10 timeless ways to show you’re a class act

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True class is about so much more than designer clothes, fancy cars, or the ability to order wine like a pro. 

Instead, it’s about confidence, humility, and grace under pressure.

It’s about the way you treat other people and the way you carry yourself in any situation.

In this article, we’re going to break down the true meaning of class and give you practical tips on how to elevate yourself.

Forget about trying to impress others with material possessions, and focus on developing the below qualities that truly make you a class act. 

Let’s go. 

1. Cultivate good manners

Good manners matter. 

More than being mindless pleasantries, good manners and proper etiquette help us show our respect towards others and make them feel appreciated.

And treating people well often means being treated well in return.

After all:

It shows that you are aware of and sensitive to the feelings and needs of those around you and that you are willing to put in the effort to make others feel comfortable and respected.

Practicing the basic rules of etiquette you learned as a child is a simple way of being more elegant and classy.

Try to incorporate simple manners in your daily habits such as:

  • Smiling genuinely at people
  • Eating with your elbows off the table
  • Saying “Excuse me” when you burp in public
  • Using “Please” or “May I”
  • Sneezing into a tissue rather than your hands
  • Finding a kinder way to give negative feedback
  • Greeting people kindly even if you’re in a bad mood
  • Chewing your food properly, with your mouth closed
  • Knocking on doors and waiting for a response before entering a room
  • Not interrupting people or rolling your eyes when they are speaking
  • Asking people to pass dishes to you during a meal rather than reaching for it yourself (and invading their space)
  • Keeping negative opinions to yourself but sharing positive comments and compliments with others

2. Empathize with others

Empathy is important when it comes to class.

It shows you understand the feelings and experiences of others and that you’re willing to put yourself in their shoes and see things from their perspective.

Not only does this help build trust and respect, but it also helps create a sense of connection and understanding. 

Sometimes, empathy can be misconstrued as a weakness, but the truth is, it takes a strong and confident person to truly empathize with others and understand their perspective.

What do empathy and compassion mean today?

Some compassionate behaviors include:

  • Avoiding unnecessary conflicts with others
  • Being respectful and polite even if you are angry
  • Considering how the other person feels before getting upset
  • Thinking of how a problem affects others and not just yourself
  • Using your power to speak up for those who are unable to speak for themselves
  • Comforting others in their time of need with kindness
  • Withholding judgment until you hear the whole story
  • Recognizing that when someone does something bad, there are usually other factors at play

3. Find your authentic self

Let’s face it, nobody likes a fake.

When you’re trying to be someone you’re not, it’s like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole – it’s just not gonna work. It’s difficult to build a genuine connection with someone who isn’t their true self. 

If you want to be a class act, then you need to be true to yourself, and not hide behind a facade of what you think others want you to be.

It means being honest about your thoughts, feelings, and actions.

Because when you’re being genuine, people can trust and respect you for who you truly are. 

Now, finding your authentic self takes time and commitment. Especially if you’ve spent so long pushing it back and out of the picture.

So, how can you put this into practice?

It starts by pausing and thinking when you’re having a conversation with someone.

Your gut reaction will be to say something (you might not agree with) just to make them happy. Instead, you need to be honest.

For example, if one of your friends says to you, “I loved that movie, what did you think of it?” Your response needs to be honest.

Instead of just agreeing with them for the sake of it. Consider whether you really did love it?

Perhaps you could respond, “I thought it was fine, but I much prefer X”

You’re still being nice, while also being honest and sharing a bit of your personality and your own likes and interests. This is the way to find and share your authentic self. And people will love you for it.

In finding your authentic self, you want to be able to apply these to your life:

  • I know who I am
  • I take good care of myself
  • I own my gifts
  • I live in my values
  • I love myself completely

Once you can do this, you have truly found your authentic self. Remember, it takes work to get there, so don’t rush it.

4. Don’t compare yourself to others 

Everybody is unique, and we all have different circumstances in our lives.

For this reason, a classy person understands that it’s useless to compare yourself to others.

After all, what works for others might not work for you.

And that’s perfectly fine.

Because the truth is this:

When you compare yourself to others, you are focusing on what you lack, and this can lead to feelings of inadequacy, self-doubt, and low self-esteem.

These feelings can be detrimental to your sense of self-worth and can make it difficult to be confident and comfortable in your own skin.

Instead of slumping to social comparisons, classy people compare themselves with their past selves to see if they’re improving.

A classy person remains true to their own dreams and aspirations in life.

Nothing really matters as long as they’re moving forward in their own journey.

5. Speaking clearly and concisely 

If you want to be a true class act, then you need to speak in short and coherent sentences. 

Organizing your thoughts isn’t always an easy task, but a class act does so by knowing what he or she will say first and then chopping it up into smaller bits. 

Instead of a long series of flowery statements, they speak briefly and in ways that are easy to understand. 

There are some subjects and conversations that get more in-depth and have more complex sentences and ways of expressing yourself, of course. 

But as much as possible, a class act divides their speech into smaller sentences that are easy to understand and engage with. 

The main point is this:

When you speak clearly, you are more likely to be understood and taken seriously.

It also shows that you have respect for the person you are speaking with and that you value their time and attention.

To improve your ability to speak clearly and concisely, you can practice speaking slowly, pronouncing words correctly, and using simple vocabulary. 

These techniques can help you to develop your speaking skills and make your message more clear and easy to understand for your listeners

6. Learn to listen well

You know those people who don’t make eye contact when you’re talking or those who change the topic so it’s all about them?

Yeah…we don’t like them either.

You won’t be a classy person if you don’t try to pay attention to people as they speak.

Avoid interrupting people, or looking at your phone, or randomly slipping off-topic things during the conversation.

It’s just not nice to leave people feeling like they don’t matter. Look at them while they’re speaking, nod, and actually engage with them in conversation.

People remember you by how you make them feel when you’re together.

If they feel heard and seen, they’d feel like they somehow matter. You’d be amazed that even a single gesture as a nod would have a big effect on how someone feels.

7. Hold your worth internally 

To be truly class, it’s important to hold your worth internally rather than basing it on externals. 

Many things in life are out of our control and depending on them for our satisfaction or for our own sense of self is highly dangerous.

Nonetheless, many of us do that, and even the most confident person occasionally falls into this trap…

What trap am I talking about?

It’s the trap of seeking validation externally:

From other people, from romantic partners, from work bosses, from members of society, from ideological or spiritual groups, from our own health or status…

It’s the trap of basing our worth on what some other person, system or situation tells us our worth is. 

Because the truth is that this is always in flux.

What’s more is that it can also work the other way around as well:

Imagine person after person telling you you’re amazing and attractive and competent but not believing it yourself?

What good does it do you?

When you hold your worth internally, you are not relying on external validation or validation from others to feel good about yourself.

Instead, you are basing your sense of self-worth on your own beliefs and values.

This can make you feel more stable and secure in your own skin, which can make you more comfortable and confident in any situation.

8. Go light on social media

Social media has a lot of great things going for it.

But it can really lodge in your mind and make you obsessed about the lives of others.

It can also get you so focused on your own image and self-crafted identity that you lose track of your place in our real, breathing and living world.

I encourage you to go light on social media if you want to be a true class act. 

If you want to know how to be truly elegant and classy, stop feeding your brain with digital crack.

It’s just going to get you addicted and even further into the loop of obsessing about every little image-based thing that’s happening.

So the next time somebody asks you “did you hear what X said about Y” you’ll have the blissful privilege of honestly saying that you don’t.

And mentioning that you’re not all that interested, either.



Being selective about what you share on social media can show that you have good judgment and discretion, as well as respect for your own privacy and the privacy of others.

9. Say thanks

Kindness is something to be acknowledged and treasured. Classy people know this. 

By being grateful and saying “thank you”, you are giving acknowledgment to the good things that happen to you and not simply taking them for granted.

And to make it even better, you make the people around you happy. 

There are few things that give people so much pure joy as helping others. But go ahead and make their day by thanking them for it.

It’s also best to see gratefulness not as a one-and-done thing, but as something that you hold close to your heart.

You can start by saying “thank you” when something good happens to you. It can feel a bit weird at first, especially if you’re not used to saying those words.

But it will grow on you, and later on, you can get right to thanking people out of the blue for things that happened ages ago!

The bottom line is this:

Saying thank you is a basic rule of etiquette and it can help to make the other person feel valued and acknowledged, and it can help you start appreciating the good things happening in your life. 

It is a small yet powerful gesture that can make a big difference in how others perceive you and how you perceive life itself. 

Learning to say thanks and give gratitude is also about acting with integrity and being a noble person as well. If you want to learn how to be a noble person, check out our below video on 10 traits of a noble person with true integrity. 

10. Focus on others

In the end, being classy is mostly about how you treat others. 

If you want to be truly classy, then you need to think about how others feel.

If you straight up don’t bother to care about how others feel, then it’s going to be impossible to be a class act. 

Class is rooted deep in empathy, in being mindful of how others will feel. It’s based on selflessness and is dimmed by selfishness.

It pays to ask yourself before saying or doing anything, “how would this make other people feel?”

If you think that someone will be hurt, then try to find ways to change your approach or do something else entirely.

Keep yourself from doing things that could impact other people negatively as much as you can. It’s going to be somewhat hard at first if you’re not used to it, but it will become second nature in time.

Keep in mind that everyone is facing their own battles. And even when you’re in a bad spot, it might help to remind yourself that there are others going through the same things as you, or even worse.

Don’t take this to mean that your struggles are meaningless or insignificant. That’s not the case at all!

Rather, it’s a reminder that regardless of your situation, you should be kind towards others by not always thinking about yourself.


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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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