13 phrases that reveal you’re more cultured than you realize

“Cultured” – a term often conjuring images of aristocratic refinement, of galleries, symphonies, and grand libraries.

But in reality, it isn’t about flaunting a highbrow lifestyle or a repertoire of foreign phrases.

It’s about curiosity, a hunger for knowledge, and an openness to different perspectives.

Many of us unknowingly harbor these cultured attributes, as reflected in the simple phrases we use in everyday conversation.

Let’s pull back the curtain and explore how our words may reveal a culture connoisseur within us.

1) “I love the variety in life.”

When someone says, “I love the variety in life,” it’s a cue that they’re not averse to embracing diversity—in culture, in experiences, and even in thought.

It reflects a person who enjoys exploring different cuisines, listening to varied music genres, or even engaging in a range of hobbies.

Their life is a mosaic, an exciting fusion of the familiar and the new.

This openness to variety is a definitive sign of a cultured mindset—one that seeks to learn from every facet of life’s vibrant spectrum.

2) “I would love to hear your perspective.”

Our next phrase, “I would love to hear your perspective,” suggests a readiness to listen to others, to understand their thoughts, ideas, and experiences.

It’s a sign of respect for the diversity of human thought and a clear indicator of a broad-minded individual.

This phrase is not merely about being polite; it shows genuine interest in other people’s worldviews.

By actively seeking out different perspectives, a person demonstrates a well-rounded understanding and appreciation of the diverse cultural contexts and experiences that shape us.

3) “That reminds me of [insert book, movie, artwork, historical event].”

Now, imagine hearing the phrase, “That reminds me of a story I read,” or “This scene is just like in that movie.”

These remarks may seem offhand, but they’re indicative of an enriched mind, one that has been well-nourished with books, films, art, and history.

The ability to draw parallels from different spheres of cultural knowledge and apply them in day-to-day conversations is a subtle hint of a cultured individual.

This demonstrates a conscious effort to consume and reflect on various forms of cultural media, contributing to a richer, more meaningful dialogue.

4) “I’ve been teaching myself about different cultures.”

When someone shares, “I’ve been teaching myself about different cultures,” it’s an acknowledgment of their active pursuit of cultural awareness.

This self-driven curiosity goes beyond passive consumption and shows a real enthusiasm for understanding different societies, traditions, and customs.

It reflects an individual who appreciates the cultural richness of our world, and actively steps out of their comfort zone to delve deeper into the unknown.

In essence, this phrase subtly tells the listener that there is a person who is open-minded and continually evolving.

5) “Do you know a good read about this?”

Our fifth phrase, “Do you know a good read about this?” isn’t merely a request for reading recommendations.

It showcases a passion for learning and a recognition that knowledge can be gained from others.

In this digital age, where instant information is always at our fingertips, asking for a good read shows respect for the written word and the depth of understanding it can offer.

The underlying implication? The speaker values depth over brevity, revealing a cultured individual who acknowledges that the journey of learning is just as important as the destination.

6) “This tastes like something I tried when I was traveling.”

Upon hearing the phrase, “This tastes like something I tried when I was traveling,” you’re given a snapshot into the speaker’s experiences.

It’s an indicator that they’ve not only traveled but also engaged with different cultures through one of the most immersive ways possible—food.

The willingness to try new cuisines, to explore different flavors, and to associate memories with these experiences speaks volumes about an individual’s adventurous spirit.

This also shows an appreciation for global diversity—clear traits of a cultured personality.

7) “I’m really into the layers in this song/painting/book.”

Hearing someone say, “I’m really into the layers in this song/painting/book” can give you a glimpse into their analytical and appreciative mind.

Rather than merely consuming art or media for entertainment, they’re actively exploring the depth and nuances that lie beneath the surface.

They’re engaging with the creator’s message, deciphering hidden meanings, or appreciating the complexity of their craft.

This ability to appreciate different layers of work reflects a discerning and cultured perspective that values the depths of creativity and intellect.

8) “I value experiences over things.”

The sentiment behind the phrase, “I value experiences over things,” is a beacon of a cultured mindset.

It shows an understanding that life’s richness doesn’t lie in material possessions, but rather in the array of experiences one gathers.

It’s an indication that the person seeks out opportunities to learn, grow, and immerse themselves in new settings, rather than amassing material goods.

This preference for experiences mirrors an individual’s desire for self-enrichment and their appreciation for the transformative power of different cultural encounters.

9) “I’d love to discuss this further over a cup of coffee.”

When you hear, “I’d love to discuss this further over a cup of coffee,” you’re not just receiving an invitation for a casual meet-up.

This phrase suggests an eagerness to delve deeper into topics, to exchange thoughts and ideas, and to learn from the conversation.

It reflects an appreciation for intellectual discourse and an enjoyment of stimulating company. 

What it really says is that there is a person who is curious, thoughtful, and enjoys the company of like-minded individuals, qualities that are characteristic of a cultured individual.

10) “I noticed a parallel between these two things.”

The ability to draw parallels, as expressed in the phrase “I noticed a parallel between these two things,” is an indication of analytical thinking and a broad base of knowledge.

It showcases the individual’s ability to connect dots across various domains, be it literature, history, art, or social trends.

It implies that the speaker is observant, thoughtful, and sees the interconnectedness of the world around them, a trait often found in those who are culturally aware and well-read.

11) “I like to challenge my own views.”

The declaration, “I like to challenge my own views,” speaks volumes about a person’s intellectual humility and openness to growth.

It suggests a willingness to question one’s beliefs and assumptions, to entertain opposing views, and to potentially revise one’s stances based on new information. 

Such self-challenging is a sign of a cultured mind that values learning, evolution, and the complexity of human thought.

12) “There’s a subtlety here that’s very interesting.”

zodiac signs with unique personalities everyone secretly admires 13 phrases that reveal you're more cultured than you realize

When someone comments, “There’s a subtlety here that’s very interesting,” it reveals an appreciation for detail and an ability to engage with complexity.

It could be a subtle note in a piece of music, a tiny detail in a work of art, or a nuanced argument in a philosophical discourse.

This keen eye for detail, and the ability to derive joy from it, is a common trait among those who are culturally sophisticated and have cultivated a habit of mindful observation.

13) “This situation feels a lot like what that philosopher once said.”

Finally, relating a current situation to a philosophical thought, as in “This situation feels a lot like what that philosopher once said,” showcases something insightful.

It shows us an individual’s familiarity with philosophical ideas and their ability to apply them in daily life.

This is indicative of an introspective mind that not only consumes but also internalizes and applies the wisdom from such texts.

It reveals an individual who engages deeply with the world of ideas, a telltale sign of a cultured person.

What being cultured says about us

Cultured isn’t a label we brandish; it’s a mindset we cultivate. It’s about how we perceive and interact with the world around us.

I vividly recall my move to Doha, Qatar. As a city teeming with expatriates, Doha was a melting pot of diverse cultures.

The unfamiliar can be daunting, but my past explorations into different cultures provided a stepping stone.

I was excited to experience the rich Qatari heritage firsthand, to taste Machbūs, attend falconry shows, and understand the rhythm of life under the desert sky.

The interactions didn’t stop there. Doha, with its large expat community, presented opportunities to engage with various cultures, from Indian to Filipino, and British to South African.

These interactions allowed me to expand my horizons, gaining insights into their traditions, customs, and cuisines.

My willingness to learn and adapt, founded in my cultured perspective, played a key role in these experiences.

I found myself not merely living in Doha but becoming a part of its vibrant cultural mosaic.

Being cultured, thus, is about incorporating the world’s diverse cultural narratives into our own life stories.

This makes us global citizens and helps us form profound connections, no matter where life takes us.

How to be cultured without being an elitist

Cultivating a cultured perspective doesn’t imply becoming an elitist.

It’s not about distancing oneself in an ivory tower of intellectualism, but rather about growing in understanding, empathy, and openness.

Here are some ways to become more cultured without a hint of elitism:

1) Stay curious

Nurture your curiosity about the world. Explore different cultures, read widely, and never stop learning.

2) Embrace diversity

Show genuine interest in different cultures, traditions, and worldviews. Embrace the beauty of our diverse world.

3) Engage in conversation

Foster conversations with people from varied backgrounds. Everyone has a story to tell, and every story is a learning opportunity.

4) Travel mindfully

Travel is a powerful way to immerse oneself in different cultures. When you do, don’t just visit, experience.

5) Respect others

Treat all cultures and viewpoints with respect. It’s not about comparing or ranking cultures but about appreciating their uniqueness.

Final words

Being cultured is a journey of self-discovery and growth.

It’s not about attaining a sense of superiority or a checklist to complete, but rather a compass guiding us towards empathy, understanding, and broad-mindedness.

It’s about the connections we form with others, the perspectives we gain, and the richer life we lead as a result.

Being cultured is an invitation to embrace the world in its beautiful diversity and a reminder that, in our shared experiences and stories, we’re more alike than we are different.

So, here’s to embarking on this enlightening journey, not as elitists, but as humble learners and global citizens.

Gershom Mabaquiao

Gershom Mabaquiao

Gershom Mabaquiao is a scholar of psychology, oral tradition, and interpersonal relationships. His creative works have been published in Inquirer.net's Young Blood section, The Unconventional Courier, and Tint Journal. He lives in the Philippines with his best friend-turned-partner and their dog, Zuko. Gershom has plans of taking his master's degree in Clinical Psychology to help young adults heal the inner child in each of them.

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