If someone displays these 11 behaviors, they lack class and humility

by Isabel Cabrera | February 13, 2024, 1:36 pm

Class is a tricky concept. Partly, that’s because in English, the word class can mean several different things.

I’m not talking about social class, which describes what strata of society you live in and is based primarily on wealth.

Instead, I’m talking about classy behavior.

When it comes to being classy, elegant manners and behavior are certainly part of it. But ultimately, being classy is about understanding the effect your actions have on others and doing everything in your power to make life easier for them.

On the flipside, plenty of people out there wouldn’t know class if it smacked them in the face. Which, of course, it never would.

Keep an eye out for these behaviors from the people around you. Because they are a sure sign of people who lack class.

1) Bragging

In many ways, class and humility are linked.

Being classy means not putting yourself first. It means you don’t constantly try to draw attention to yourself. It means you respect the views and comfort of other people as much as you do your own.

Boasting and bragging is the opposite of all that.

In fact, bragging is one of the least classy things you can do.

Psychology professor Joachim Kreuger writes that bragging seeks approval from the audience without offering anything in return. That’s why most people react negatively to it.

When someone brags, they are forcing their opinions on everyone around them and giving nothing back. That’s what makes it one of the least classy things you can do.

2) Lacking manners

I once had the fortune of eating in one of the world’s best restaurants. I don’t come from money, so it was a new experience for me. And when the highly-trained waiter laid out an astonishing array of cutlery in front of me, I had no idea which spoon I was supposed to use when.

In other words, I didn’t have the necessary manners for the environment I was in.

What the waiter did next was extremely classy. 

He removed all cutlery from the table except what I needed for each individual course to make sure I didn’t make a mistake. And at no point did he say anything or imply in any way that I was inferior for not knowing how to act.

What I’m trying to say is that although manners change from one situation to another, class means adapting to the situation to make sure other people are comfortable.

It means avoiding things like:

  • chewing gum
  • spitting
  • talking loudly
  • breaking wind in public
  • chewing with your mouth open
  • putting your feet up on the table

We live in a far less formal society than the ones our grandparents knew. But manners are timeless, and a sure sign of someone with class.

3) Being argumentative

There’s not much worse than getting in an argument with someone in public.

Being around conflict makes everyone uncomfortable, and by getting into an argument, you force everyone around you to sit through an unpleasant situation.

That’s about the least classy thing you can do.

That doesn’t mean you can’t stand up for your opinions or that you have to hide what you know. You can clearly and calmly state your own views when they’re being criticized. 

But if someone is trying to pick a fight, the classy thing to do is to walk away.

By continuing to try to argue with you, the person will only display their own lack of class and humility.

4) Being close-minded

At its heart, being classy involves recognizing that other people are just as important as you are, and that even if they live different lives, they are worthy of your respect.

That naturally means staying open-minded to the viewpoints and feelings of others.

On the other hand, being close-minded is a sure sign of someone who lacks class and humility. Instead, they think their own views are so important and correct that they refuse to even consider the views of others.

5) Being inconsiderate

Part of being considered as having good manners, like I mentioned earlier. But also, being classy means considering the feelings and experiences of others in a number of different ways.

And when you are inconsiderate, you display your own lack of class immediately.

I’m talking about things like:

  • talking loudly on the phone in a quiet train compartment
  • letting a door swing shut in someone’s face
  • pushing your way to the front of the line
  • neglecting to ask someone about a problem you know they are having in their own life
  • not listening to people when they share their emotions with you

Behaviors like these are a way of telling the people around you that they don’t matter to you. Maybe that’s not your intention, but that’s definitely how it comes across. 

And there’s nothing less classy than that.

6) Talking about themselves all the time

Some people’s favorite subject of conversation is always going to be themselves.

I’m not saying you can never talk about yourself. If you have an amusing anecdote to share or an experience that can help you relate to other people, go ahead.

But make sure you’re not monopolizing the conversation and only talking about yourself.

Psychologist Robert N Kraft writes that over-talking can be a sign of someone who thinks they have higher status than everyone else in the group they are talking to.

That’s a sure way to make people think you lack class and humility.

7) Gossiping

You know what else isn’t classy? Talking about people behind their backs.

That doesn’t mean we don’t all do it from time to time.

But if classy behavior is a way of showing people that you respect and recognize them as having the same value as you, talking about them behind their back is a way of demonstrating the opposite.

People who constantly talk about others – especially if they usually say negative things – reveal more about themselves than they do about those they are talking about.

And what they reveal mostly is that they have no class at all.

8) Losing control of their emotions

A short fuse is not a good look on anyone.

Sometimes, we all lose control of our emotions. But routinely doing that in public is a sure sign of someone who lacks class.

Emotional outbursts in public settings make other people extremely uncomfortable, which is why classy people try to avoid them at all costs.

If someone has no problem forcing their emotions on everybody around them, it probably means they have no class.

9) Being competitive

Some people just can’t help competing with others.

If you have a story about a great vacation, they have a better one. If you have a good job, theirs is better.

If you had a terrible ex, they had a worse one.

Sometimes called conversational narcissism, this is the urge some people have to outdo everybody else they are talking to. And like most things people who lack class do, it’s a not-so-secret cry for attention from other people.

10) Disrespecting people

There are lots of different ways to disrespect someone. But at their heart, they all come from a lack of empathy and appreciation of that person as someone worthy of respect.

The classy thing to do when meeting others is to make them feel comfortable, at ease, and as though they are the most important person in the room.

On the other hand, people without class will constantly disrespect others. 

They may make jokes at their expense, belittle their achievements, make disparaging remarks about their life choices, or just generally be rude and dismissive.

11) Being tasteless

Tase is something that varies from one person to the next.

On the other hand, being tasteless is more or less universal.

Just the other day, I saw someone wearing a T-shirt that said ‘f*ck’ in huge letters on the back, followed by a dictionary definition of the swearword.

That’s tasteless.

We all know that word and what it means. But we don’t use it around people we barely know. If something could cause offense to strangers, the classy thing to do is not to say it.

People who lack class will often do tasteless things for shock value, or because they don’t know any better.

Wearing tasteless clothes covered in swearwords or obscene images is a sure sign of someone who lacks class, sophistication, or the basic consideration for other people not to expose them to things they may not like.

Class is about behavior

And how you treat the people around you tells them everything they need to know about you.

Having class and humility means behaving in a way that makes other people comfortable.

And people who display the behaviors listed above reveal nothing more clearly than their own lack of class.

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