When I think about “classy women”, the other word that immediately pops into my mind is this – high-value.
But contrary to popular opinion, being classy isn’t reserved for those who can afford a luxurious lifestyle. In fact, I know some of those, and sadly, I can’t say they’re classy.
You see, being classy is more about behavior than about wardrobes or possessions. Classy women instinctively know how to behave in social situations.
That’s why they can always follow even the social rules that are unspoken. These are the rules that you won’t usually find in any etiquette or how-to-be-classy guides, but go a long way in helping you behave with grace and poise.
Ready to find out what these unspoken social rules are? Let’s dive in!
1) Understated is better
First up, classy women understand the power of understatement. Style-wise, think Audrey Hepburn – clean lines, muted colors, quiet luxury.
No tacky designer logos printed everywhere, nor piles and piles of jewelry.
That’s the power of less is more, isn’t it?
And you know what? This philosophy extends beyond fashion choices. Even in the way they speak to people, classy women still go the “less is more” route.
The less said, the better. And if anything needs to be said at all, it can be said in a calm and quiet voice.
In fact, that quiet voice can speak volumes more than yelling ever can. It shows people you can get your point across without raising your voice – which means you’re confident and articulate.
Not only that, but not having to be the center of attention in a conversation leaves more room for others to shine – and that’s definitely classy!
This brings me to my next point…
2) Lift other women up
You’ll never find a classy woman tearing another woman down. Because she believes in three important things:
- The importance of sisterhood and empathy
- There’s enough light to go around for everyone – she doesn’t need to dim someone else’s light so hers will shine more brightly
- The power of making a positive impact on the world
So, you’ll find her cheering on other women and doing what she can to help them succeed.
3) Never divulge anything that was said to you in confidence
Speaking of being supportive, another way classy women show that is by being a trustworthy person.
They avoid gossip like the plague because well, it leaves a bad taste in their mouth. To talk about other people behind their back is just hurtful.
They honor the trust you’ve placed in them and won’t treat the secrets you’ve shared with them lightly.
4) Don’t swipe left or right if someone shows a picture on their phone
I remember showing a friend of mine a photo from our recent trip to Sydney. I only meant to show her that one photo of a gorgeous cliff, but she went on swiping left and saw some other photos I hadn’t planned on showing her.
Not that they were of the explicit kind or anything. It’s just that I’m kind of a private person, so I found it rude.
But that’s when I realized that this is a social rule that doesn’t seem to come naturally to everyone.
This is what I mean by unspoken social rules – things that shouldn’t have to be said anymore. Classy women have an instinct for knowing this, even while the rest of the world doesn’t.
5) Put away phones at social gatherings
I know that our phones have become nearly inseparable from us these days, almost like an additional appendage. It’s very rare to encounter someone who doesn’t have a phone in their hand.
But – I’m sure you’ve noticed how annoying it can be when you’re speaking to someone and they’re glued to their phone. Even if they just do it out of habit with no real intention of ignoring you, it can come across as rude.
That’s why classy women know to put their phones away when socializing. They give other people the respect and attention they deserve by being fully engaged in the conversation.
6) Don’t get the last piece, especially if it’s not yours
The last piece of cake. The last slice of pizza. The last cookie on the plate. The last piece of anything on the table.
You’d think this is common knowledge, but I’ve encountered so many women who do this.
But classy women go the opposite route – they’ll offer it to others, even if it means going without it themselves.
Why? Because classy women put a lot of stock in being gracious and selfless.
However, don’t take it to mean that they always put themselves last or sacrifice their own needs. It’s simply that when it comes to little things like this, they always act with consideration for others.
In fact, a truly classy woman will never make a big deal out of not getting the last piece. She won’t complain or pout or make anyone feel guilty for taking it.
Because she understands that in the bigger scheme of things…tact and diplomacy are better than the last bit of food.
7) Don’t order the most expensive item on the menu if someone else is paying
Speaking of food, another unspoken social rule that classy women observe is to steer clear of super expensive items on a menu if it’s someone else’s treat.
I’ve been to a birthday dinner where some guests went straight for the most expensive item on the menu. I totally get the temptation – a fabulous, luxurious meal you don’t have to pay for? Jackpot!
And yet, sad to say, it’s a tactless, tacky move because it doesn’t show consideration for the host.
Remember, being classy is about being considerate. You don’t want to saddle the host with a humongous bill, even if they’re perfectly capable of paying it.
It’s a subtle but significant way to show your appreciation and respect for their generosity.
8) If you’re invited to a home, always bring something
Let me ask you a question – when you get invited to someone’s home, do you make an effort to bring something? Maybe some nice flowers or a bottle of wine?
Most hosts will say you don’t need to bring anything. That’s certainly how it is for me; anyone is welcome, whether they come empty-handed or not.
But you also can’t deny that remembering to bring something just adds a touch of class. It shows you appreciate being invited to someone’s home, and would like to repay that kindness. That’s why classy women always do it.
9) Make sure there’s something for everyone
This is perhaps what I like best about classy women – they have heaps of empathy and want to make everyone comfortable.
A friend of mine is a great example of this. Whenever we plan to go out for dinner with our circle, she always takes the time to suggest restaurants that have a menu that would be agreeable to everyone.
Some of our friends are vegan, while others are on the keto diet. A few others have food allergies. So you can imagine how hard it is to find a restaurant that would be welcoming for each one of us.
But she does it because it’s important for her that everyone has a good time and feels included.
I see this as well in the way she engages the quiet ones in conversation when she senses they’re feeling a bit left out.
Remember when I said classy women lift others up? That comes into play here as well.
10) If someone messes up, pretend not to notice
There’s an old Anton Chekhov saying that goes, “A good upbringing means not that you won’t spill sauce on the tablecloth, but that you won’t notice it when someone else does.”
I love this quote because it works on a literal level – I’ve been the “spiller” so many times in public, and I’m ever so grateful that the people I was with were classy enough to not make a big deal out of it, so as not to make me even more uncomfortable than I already was.
And it works on a deeper level as well. For classy women, good manners isn’t about being perfect, but about being graceful towards other people’s imperfections (the psychological equivalent of “spilling the sauce”).
Now, this is not to say that they just accept bad behavior. It’s more nuanced than that. Classy women definitely don’t do that.
But the little foibles and moments of weakness we all have? That’s something they can easily overlook and forgive. In fact, they’d do what they can to help you get past the embarrassment.
Being a classy woman has nothing to do with meeting society’s rigid standards of femininity. Nor is it defined by your appearance, your wardrobe, or the numbers in your bank account.
Classiness is about displaying grace. Kindness. Respect for everyone, regardless of their stature in life.
The classiest women I know are the ones who make everyone around them feel comfortable and free to be themselves without fear of judgment. Just as they conduct themselves with dignity, so do they see that everyone else deserves dignity, too.