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How to Be Classy: 20 Classy People Traits that Command Awe & Respect

Subtle behavior and manners are what separate the classy from the crass. Want to know how to be classy and awed wherever you go? Use this guide.

How to Be Classy

We live in a world that bombards us with bad behavior. From reality shows where the people lie and backstab each other, all the way to un-classy behavior seems to be the norm.

But that doesn’t mean that you have to act like a crazy person. In fact, I think it’s really important to take the high road and be as respectful as possible at all times.

What makes someone a classy person?

Most people get this wrong. They assume classy is all about the way you dress. Or worse, they assume classy is snobby. But you couldn’t be further  from the truth!

A classy person is someone who knows how to carry themselves with poise, grace and elegance. They could be dressed in their worst attire, but their behavior can’t help but make you respect them. And look up at them.

[Read: What makes someone graceful and elegant? The subtle traits]

How to be classy: 20 tips that make all the difference

Usually, our behavior is modeled after our parents’. So, if you only saw lying, backstabbing, cheating, or any other kind of bad behavior in your childhood, don’t worry. It’s never too late to transform yourself into a highly classy individual.

Just remember these tips, and try to emulate them in your own life. Start small, and come back to them often. You can’t change all at once. But every time you make a conscious effort to remember these traits, they’ll become a part of who you are and the way you project yourself to the world.

So here’s how to be classy, in the subtlest and most powerful ways!

1. Don’t create drama

Unfortunately, some people thrive on drama. They will lie, pick fights, and say or do anything to get people riled up. But that’s not classy. If you want to know how to be classy, don’t go creating drama. Just don’t. [Read: Attention seeking behavior and why some people go looking for drama]

2. Stay away from drama

Okay, so many you’re not a drama creator, but if you even participate in drama, then that’s not classy. Perhaps your friend passes on a story about another mutual friend, and then you both decide to hold a grudge. That’s not classy. Don’t hang around people who create drama, and certainly participate or pass it on.

how to be classy

3. Dress tastefully

The media tells women that we need to dress “sexy” or “slutty” to gain a man’s attention. Well, that’s just bull. Sometimes, less is more. Don’t show up to a job interview or a first date looking like a call girl. Dress like you respect yourself and that you feel like you have nothing to prove with your body. [Read: How to be sexy, look sexy and feel sexy without ever trying too hard]

4. Be polite

Ahhhh, what ever happened to saying “please” and “thank you?” What happened to opening and holding doors for random strangers?

These basic etiquette are slowly becoming a thing of the past *or so it seems*. Don’t be selfish – think about others and have behaviors toward them that is polite. [Read: 15 tips to be nice and loved by all in just a couple of minutes]

5. Be respectful

Just because you are a liberal and your friend is a conservative, that doesn’t give you the right to trash them and their beliefs. Everyone deserves respect, so always remember that.

Treat the CEO of your company just the same way you do the janitors – or a homeless person. If you want to know how to be classy, this is definitely one you can’t forget.

6. Don’t be jealous

I know… jealousy is a natural human emotion. However, that doesn’t mean you have to talk about it or act upon it. Classy people keep it to themselves or share it with a very close friend. They don’t go raging on about their jealousy. That’s just not cool. Or classy. [Read: The subtle signs of a jealous friend you may not always recognize]

7. Be happy

You might not think happiness is part of learning how to be classy. But happy people have no need to prove themselves to others. And because of that, they don’t have to resort to doing anything that might embarrass themselves just to get attention. [Read: 13 happy things you need for a perfectly happy life]

8. Have passions

If you want to know how to be classy, have some passions! If you don’t have any, then just try things out. Everyone will find a passion eventually. Classy people have a sense of purpose, and they follow their passions.

9. Watch your body language

Many times, people aren’t even aware of the messages they send to others via their body language. But classy people are more conscious of it. They restrain themselves from rolling their eyes or getting too touchy-feely on the first date if it’s inappropriate. [Read: The classy girl’s guide to be more attractive to men]

classy girl

10. Don’t jump on the bandwagon

There will always be fads and trend that are cool and fun to try. But just because all of your friends are doing something, wearing something, or saying something doesn’t mean you have to as well. Be your own person and think about your actions before you jump on the bandwagon.

11. Don’t post too many thirst traps

Everyone’s on social media, and posting selfies and keeping everyone updated on our personal lives has become a kind of norm these days. [Read: The most obvious thirst trap signs that scream “I want attention”]

But are you taking it to the next level by posting several thirst traps all the time? Sorry to offend anyone who does this, but research shows that one of the reasons they do it is to seek attention. If you want to know how to be classy, then stop making it all about yourself. [Read: What is a thirst trap and what it says about your self-esteem]

12. Have empathy

Speaking about making it all about yourself, classy people also have empathy for others. Even if they don’t agree with what other people say or do, they still express that they understand their point of view. When learning how to be classy, this is one of the vital characteristics you must possess.

13. Have self-confidence

Many people think that being self-confident is cocky or arrogant. But it’s not. The people who come across as cocky or self-loving are the ones who really don’t feel good about themselves.

Classy people just have a vibe they give out to the world that shouts, “I’m a great person, I love myself, but I have no need to announce it to the whole world.” [Read: How to build self-confidence – 16 ways to realize you’re worth it]

14. Don’t ever lose your cool

Emotions are hard to control, and some find it even more difficult than others. But even when you are angry at someone, you will want to remain calm so you don’t say or so something you’ll regret.

Take a break and walk away if you can’t do it in the moment. Don’t let your emotions rule your life and ruin your relationships.

15. Be authentic

Everyone can spot a fake person from a mile away. And being fake isn’t classy. If you’re always trying to be someone you’re not, ask yourself why you are doing that? Just be authentic. Be yourself. Be honest. All of those things are vital if you want to know how to be classy. [Read: How to recognize fake people and stay away from them]

classy person

16. Be true to yourself

What I mean by this is that you should stay true to your values and beliefs. Don’t do anything you don’t want to do.

Don’t be a people-pleaser or a doormat. Know your personal boundaries, and don’t be afraid to kindly and gently tell people when they have crossed over them. [Read: People pleaser – 20 common signs most people just don’t see]

17. Surround yourself with positive people

Positivity breeds positivity. And classiness breeds classiness. So, if you’re hanging out with a crowd of people who don’t love themselves, create drama, participate in drama, and always lose their cool, chances are that you will end up being like that.

So, you need to find people who are classy, so you can all be classy together. [Read: 25 types of bad friends you need to unfriend right away]

18. Think before you speak

Your mom probably told you this a hundred times growing up, but it’s true. Once you say something, you can’t take it back. We all get upset, but that doesn’t mean we have to blurt out every negative thing that comes to our mind.

19. Don’t gossip

Gossip is potentially hurtful. Whether the gossip is true or false, you are still talking about other people, and they may not appreciate it. So, don’t listen to gossip, and for heaven’s sake, don’t pass it on even if you do hear it. [Read: 14 surefire ways to keep it classy at a party]

20. Take personal responsibility

If you want to know how to be classy, this one is the foundation of it all. Don’t blame other people. Instead, look within yourself and own up to your actions and words. It’s not easy for a lot of people to do, but it sure is classy.

[Read: 18 ways to have high self-esteem and start winning at life]

How to be a classy person who exudes confidence and charm

Use these tips to transform yourself, one day at a time. Don’t ever mistake being classy for attire, it’s a quick trick that’s only one page of the book. And you’ll find yourself even more annoyed because you’re not getting the attention and respect you demand from others.

Instead, try to become a classy person from within. Do that, and no matter where you are or how you dress, you’ll always be the cynosure of everyone’s eye, and receive the respect and admiration that’ll come your way naturally.

Taking the high road is always preferable when you want to transform yourself into a classy person. So, if you want to know how to be classy, just follow these tips, and you’ll be on the right track.

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Carol Morgan LP
Dr. Carol Morgan
Dr. Carol Morgan has a Ph.D. in communication and is a professor at Wright State University where she loves corrupting young minds. As a relationship and succes...