16 Signs A Lack Of Class Is Holding You Back

16 Signs A Lack Of Class Is Holding You Back Shutterstock

We often think of class as a matter of money or social status, but true class runs deeper. Certain behaviors and attitudes can subtly undermine your image and repel connections. Here are some of the hidden pitfalls and most egregious social etiquette errors that sabotage your success, career, and relationships.

1. You talk about money… a lot.


Constantly bragging about how much you make, how much you spent on something, or dropping not-so-subtle hints about your financial status comes across as tacky. People with true class understand that wealth is not a measure of character and don’t feel the need to flaunt it. Plus, as research cited by Business Insider notes, bragging about your bank balance doesn’t exactly help you make friends. Focus on meaningful conversations instead of turning every interaction into a show of material possessions. After all, bragging about your expensive watch might get a few glances, but it’s a genuine connection that’s truly priceless.

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2. You’re chronically late.

Disrespecting other people’s time is a surefire way to signal a lack of class. It shows that you don’t value other people or think their schedules are as important as yours. If you want to be respected, make punctuality a priority. Being on time demonstrates consideration and earns you a reputation as a dependable person. Plus, a little punctuality might save you from the embarrassment of those frantic “running late!” texts that nobody likes to receive.

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3. You’re a sore loser (and a worse winner).

Nobody likes a person who throws a tantrum when they don’t get their way. Learn to lose gracefully – congratulate your opponent and reflect on what you can do better next time. And if you win, do so with humility. Don’t gloat or rub your victory in someone’s face – it’s just poor sportsmanship. Remember, whether you win or lose, showing good sportsmanship makes you a champion in everyone’s eyes.

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4. You think service staff are beneath you.

Treating waiters, cashiers, or anyone in the service industry with rudeness or disdain is an instant red flag. People with class understand that everyone deserves respect regardless of their job title. Be polite, be patient, and remember that a simple “please” and “thank you” go a long way in showing your character. And honestly, being kind to the person making your coffee is just a good way to start your day.

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5. You don’t own up to your mistakes.

To err is human, and everyone makes mistakes from time to time. What separates classy people is their willingness to admit when they’re wrong. Avoid deflecting blame or making excuses. A sincere apology demonstrates maturity and a willingness to take responsibility for your actions. And while admitting you messed up might sting in the moment, it builds far more respect than stubbornly denying the obvious.

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6. You’re always the center of attention.

Happy multi-ethnic group of people laughing at the restaurant

Constantly hijacking conversations to talk about yourself, one-upping other people’s stories, or needing all eyes on you is a recipe for social disaster. Classy people are good listeners; they let other people shine and make space for everyone to be heard. They understand that true connections are built on a foundation of mutual interest. Besides, sometimes stepping back and letting someone else take the spotlight can lead to fascinating conversations you might have missed if you were dominating the stage.

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7. Your table manners could use some polishing.

Chewing with your mouth open, talking while eating, or being oblivious to basic cutlery etiquette makes dining with you an unappetizing experience. True class isn’t about memorizing a thousand fussy rules but demonstrating common courtesy and respect at the table. Take some time to brush up on those dining basics. Because let’s face it, nobody enjoys watching someone wrestle with their spaghetti or loudly slurp their soup.

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8. You’re quick to judge others.

People of class focus on understanding rather than judging. They don’t jump to conclusions based on appearances or spread rumors based on gossip. Keep an open mind and remember that everyone has their own story that you might not fully see. Plus, constantly judging others takes up valuable mental space that could be better spent on self-improvement or finding the good in folks.

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9. You kiss and tell.

A smiling elegant African-American female using her smartphone while sitting on the cozy sofa in the living room.

Bragging about your romantic or sexual conquests is the ultimate classless faux pas. It’s disrespectful to the people involved and shows a complete lack of discretion. True class means respecting the privacy of others and never using your personal life as a tool to boost your own ego. After all, the most exciting stories are often the ones you keep to yourself anyway.

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10. You overshare on social media.

As The Guardian points out, oversharing comes in many forms. Oversharing rants, airing your dirty laundry, or posting excessively personal information online tells the world that you lack boundaries and good judgment. Classy people use social media with restraint, carefully curating their online presence. Remember, not everything needs to be shared. And think twice before airing your grievances online – a face-to-face conversation often yields far better results than a public rant.

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11. You never send thank-you notes.

In a world of texts and emails, taking the time to write a handwritten thank-you note shows exceptional class. Whether it’s for a gift, a job interview, or a helping hand, expressing gratitude demonstrates thoughtfulness and appreciation. Besides, putting pen to paper in this digital age is a refreshing act of sincerity that makes the recipient feel truly valued.

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12. You make promises you can’t keep.

Flaky behavior is frustrating and erodes trust. If you say you’re going to do something, do it. People of class are reliable and follow through on their word. Don’t make promises lightly, and if you absolutely have to change plans, do it respectfully and with plenty of notice. Remember, actions speak louder than words, and consistently breaking promises sends a loud message that you don’t respect others’ time.

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13. You don’t RSVP.

Ignoring an invitation, whether you plan to attend or not, is inconsiderate and rude. A simple “yes” or “no” helps the host plan accordingly and shows basic respect for their effort. Make a habit of responding promptly, and your hosts will love you for it. After all, event planning is stressful enough without having to chase down guests for a simple headcount.

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14. You’re a name-dropper.

skeptical looking man talking to woman

Bragging about your connections to important or famous people reeks of insecurity. Classy people don’t feel the need to advertise their associations; they let their accomplishments and personality speak for themselves. Focus on building genuine relationships, not using people as status symbols. Plus, chances are, the people you’re name-dropping are equally unimpressed by your attempts to use their clout.

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15. You hold grudges.

Clinging to resentment hurts you more than anyone else. People with class know that forgiveness isn’t about condoning bad behavior but about freeing yourself from negativity. If possible, try to resolve conflicts gracefully. If not, focus on moving on rather than stewing in bitterness. And let’s be honest, holding a grudge is exhausting – let go of that extra baggage and feel the weight lift from your shoulders.

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16. You trash-talk your exes.

Badmouthing your former partners speaks volumes about your own character and not theirs. Even if the relationship ended badly, keeping the details private shows maturity and restraint. Classy people don’t stoop to the level of petty gossip – they take the high road. Besides, ranting about your ex to anyone who’ll listen just makes you look a little bitter, and bitterness isn’t a good look on anyone.

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Phoebe Mertens is a writer, speaker, and strategist who has helped dozens of female-founded and led companies reach success in areas such a finance, tech, science, and fashion. Her keen eye for detail and her innovative approach to modern womanhood makes her one of the most sought-out in her industry, and there's nothing she loves more than to see these companies shine.

With an MBA from NYU's Stern School of Business and features in Forbes and Fast Company she Phoebe has proven she knows her stuff. While she doesn't use social media, she does have a private Instagram just to look at pictures of cats.