7 words you should stop using if you want to sound classy, according to psychology

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Sometimes, when people try too hard to sound classy, they end up coming off as pretentious.

So how do you draw the line between the two?

Well, your vocabulary can make or break your classy image.

According to psychology, there are certain words that you should avoid if you want to maintain a sophisticated aura.

And if you’re like me, who appreciates the finer things in life but also values authenticity, this list is for you.

1) “Like…”

The most classic faux pas in the world of classy conversation is the overuse of the word “like.”

Overusing this filler word can make you sound uncertain and less confident—traits that certainly don’t align with the image of sophistication that you’re aiming for.


Because our brains are wired to pick up on these verbal cues and make assumptions about a person’s credibility and intelligence.

If you’re peppering your sentences with “like,” you might be undermining your own classy image without even realizing it.

The key to sounding classy isn’t just using big words; rather, it’s expressing yourself clearly and confidently. And that starts with eliminating fillers like “like” from your vocabulary.

Remember, less is more when it comes to sounding sophisticated

2) “Actually…”

Let me share a personal experience.

I remember hosting a dinner party once, and one of my guests was sharing an interesting story.

Midway, I interrupted them with an “actually…” followed by my own opinion. The room fell silent.

It was then that I realized the impact of this small word on my social interactions.

“Actually” can come off as condescending and dismissive, subtly implying that the other person is wrong or misinformed.

Using this word in this way can make others feel belittled or disrespected – quite the opposite of the classy impression I was trying to make.

From that day onwards, I decided to be more mindful of how I use “actually,” also avoiding interjecting conversations as much as possible.

Now, instead of interrupting with an “actually,” I wait for a pause in the conversation and gently present my viewpoint.

This small change has significantly improved my interactions and helped me maintain a more sophisticated image in social settings.

3) “Literally”

The word “literally” has been literally overused to the point where its original meaning is often lost.

What once was used to emphasize a factual statement is now thrown in casually to describe situations that are far from literal.

According to this study, the word “literally” has been so misused and overused that it is now evolving to have a completely vague, different meaning.

Instead of using “literally” as a crutch word, consider replacing it with more precise language or simply allowing your statement to stand on its own merit.

This will not only help you sound more articulate, but it will also contribute to your classy demeanor.

4) “Whatever”

Here’s a word that can unintentionally introduce a cold breeze into the warmest conversations: whatever.

This word is often used as a conversation ender, a way of indicating disinterest or indifference.

But here’s the thing: communication is, at its heart, about connection—about understanding and being understood.

When we say “whatever,” what we’re really saying is that we don’t care enough to engage, to understand, or to find common ground.

This can be hurtful to others and can push them away, making it a word to avoid if you want to look and sound classy.

Instead, try expressing your feelings in a more open and respectful way, showing that you value the other person and the conversation you’re having.

This will not only make you sound classier but also help you foster better relationships.

5) “I guess…”

Not too long ago, I found myself relying on the phrase “I guess” more often than I’d like to admit.

It was my go-to phrase when I wasn’t confident enough to assert my opinion or when I feared the potential disagreement that could follow.

But “I guess” is a phrase that subtly undermines your authority and credibility. It signals uncertainty and a lack of confidence, qualities that aren’t associated with a classy persona.

Once I recognized this, I started to consciously replace “I guess” with more assertive phrases like “I believe” or “I think.”

And the result? Not only did I come across as more confident and classier, but I also started feeling more confident in my ideas and opinions.

6) “Just…”

According to this article, women in professional settings tend to use “just” more frequently than men, potentially undermining their authority.

This shows that, while “just” might seem like a small word, it can have a big impact on how your statements are perceived.

Often used to soften a request or statement, “just” can unintentionally diminish the importance of what you’re saying.

For example, saying “I just think that…” can make your opinion seem less valuable or important compared to stating confidently, “I think that…”.

So, if you’re a woman in business or in any authoritative position, avoid using “just” unnecessarily.

Stand by your words and express your thoughts confidently; it sounds classy, it can boost your self-esteem, and it can empower you, too!

7) “Sorry…”

If there’s one word you should be wary of overusing, it’s “sorry.”

While apologizing when you’ve done something wrong is a sign of maturity and respect, saying sorry too often, especially when it’s not necessary, can make you appear less confident and authoritative.

According to this article, people who apologize excessively tend to have lower self-esteem and higher levels of stress and depression.

Remember, being classy is all about balance. You should be respectful and considerate of others, but not at the expense of your own worth.

When you feel the need to say sorry for something that doesn’t warrant an apology, pause and reconsider.

It might just save you from undermining your classy image.

The art of classy conversation

The essence of classy conversation isn’t in the grand words or eloquent speeches.

It’s nestled in the nuances of our everyday language, the words we choose and those we decide to leave behind.

This shows us that the power of language goes beyond mere communication. It shapes our relationships, influences our personal brand, and even impacts our self-perception.

By being mindful of the words we use and how we use them, we can create conversations that not only sound sophisticated but also reflect our respect for others and ourselves.

Ava Sinclair

Ava Sinclair is a former competitive athlete who transitioned into the world of wellness and mindfulness. Her journey through the highs and lows of competitive sports has given her a unique perspective on resilience and mental toughness. Ava’s writing reflects her belief in the power of small, daily habits to create lasting change.

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