8 signs you’re genuinely a classy person, according to psychology

Having class isn’t just about wearing nice clothes and having good taste.

It’s more about how you hold yourself and your consideration towards others.

According to Britanicca, a classy person is someone who puts high standards on the way they act.

It’s not about being a people-pleaser nor being fake, but being well-mannered enough to not bother others by your presence.

Want to know if you’re genuinely classy?

Here are 8 signs that you are, according to psychology.

1) You’re self-aware

Self-awareness is a prerequisite of class.

You simply can’t be classy if you’re not aware and considerate of how your behavior affects others.

According to research, “self-awareness is the extent to which people are consciously aware of their internal states and their interactions or relationships with others.”

At a dinner party, someone just started firing questions at one of the guests, and when the person wouldn’t answer (or didn’t answer fast enough), she’d ask another question. 

While her intentions might not have been evil, bombarding people with questions just to satisfy one’s curiosity—even if it makes others uncomfortable— is not classy at all. 

Not only that, they weren’t even close to the person and the questions were too private!

The genuinely classy person would notice everyone’s discomfort and shift the convo to make things more pleasant—perhaps they’d do it by complimenting the host on the dessert because it reminded her childhood favorite dish. 

Pretty soon everyone was sharing delightful stories of their childhood favorite dish—subtly and expertly steered by the genuinely classy person.

If your self-awareness and consideration for everyone makes your company pleasurable and memorable, you’re definitely genuinely classy.

2) You’re mindful of your body language 

For a classy person, mindfulness of how they move matters because they know the impact of it on themselves and other people.

According to research by psychologists on non-verbal communication, body language can help us communicate our message better and even improve relationships. 

Do you smile encouragingly when a friend looks anxious?

Do you give a tap on the shoulder’s colleague after their presentation?

Then you’re definitely classier than most!

On the other hand, a person who isn’t mindful of their body language—who just crosses their arms, or leans their head on their hand when they’re slightly bored—is not as classy.

Why? 

Research shows that one’s posture and movement not only affects how a person is perceived, but also others’ mood and well-being.

For instance, a genuinely classy person will maintain a straight posture because slouching will not only make them lose concentration, the person speaking may lose confidence too. 

The genuinely classy person knows that actions speak louder than words. 

So even if they say the talk was interesting, if they were slouching throughout, it will be perceived as boredom.

3) You always choose to do the right thing

Nothing is more un-classy than being morally corrupt.

And genuinely classy people have integrity defined as “the quality of moral consistency, honesty, and truthfulness with oneself and others,” by the American Psychological Association.

An ex-friend seemed like a classy person, until I saw them shift their stance and actions based on whose side they will benefit more from.

A genuinely classy person always upholds what is good and aligned with their conscience.

Doing what is right is more important than reaping benefits for one’s self.

If your words match your actions and vice versa, you’re genuinely classy.

4) You stay away from drama

  • Do you avoid listening or talking about rumors? 
  • Do you avoid people who backstab people in their circles?
  • Do you steer conversations away from talking about other people’s private lives? 
  • Do you stay away from gossipers? 
  • Do you gracefully decline provocations?
  • Do you maintain composure and avoid emotional outbursts even triggered?

If your answer is “Hell yeah!” to all of the above, you’re likely a genuinely classy person who is worlds apart from the drama-makers. 

According to research, while gossiping can lead to low self-esteem because it makes someone feel connected, long-term, most people perceive gossipers negatively. 

This is why genuinely classy people avoid engaging in drama and gossip.

They know that even though it may feel good momentarily, it’s not good for them, and the people around them.

Genuinely classy people choose to handle conflict upfront and they choose to never talk about others negatively.

5) You are generous

kind and compassionate 8 signs you're genuinely a classy person, according to psychology

Ever noticed that the most generous person in a circle of friends isn’t always the richest?

That’s because generosity is more than just about money, and genuinely classy people understand this.

According to the Science of Generosity of Initiative, it’s “the virtue of giving good things to others freely and abundantly…money, possessions, time, attention, aid, encouragement, emotional availability, and more” 

For instance, the genuinely classy person will not just go to a dinner empty handed. They’ll bring a bottle of wine, or a thoughtful dish no matter their budget. 

And if they notice that the guests don’t have help, they volunteer to help clear the dishes, continuing the conversation as they go.

In contrast, people who lack class will enjoy themselves so much and overextend until it’s so late. And when they finally leave, they leave the already exhausted hosts with all the clean up.

6) You’re good at regulating your emotions

Ever noticed how someone’s bad mood can often affect the people around them? 

This is one behavior of people who lack class. 

According to the Cornell Research Program, class is having a variety of emotion regulation strategies and being able to apply them to different situations appropriate to different environments.

It’s not that genuinely classy people never get irritated or annoyed. They just have more tools to regulate their emotions that allow them to respond even to the most difficult situations.

Genuinely classy people:

  • Take several deep breaths before engaging with others
  • Take a moment to center and calm down before going back into a conversation
  • Dab a bit of lavender essential oil when you’re feeling rushed
  • Or look up the trees and the sky to center your mind
  • Take care of their physical health, sleep well, and manage their stress

In contrast people who cuss, fume or roll their eyes lack this knowledge and capacity.

So if you want to be a genuinely classy person, upgrade your emotion regulation strategies.

7) You say “No” to the things that don’t lift you up

The genuinely classy person doesn’t ever seem to look frazzled or drained. In fact, they always look fresh!

Their secret? 

They decline invites to things that don’t lift them up. 

Researchers on the power of saying “no” recommend it to improve mental health, productivity, and personal fulfillment.

So if you are selective of where you give your energy and time to, you’re definitely a classy person. 

If you decline with kindness, you’re doing yourself a favor.

You see, it’s not just about having more money to flaunt, it’s about the energy you put out.

While people-pleasers feel spread too thin and stressed, genuinely classy people give off an energy that feels both spacious and grounded.

And they were able to do that because they had sufficient emotional intelligence to cultivate the art of saying no.

8) You don’t over apologize (you say thank you instead)

You both arrive late at a gathering and yet everyone smiles at you, while people start distancing around them. 

Was it because you dressed better? Or you had a better smile? 

The thing is, according to psychology, “When we shift from apologizing to expressing gratitude, we increase warm and positive feelings, allowing us to connect deeper to others.”

And this is a technique genuinely classy people have mastered. 

Rather than giving excuses for being late, you say, “I deeply appreciate you waiting for me and making the adjustments on my behalf.” 

As a colleague, if a genuinely classy person makes a mistake and someone corrects it, they’ll say, “Thank you for noticing my error and taking time to correct it before our client presentation. The corrections were brilliant.”

So that rather than getting annoyed for losing sleep, you make other people feel appreciated and recognized for their time, effort, and skills.

Final thoughts

Being a genuinely classy person is simple really—it’s when you’re considerate of yourself and others’ in equal measure. 

And while it can be tough to balance one’s needs with others, you’ve mastered this!

To live life honoring one’s self and the people around them is the genuinely classy person’s practice, and everyone around them is often filled with awe at how they manage this feat. 

With all the challenges day-by-day, it’s easy to be crass and inconsiderate, but the genuinely classy person has cultivated a life of relationships where they gracefully give as much as they receive.

Picture of Pearl Nash

Pearl Nash

Pearl Nash has years of experience writing relationship articles for single females looking for love. After being single for years with no hope of meeting Mr. Right, she finally managed to get married to the love of her life. Now that she’s settled down and happier than she’s ever been in her life, she's passionate about sharing all the wisdom she's learned over the journey. Pearl is also an accredited astrologer and publishes Hack Spirit's daily horoscope.

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