictated by what’s easiest or most beneficial for them personally but by what’s right and just.

Psychologist Seth Meyers put it well when he described it as “the antidote to self-interest.”

Imagine you’re alone and you find extra change in your shopping bag that isn’t yours. Do you keep it, or do you go back to the store to return it? 

Or perhaps you’re faced with a business opportunity that’s profitable but ethically dubious. 

A person of integrity stands firm in their values, choosing the path of honesty and fairness, regardless of the consequences.

The point is that making the right choice, even when it’s the harder choice, truly sets a classy person apart.

4) You are in control of your emotions

Working for a company in my twenties, I witnessed a perfect example of how not to handle emotions. 

During a meeting, a colleague received some fair but negative criticism. But, instead of taking it constructively, he instantly became rudely defensive and stormed out of the room, uttering a stream of profanities. 

Hardly what any of us would consider classy, eh?

Classy means maintaining composure and calmness, being in control of our emotions rather than letting them control us. 

This skill is what psychologists refer to as “emotional self-regulation.” Mastering it helps you avoid embarrassing blow-ups like the one I witnessed. 

Being able to regulate your emotions means you can face criticism, stress, and disappointment with a level head. And instead of reacting impulsively, you assess the situation and choose a response that aligns with your values and goals. 

This ability is crucial not just in personal interactions but also in maintaining professionalism and class in the workplace.

5) You try to do the best for everyone

Imagine you’re at a crossroads with a decision that could either benefit you personally but disadvantage others. What’s your move? 

For truly classy individuals, the choice leans towards what benefits the most people. 

They know that, as Stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius put it, “What’s bad for the hive is bad for the bee.” 

This understanding—that our actions impact the broader community—guides classy individuals to often prioritize collective well-being over personal gains.

But this commitment to the greater good isn’t confined to grand, heroic acts. It often shows in quieter, everyday decisions. 

Think about the simple act of recycling to reduce environmental impact, volunteering your time for community service, or ensuring everyone in a social setting feels included and valued. 

These actions may seem small, but they contribute significantly to a more harmonious and sustainable society.

Does this sound like you?

If so, kudos to you. 

The bottom line 

Being classy isn’t about external trappings like wealth or status—it’s about the quiet strength of character. 

And often, it’s demonstrated through empathy, humor, integrity, emotional control, and a commitment to the greater good. 

These timeless qualities distinguish truly classy individuals, enhancing not only their lives but also the lives of those around them.

As always, I hope you found some value in this post. 

Until next time. 

Mal James

Mal James

Originally from Ireland, Mal is a content writer, entrepreneur, and teacher with a passion for self-development, productivity, relationships, and business.

As an avid reader, Mal delves into a diverse range of genres, expanding his knowledge and honing his writing skills to empower readers to embark on their own transformative journeys.

In his downtime, Mal can be found on the golf course or exploring the beautiful landscapes and diverse culture of Vietnam, where he is now based.

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