People Who Lack Class and Sophistication Usually Display These 10 Traits (Without Realizing It)

People Who Lack Class and Sophistication Usually Display These 10 Traits (Without Realizing It)

Class and sophistication are about more than the clothes you wear or the words you use. Actual class comes from how you treat others and carry yourself. It’s reflected in your manners, etiquette, and consideration for those around you.

While most people try to display class and good character, some fall short without even realizing it. They may unintentionally act in ways that come across as crass, disrespectful, or inconsiderate. Here are ten traits that tend to indicate someone who lacks class and social grace:

1. Dressing Inappropriately

Classy individuals understand the importance of dressing appropriately for the occasion. They would never wear shorts and a t-shirt to a formal wedding or show up at the opera in ripped jeans. Dressing too casually for the circumstance, wearing clothes that don’t fit properly, or neglecting essential grooming shows a lack of respect for the event and the other guests.

Sophisticated people also avoid clothing that is overly revealing or sends an inappropriate message. They err on the side of understated elegance rather than overt flashiness. When in doubt, they opt to be slightly overdressed rather than underdressed.

2. Displaying Poor Table Manners

Nothing screams “unrefined,” like someone eating with their mouth open, slurping their soup, or using the wrong fork at a fancy dinner. People with class follow basic dining etiquette, such as placing their napkins on their lap, chewing with their mouths closed, and not gesticulating wildly with their utensils.

They would never talk with food in their mouth, make loud or rude noises while eating, or use their fingers to eat something that should be consumed with silverware. They also understand the basics of table settings and know which utensils or glasses to use for each course.

3. Using Crude Language

There’s a time and a place for colorful language, but classy individuals know to keep profanity and crude remarks to a minimum in professional and social settings. They speak politely, avoiding crass jokes, off-color comments, and insensitive or prejudiced language. They especially avoid cursing in front of elders, children, or people they don’t know well.

This isn’t to say that classy people never swear, but they have the social awareness to turn it off around those who might find it distasteful or offensive. They also resist the urge to pepper every sentence with foul language to seem edgy or harsh.

4. Being Disrespectful

Respect and consideration for others are hallmarks of class and sophistication. People who constantly interrupt, talk over others, or disregard what someone else is saying come across as rude and crass. Classy individuals, in contrast, are active and attentive listeners. They wait their turn to speak and acknowledge the other person’s input.

Respectful people also consider others’ boundaries, personal space, and privacy. They wouldn’t dream of asking overly personal questions, touching someone without permission, or snooping through someone’s phone or belongings. They treat everyone with courtesy, from service workers to CEOs.

5. Always Being Late

They are punctual and show respect for others and their time. Sophisticated individuals aim to be on time or a few minutes early for meetings, appointments, and social engagements whenever possible. If they are running late, they inform the other parties immediately.

In contrast, people who lack class have a more cavalier attitude about punctuality. They leave others waiting without apology, show up late to events, or fail to show up at all with no notice. This behavior suggests they think their time is more valuable than anyone else’s.

6. Drinking to Excess

There’s nothing wrong with enjoying an adult beverage in moderation, but overindulging to the point of drunkenness is unbecoming. It often leads to sloppy, boorish, or risky behavior that classy people avoid. Getting drunk also impairs your judgment and causes you to lose your social filter.

Sophisticated individuals drink responsibly and know their limits. They sip their cocktail slowly rather than guzzling it, alternate between alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, and never pressure others to imbibe more than they want to. If they do accidentally overdo it, they have the sense to call a cab rather than get behind the wheel.

7. Gossiping and Rumor-Mongering

People with class build others up rather than tear them down. They avoid speaking ill of people behind their backs, sharing second-hand rumors, or betraying someone’s trust by divulging their secrets. They certainly don’t participate in petty drama, gang up on others, or ostracize those they dislike.

When tempted to say something negative about someone, they ask themselves if they would comment directly to the person. If not, they refrain. They also tactfully shut down destructive gossip when others engage in it.

8. Humblebragging and One-upping

Constantly trumpeting your achievements and trying to one-up others in conversation is tacky. People with class are confident in themselves and don’t feel the need to prove their worth by bragging or making everything about them. They humbly share their successes and take a genuine interest in other people’s accomplishments.

Sophisticated individuals also resist the urge to humblebrag or fish for compliments by disguising a boast as a complaint (“I have so many emails from recruiters, I don’t know how I’ll get through them all!”). They understand this false modesty is transparent and off-putting.

9. Making Cultural Gaffes

We live in a diverse, multicultural world. Classy people embrace this by learning about different cultures and being mindful of cultural differences. They would never make a crass joke based on cultural stereotypes, use an offensive slur, or mock someone’s accent, traditional garb, or religious customs.

Cultural sophistication involves broadening one’s mind, expanding one’s horizons, and respecting perspectives and traditions that may be unfamiliar to one. Worldly individuals also know to research local customs and etiquette before traveling to a foreign country to avoid being rude or uncouth.

10. Dominating the Conversation

People with class value reciprocity in their conversations and relationships. They don’t steamroll others or make everything about themselves. They ask questions, listen as much as they talk, and show genuine interest in the other person’s thoughts and feelings.

In contrast, people who lack social grace tend to ramble on without letting anyone else get a word in edgewise. They deliver monologues rather than dialogues and hardly pause for breath. When they allow the other person to speak, they quickly turn the conversation back to themselves. They may also be “Debbie Downers” who complain constantly and inject negativity into every interaction.

Case Study: Amanda’s Journey to Sophistication

Amanda, a 28-year-old aspiring actress, has always struggled with social graces. She often commits faux pas at auditions and industry events, which hinders her career progress. Amanda frequently wears inappropriately casual attire to essential meetings, uses crude language in conversations, and inadvertently interrupts others while they are speaking.

Recognizing that her lack of sophistication was holding her back, Amanda decided to take action. She began by observing the behavior of successful actresses she admired and noted how they carried themselves with poise and elegance. Amanda started dressing appropriately for different occasions, paying attention to her grooming, and practicing active listening during conversations.

As Amanda worked on self-improvement, she also focused on expanding her cultural horizons. She made a point to learn about different customs and traditions, which helped her avoid making insensitive comments or cultural gaffes. Amanda also started attending theater workshops and networking events, where she practiced her newfound social skills and made valuable industry connections.

Over time, Amanda’s efforts paid off. Her improved sophistication and social graces did not go unnoticed by casting directors and fellow actors. She began landing more auditions and even secured a recurring role on a popular television series. Amanda’s journey to sophistication enhanced her personal life and significantly impacted her career success in the competitive world of acting.

Key Takeaways

  • Actual class and sophistication come from how you treat others and carry yourself, not superficial markers like designer clothes or a posh accent.
  • Dressing inappropriately for the occasion, such as wearing overly casual or revealing clothing to a formal event, indicates a lack of social awareness and respect.
  • Using crude language or telling crass jokes in mixed company is a quick way to appear uncouth and unrefined.
  • Interrupting others, neglecting to say “please” and “thank you,” and violating people’s boundaries are all hallmarks of a lack of class.
  • Being chronically late disrespects others’ time and is not a good look.
  • Overindulging in alcohol to the point of sloppy drunkenness is the opposite of sophisticated.
  • Engaging in mean-spirited gossip, rumor-mongering, and talking behind people’s backs is a big no-no.
  • Constantly bragging about your accomplishments and trying to one-up others in conversation screams insecurity, not class.
  • Making insensitive jokes or comments about other cultures and traditions is crass and ignorant. Cultural sophistication means educating yourself and being respectful of diversity.
  • Dominating conversations, neglecting to ask others questions, and constantly complaining are not classy behaviors.
  • Class is about treating all people with dignity, kindness, and respect regardless of their societal position.


Class and sophistication aren’t about being arrogant, elitist, or perfect. We all have our off days and less-than-refined moments. However, classy people are self-aware enough to realize when they’ve breached social etiquette and handle it with grace (a sincere apology can go a long way).

Above all, class is about treating all people with kindness, compassion, and respect, regardless of their background or social status. By embodying these principles in your daily interactions, you’ll exude an effortless air of gentility no designer handbag can replicate.