9 signs you’re a high-class person, according to psychology

Class is a funny thing. Partly because the word means two very different things.

I’m not talking here about class in the sense of your economic background or your wealth. I mean it in the sense of classy behavior – which of course has nothing to do with how much money you have in your bank account or what school you went to.

Being a high-class person means having respect for both yourself and for others, and choosing to behave in ways that make life more comfortable and easier for those around you.

Let’s take a look at some of the signs of a high-class person who does exactly that.

1) They have self-confidence

Having confidence in yourself may not seem like it’s important component of being a classy person, but it is.

You see, a big part of having class is showing respect. But it’s hard to respect other people if you don’t respect yourself.

On the other hand, if you do respect yourself, that will almost certainly show itself as a high level of self-confidence.

“Boosting self-confidence makes us more successful, improves our health, and increases our happiness,” writes psychologist Amy Morin.

And the funny thing is, when you believe in yourself and your own abilities, you tend to have a better view of the people around you, too.

Self-confidence is different from being arrogant. Being self-confident just means that you know what you are capable of and won’t allow yourself to be disrespected by others. Usually, that translates into treating others with respect, too.

2) They are emotionally intelligent

Part of what makes someone classy is their emotional intelligence.

Psychologist Kendra Cherry calls emotional intelligence, “the ability to perceive, interpret, demonstrate, control, evaluate, and use emotions to communicate with and relate to others effectively and constructively.”

In other words, being emotionally intelligent means knowing how to understand the emotions of other people.

We are all capable of this to one extent or another. But some of us are better at it than others. As Cherry points out, signs of emotional intelligence include:

  • The ability to identify and describe what other people are feeling;
  • An awareness of personal strengths and limitations;
  • Self-confidence;
  • The ability to embrace change;
  • A sense of curiosity about other people;
  • Feelings of empathy and concern for others.

Emotional intelligence, put simply, helps you be a better person. And there’s nothing classier than that.

3) They are respectful and polite

One of the biggest signs of a high-class person is how they treat others. People with class are always respectful of other people, and are usually unfailingly polite.

That doesn’t mean being a doormat. After all, you have to respect yourself, as well as others.

But it does mean not imposing yourself on other people. It means behaving in public with a sense of respect and consideration for the feelings of those around you.

Every culture has different rules about what is polite and what is not. What matters is that a high-class person will always consider the impact their actions have on those around them.

That means they don’t play loud music in public places, or chew their food noisily with their mouth open. They don’t yell over others or get into arguments. In everything they do, they show their consideration of other people.

4) They show integrity

Another trait high-class people have in spades is integrity.

Psychologists Christopher Peterson and Martin Seligman define integrity like this:

  • The way you behave is consistent with the values you claim to have;
  • You publicly acknowledge your moral convictions, even if they are unpopular;
  • You treat others with care and are sensitive to their needs.

Basically, a high-class person is true to themselves. They don’t change their opinions and views just because other people don’t agree with them. And while they don’t shout their views from the rooftops, they aren’t afraid to stand up for what they believe in.

At the same time, they are sensitive to the needs of others. Their personal integrity means they are usually willing to lend a helping hand when they can.

5) They are open-minded

Few things are less classy than a bigot. On the other hand, being open-minded is a sure sign of a person with class.

That’s because being open-minded requires you to have a baseline level of respect for other people. It means that instead of making up your mind about them based on a few factors, you’ll take the time to appreciate where other people are coming from.

Psychologist and career coach Marty Nemko advises developing open-mindedness by seeking out opposing viewpoints. Not to argue with them and try to persuade them to your side, but to listen to them and try to fully understand why they think the way they do.

It doesn’t mean you’ll agree with them. But it does mean that you will show your class by respecting them as people whose ideas are just as valid as yours.

6) They take care of themselves

personality traits more important to success than intelligence 9 signs you’re a high-class person, according to psychology

Being high-class doesn’t mean being decked out in the latest designer labels and following the trends. But often, taking care of yourself is a good sign of a certain level of class.

After all, having class means behaving in a way that doesn’t inconvenience or upset the people around you. And that can even extend to the way you look and present yourself.

Classy people don’t try to draw attention to themselves, even if they don’t run away from it, either. They usually dress themselves well, which isn’t the same as spending a lot of money on clothes.

It just means taking basic care of your appearance, like wearing clothes that fit and attending to your personal hygiene.

It’s not vanity. Instead, it comes out of a deep respect for others and a desire to present your best self to the world.

7) They are generous

One of the absolute classiest things you can do is be generous.

And there are lots of different ways you can do that.

You can donate money to charity. You can spend your time helping others, whether that means assisting your friends or volunteering at a soup kitchen. You can share your expertise by mentoring people in a field you are an expert in.

It doesn’t matter how you do it. What matters is that generosity shows that you are a classy person with a deep respect for other people.

8) They pursue their goals

Another way high-class people show that class is by being motivated.

Here’s how it works: people with class have a deep respect for others, and for themselves. Also, as I already mentioned, they often have a lot of self-confidence and a high level of emotional intelligence.

These factors set a high-class person up for success.

Because they respect themselves, they won’t settle for second-best. Because they respect others and have a lot of emotional intelligence, people are naturally drawn to them.

And because they are confident, they aren’t afraid to go after what they want.

Being high-class doesn’t mean being wealthy. But often, it does go hand-in-hand with being successful, whatever that means to you.

9) They are socially skilled

Finally, you can often tell a person with a lot of class by their social skills.

This is linked to their high level of emotional intelligence.

Social skills are, “the abilities necessary to get along with others and to create and maintain satisfying relationships,” according to clinical psychologist Eileen Kennedy-Moore.

And this is something classy people often show when dealing with others.

Being open-minded and having a high level of emotional intelligence helps people with class find common ground with just about anyone. And having class means they want to put others at their ease and make them feel understood.

So if you are good at interacting with others, it might be because you are a classy person.

Signs of class

Ultimately, class doesn’t come down to how you dress, what you do for a living, or where you come from.

Instead, it’s all about how you treat others.

And that means that class is something anybody can have.

If you notice these traits in yourself, chances are good you are a high-class person. And if that’s the case, you’ll probably notice it in the way other people interact with you, too.

After all, everybody is drawn to people with these positive traits. So embrace your classy side and enjoy being a person that others can’t help but admire.

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Clifton Kopp

Welcome to my writings on Ideapod! I'm a bit of a "polymath" in that I like writing about many different things. Often I'm learning from the process of writing. I hope you enjoy, and please leave a comment on one of my articles.

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