10 things sophisticated people avoid doing in public

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Sophistication is more than just wearing designer dresses and talking about your international travels.

Sophistication is a mindset, a way of living. It’s not showing off your wealth. It means seeking riches in experiences, meaningful conversations, and quality relationships.

What follows are ten things sophisticated people avoid doing in public. 

Living a sophisticated life means understanding that what you choose to have is a reflection of you. Your clothes, peers, and thoughts are a reflection of who you are.

So once you start avoiding things that don’t add value to your life, true happiness should not be too far behind.

1) Sophisticated People Do Not Follow Trends

You might see someone in the mall holding a Yves Saint Laurent bag, wearing Rolex, and using the latest iPhone model, then assume that they’re sophisticated.

Here’s the thing: High-end brands sell us the idea that sophistication can be bought. But what they’re doing is simply just a marketing tactic.

A sophisticated individual knows that sophistication is a way of life, a way of thinking.

They know that blindly following the herd – whether there’s a new trend or tech – means trying to conform and fit inside the box society has made.

Instead, sophisticated people look the part by following their heart’s desires.

They get their hair done the way they want it, mix and match pieces, and even sometimes experiment with jewelry for a sophisticated touch.

2) They Do Not Succumb to Peer Pressure

Speaking of conformity, rarely do you see a sophisticated person do things to impress others or to feel that they belong with a certain crowd.

If anything, they’ll simply walk away from people who keep insisting.

They don’t surround themselves with bad influences; they mean it when they say no; and extend the same respect to others.

Sophisticated people like to surround themselves with friends that share similar values and have an open mind.

I understand that meeting new people, especially with everything going on, can be quite a chore; however, I do recommend that you go to community events with people that have the same interests as you.

For example, you can go to book clubs, gallery events, concerts, or perhaps accomplish your work in a coffee shop.

3) They Avoid Public Intoxication

While it’s sophisticated to have a glass of wine and engage in witty conversations at social gatherings, it’s not classy to be seen drunk and dizzy, hitting stools left and right, and consequently embarrassing yourself in front of all the guests.

You want people to take you seriously.

So try to set a limit to the number of drinks you have in one night, especially if you have a low alcohol tolerance.

Peer pressure is difficult to resist, but if you’ve had enough, your friends should respect your decision.

If they still give you an offer, say that you’re good, then either change the subject or join other activities (e.g., playing pool, swimming, good conversation).

4) They Avoid Coarse Language

Sophisticated people avoid overly vulgar language, cursing in between every other sentence, and being rude.

You should always be mindful of every word that comes out of your mouth.

And if you accidentally say a rude term or offend anyone – even if it wasn’t your intention – apologize and acknowledge your mistake. Take accountability. Afterward, learn from the situation.

There came a point when I wanted to improve my public speaking skills, and after putting in the time and effort to do so, more people called me “sophisticated.”

So here’s what I recommend:

First, improve your vocabulary by reading more books and surrounding yourself with people who use elevated language; second, exude confidence by projecting your voice enough; and lastly, think before you speak.

A sophisticated way of talking is, more often than not, associated with maturity of character and can make a good impression on others.

5) Sophisticated People Never Gossip

Sophisticated people don’t indulge in gossip simply out of respect.

They are aware of how facts and little details can get easily distorted, and that there’s always more than one side to every story.

They also understand that gossip can destroy relationships. For them, gossip is a waste of time and energy.

Instead of spending their day gossiping and sharing juicy secrets, they spend their time doing other things that educate them and fill their soul.

For one, they follow the news.

They make the effort to have a finger on the pulse of current events, as well as contribute to substantial conversations.

They also read widely – meaning they read books of different genres, cultures, and authors.

6) They Don’t Lose Their Cool

Being sophisticated means keeping your act together in whatever social situation you find yourself in.

However, this doesn’t mean suppressing your emotions. It means not making a scene. It means not shouting obscenities and dragging other people (literally and metaphorically).

If you find yourself riled up, take a minute to cool off.

Step away from the situation, take a few deep breaths, then return when your headspace is no longer clouded.

Sure, sophisticated people don’t lash out, but they know how to express their emotions in a productive and healthy manner – including the most painful ones.

They acknowledge and validate that the feeling is there.

They figure out the root cause. And they find an outlet for the emotion may that be writing in a journal, making art, and doing physical activity, among others.

7) They Don’t Like Shallow Conversations

Meaningless interactions have no place in the day of a sophisticated individual.

While they may be patient in general, they won’t extend that patience to people who are wasting their time.

They won’t stick around if their date is clearly not interested nor will they stay with someone who only gives one-word answers.

Sophisticated people also know how to have a friendly debate without letting things get out of hand.

On that note, one of my biggest pet peeves are people who lack social cues and unnecessarily overshare.

Don’t get me wrong – I love a lively conversation and the whole “getting-to-know,” icebreaker process.

But some topics you can reserve for certain types of friends (e.g., flexing your income, latest hook-up, how drunk you got last weekend).

8) They Avoid Acting High and Mighty

Part of being sophisticated means knowing your worth but not giving off an air of arrogance – in other words, humble confidence.

You don’t toot your own horn. If you’ve done something great, you remain modest and focus on the lessons you’ve learned along the way.

You don’t bring up how it was easy or that others should emulate your successes. Similarly, you should never be rude to “regular” folks. Everyone, in your eyes, is equal.

You should also master sophisticated body language – but again, you should learn it in a way that doesn’t make you look like you’re acting high and mighty.

Make eye contact. Maintain good posture. And avoid fidgeting with your hands.

When all of these start to come naturally to you, people will get impressed by how you carry yourself.

9) They Don’t Beat Themselves Up When Making Mistakes

Sophisticated people are kind to themselves when they fail or commit mistakes.

They treat themselves the same way they would treat a good friend.

Say, for instance, a friend of yours bombed a job interview or went through a break-up, would you make them feel bad about it?

I hope not. I hope you remind them that it’s not the end of the world and that this time around, they’ll be moving on with experience – not starting from scratch.

This point reminds me of my childhood best friend who has never failed to comfort me with his magical way with words.

He is the epitome of compassion. Whenever I feel like I’m being too hard on myself, all I need to do is remember his advice: “Making the effort is half the battle.”

10) They Try Not to Forget Their Standards and Values

Sophisticated people are masters in delayed gratification.

They know that there’s a crystal clear difference between short-term desires and long-term values and goals.

Although some things are good in moderation, short-term whims (e.g., unhealthy food, gambling addiction, and risky sexual impulses) do more harm than good.

For example, constantly succumbing to your cravings for sugar and carbs may satisfy you at the moment; however, it can lead to overeating, obesity, and other health problems.

This idea is also applicable to dating.

One trait that separates sophisticated people from unsophisticated ones is their commitment to their relationship standards.

While we all make mistakes, especially when we’re in the dating scene, sophisticated people don’t compromise on their non-negotiables and don’t mind being single.

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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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