7 phrases that make you sound less classy than you are

Did you know that being classy has more to do with your chosen words and less with your outfit?

The impression you leave on your social circle greatly depends on how you verbally express yourself.

So, here is a list of phrases you must avoid to give your authentic, confident self a chance to shine.

1) Qualifiers

“I’m not an expert, but…” 

Back in college, during my public speaking course, we had to delve into a bunch of TED talks. And it got me thinking: those speakers up on the stage? They had this uncanny knack for really holding the audience’s attention.

I mean, seriously, their confidence was practically palpable. They had everyone in the palm of their hand.

And you know what they all had in common? They were masters at picking their words. They trimmed the unnecessary and went straight for the good stuff.

Here’s the secret: keeping things short and sweet is the key to smooth conversations. Those extra adjectives we throw in make sentences longer without actually saying more.

Instead of saying:

“I was pretty excited about the opportunity,” try, “I was excited about the opportunity.”

Doesn’t it make your message simpler and clearer?

Or instead of “The trip to Belgium was quite fun,” go for a more affirming tone, “The trip to Belgium was fun.”

See what I mean? Qualifiers and fluff weigh down your sentences. So, the next time you’re chatting, skip the extras and go straight to the point with words that matter.

2) Cliches

“Cliches are dead as a doornail.”

Speaking of unnecessary fluff, stir away from all cliches to maintain a meaningful and engaging conversation.

Like TED speakers, classy people charm their audience with authentic and impactful content.

Allowing washed-off phrases like cliches to slip into your dialogue will make you appear unoriginal and not particularly creative.

As a commanding conversationalist, you should avoid using cliches because:

  • They dilute the impact of your message and expression
  •  They make your tone sound stale and outdated
  •  They mess up communication because not everyone might get what they mean

By removing cliches from your communication, you can establish stronger connections with your audience using genuine stories that reflect your unique voice.

3) Negative Phrases

“Nothing goes my way.”

When communicating your needs and feelings, you and your listeners are highly receptive to the words chosen.

So, if your conversations are loaded with negative phrases like:

“I can’t do that.”

“This will never work.”

“I don’t like the ambiance here.”

chances are you are creating an air of pessimism around you.

How is this possible?

When you overuse negative phrases, you adopt a passive approach to problems or nuances. People can pick up on whether you are simply “nagging” or actively trying to find a solution.

Also, consider that when you keep saying negative stuff about what you can or can’t do, you’re making your self-image worse by making those negative beliefs even stronger.

Instead, use positive self-talk and positive words to create a more uplifting mood in conversations.

For example, when you feel things are going south in your day, think about one time you reached a milestone and were proud of yourself.

Notice how your energy shifts and how you start subbing those negative phrases with more affirming and inspiring messages.

4) Fillers

“Um, you know…”

Using fillers like “um” and “you know” is totally normal in casual conversations. But if you use them too much, you might give the impression that you’re unsure about what you’re saying.

Think about it; these fillers can divert your listeners’ attention from the main point you’re trying to get across.

To tackle this, you can work on reducing your use of these fillers by structuring your thoughts ahead of time.

It’s perfectly okay to take a moment to gather your ideas before continuing to speak. By doing this, you’ll be able to establish more meaningful connections with your audience.

As a result, you’ll ensure that your listeners remain actively engaged in the content you’re sharing.

5) Slang

7 phrases that make you sound less classy than you are 2 7 phrases that make you sound less classy than you are

“Bro! That’s crazy!”

A longer, riskier filler is slang.

I’ve got a confession to make. That whole idea of me being a hip millennial? Well, that goes out the window every time I dive into TikTok videos.

Why, you ask? 

Because I’m constantly decoding the latest slang that those Gen Z and Alpha folks are throwing around. 

Let me tell you. It can be pretty frustrating.

Sure, we want to “slay” every conversation we are a part of, but try putting yourself in your listeners’ shoes. They might not grasp the intended meaning when you use slang.

Showing off your linguistic flair with slang instead of standard language might up the odds of being misunderstood because:

  • It could accidentally spread stereotypes or come off as culturally insensitive
  • It is often context-dependent and can be misinterpreted
  • It might reduce your credibility by making you seem less serious or knowledgeable

In other words, when you let go of slang in your convos, you’ll ensure your communication stays inclusive, where everyone can understand your message.

6) Sorry

“I am sorry, but…”

Classy people know their worth and are careful with their choice of words. That is why they only apologize when necessary.

When you unnecessarily apologize to people, you give the impression that you lack the confidence to know when you are actually in the wrong. 

You might unintentionally diminish your authority and sense of self-worth. It’s like giving away pieces of your power when you don’t need to. 

Some key things you should not say sorry for are: 

  •   Things that are out of your control
  •   When asking for something
  •   The way you look
  •    The emotions you have

7) Extreme Words

“That’s horrible!”

Being confident and classy goes hand in hand with composure. 

When you can maintain a cool and collected attitude, especially in tough situations, that’s where your true strength shines. 

It is your secret superpower – keeping cool when things get rough. It’s like having an unshakeable shield that lets you handle challenges gracefully. 

And here’s a trick: using neutral language is like having a magic wand that prevents unnecessary drama. 

Whether at work, dealing with your partner, or just chilling at home, this approach stops misunderstandings, overreactions, and all that stress from creeping into the convo. 

So, instead of dropping a bomb like, “The meeting was horrible!” you can switch gears to, “The meeting was challenging.” It’s a small tweak that makes a big difference.

Remember to steer clear of those heavy-duty words like “the worst,” “catastrophic,” “awful,” “unbearable,” and “glorious.” 

These words can jack up the drama factor. And who needs that, right?

By doing this, you’re setting the stage for logical and constructive conversations. And trust me, your audience will be happy to join in and share their thoughts. 

It is all about keeping your convo smooth and helpful.

Final thought

Language remains a trusted barometer for classiness. When you know your worth, words cannot betray you.

In short, your language acts as both a mirror and a shield.

It reflects your confidence and self-respect while deflecting any attempts to shake that foundation.

When you choose your words with care and poise, you’re not just communicating — you’re shaping perceptions, asserting your worth, and maintaining finesse.

Picture of Lily Gareth

Lily Gareth

Beirut-based writer with a flair for all that is artistic. Follow her on Instagram: @raysofdisarrays

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