10 ways to be a classy person (without being pretentious or snobbish)

I really admire class in someone, it’s undeniably admirable. But if there’s one thing I detest it’s snobbery.

Maybe you can relate?

Because class is all about taste and nodecency. But pretentious people miss the mark and fail to understand that it’s got nothing to do with showing off.

So with that in mind, this article will share 10 ways to be a classy person (without being pretentious or snobbish).

1) Brush up on your manners and etiquette

Manners aren’t simply some sort of posh nicety.

They run deeper than that. They are how we show one another respect.

They help us to create healthy societies.

Societies where we show our gratitude to each other by remembering to say please and thank you.

Societies where we aim to extend kindness to our fellow man.

Manners say a lot about someone.

It’s a reflection of the sort of person you are.

People can have all the money in the world, but their etiquette still leaves a lot to be desired. Genuinely classy people don’t forget their manners.

2) Treat everyone with the same respect

And I mean everyone.

You see, snobs are often nice as pie to people who they think are their equals. Everyone else though will likely get a frosty reception.

Sadly, in their mind, class is about a hierarchy.

They put the people they meet into some sort of pecking order.

They may pay lip service to the people they think are “worthy”. Yet they take a dismissive attitude toward the rest.

Class has zilch to do with being fundamentally better than anyone else.

It has everything to do with behaving with respect and decency (towards yourself and others).

That’s why one of the best ways to be a classy person without so much of a hint of pretentiousness is to be just as nice to everyone you meet.

It makes no difference whether they are your mother-in-law or a homeless guy on the street.

You should be just as polite and courteous to the waitstaff at the restaurant as you are to your boss.

Show your class and treat everyone with the same respect you would like to receive.

3) Don’t be afraid to be understated

What do I mean by that?

Well for starters, I mean both materialistically understated and in your behavior.

Because the reality is that flamboyance and ostentatiousness can often come across as pretentious.

Real class is usually very modest and unassuming.

Classy people don’t need to try to grab attention.

It’s not about tigers on a gold leash, flying around on private jets, or sipping on Christal.

It’s more of a quiet tastefulness.

You can be modest in your dress and exude sheer class and elegance. Similarly, you can quietly enter a room and still have all eyes on you.

That’s partly thanks to the secret weapon that is next on our list…

4) Build your confidence

Classy people can have a certain je ne sais quoi.

It’s tempting to assume that comes from money or status.

Sure, let’s be honest, sometimes it does.

But what’s more important in creating the positive impression they make is confidence.

And that’s certainly something money can’t buy.

The key to exhibiting class is a quiet confidence.

Because the truth is that pretentiousness and snobbery are actually used to mask insecurity.

It’s often a deep-seated insecurity that prompts people to try to make themselves feel superior.

It’s a similar motivation for arrogant people. Their big secret is that they need to act like that to try and boost their own ego.

Real classy people don’t need to act this way. They have the inner security to create confident foundations.

If you want to show the warmth, stability, and self-assurance of class build your confidence so you feel comfortable in a wide range of social settings.

5) Take an interest in other people

Pretentious and snobby people are self-involved. Classy people on the other hand take a genuine interest in others.

If you want to be classy, be sure to pay attention to the people around you.

The sort of impression you make is obviously going to be influenced by how you behave.

To give the very best impression, practice:

Research has shown that we like people who ask us questions in conversation.

It’s actually pretty simple.

You’re more likely to come across as uppity if you seem to have very little regard for getting to know others.

So show your class by showing your interest.

6) Have self-respect in spades but ditch your pride

On the surface pride and self-respect can seem synonymous.

But I’d argue there are some very important differences.

Self-respect is about loving yourself and treating yourself with care.

Having a sense of self-respect serves as a vital form of protection for us. It helps us to instill clear and healthy boundaries.

That’s what stops people from walking all over us or hurting us. Through self-respect, we nip problem behavior in the bud rather than tolerating it.

Having self-respect ultimately helps us to maintain dignity — which is also essential for exhibiting class.

So far so good!

But pride goes a step further. And in doing so, it’s usually a step too far.

Because pride is pretty much always ego-led.

If we’re not careful we can step beyond self-worth and into the arrogant territory.

Pride can give you delusions of grandeur. It stops us from behaving with humility.

It can be hard to swallow your pride, so you may find yourself behaving in stubborn or petulant ways.

7) Exhibit self-restraint

Excess is rarely classy.

You probably don’t need me to tell you that getting blind drunk and dancing on the tables isn’t exactly going to scream class.

I’m not suggesting you shouldn’t be yourself. Because sincerity is really important for greeting genuine and authentic connections with people.

So for sure, be yourself.

But that doesn’t mean that in certain circumstances it’s not also a good idea to hold back a little too.

Classy people are unlikely to spill their entire life story to you upon the first meeting. They show a little bit of restraint.

Classy people can have an air of mystery about them, but not because they’re intentionally being standoffish.

It’s just that they allow time and trust to build before revealing everything about themselves. 

This reservedness also applies when faced with challenging situations, as we’ll see next.

8) Remain poised when others might lose their cool

When something happens that a snobbish or pretentious person doesn’t like, they will probably be inclined to throw a tantrum.

This is when they reveal their true colors.

Far from being classy, they’re actually a bit of a spoilt brat.

They may quickly lose their cool and resort to diva behavior.

Classy people on the other hand would never descend into this kind of public meltdown.

They graciously deal with whatever is happening whilst remaining composed.

Posie is one of those admirable classy traits that we tend to look up to in others.

Of course, accomplishing this isn’t always easy.

It requires plenty of self-knowledge.

We have to be able to know how we tick and understand our own emotions if we want to try to keep them under control.

Simple things like journaling can help with this.

Meanwhile in order to stay classy, even when your patience is pushed, there are a whole host of techniques that you can try to keep your composure.

9) Forget designer labels but still dress to impress 

Rooky mistake 101 is usually that class = fancy clothes and designer labels.

But as we’ve already seen, class is something that pretty much shines 90% from the inside out.

Yet that doesn’t mean it makes zero difference what you present to the outside world.

We all know that whilst we shouldn’t, it’s hard not to judge a book by the cover, at least at first.

There’s no getting away from it:

What we wear and how we choose to present ourselves make a statement.

But the good news is that you don’t need to spend a dime to be the classiest person in the room.

  • Maintain good hygiene
  • Look as well-groomed as possible
  • Wear tasteful clothes that you feel confident in
  • Dress as a reflection of your own style, rather than trying to imitate others
  • Aim for confident body language

Because at the end of the day, you can’t buy taste anyway.

I don’t know about you, but I can think of plenty of famous people whose wardrobes I wouldn’t want to wear!

So don’t get caught up in the consumerism of designer labels or expensive brands.

Simply focus on leaving home dressed in a way that makes you feel good about yourself.

10) Do the right thing

If I could sum up what class really is at its heart, I’d say it’s about good values. It’s about having morals and staying true to what you think is right.

That’s why one of the ways we can all be classier is just by doing the right thing.

Well, I say “just” because it sounds easy, but it can also be easier said than done.

That’s why it’s not only a sign of class, but a sign of being a truly good person too.

Doing the right thing means:

Being honest and fair in our dealings with other people.

Striving to lead with compassion and kindness.

Sticking our neck out for others, even when it’s not always convenient.

Speaking up against wrongdoing when we see it happening.

I think that’s hands down one of the noblest things any of us can do to keep it classy.

Pearl Nash

Pearl Nash has years of experience writing relationship articles for single females looking for love. After being single for years with no hope of meeting Mr. Right, she finally managed to get married to the love of her life. Now that she’s settled down and happier than she’s ever been in her life, she's passionate about sharing all the wisdom she's learned over the journey. Pearl is also an accredited astrologer and publishes Hack Spirit's daily horoscope.

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