Many readers of my books and website email me privately on how to be classy.
Being “classy” is an art, and sometimes the circumstances in which you have been brought up in makes ‘being classy’ easier and more natural.
Nevertheless, with the power of internet and some years of observation, I’m happy to share in my opinion the top five tips of being classy.
1. Treat everyone as an equal
Henry Higgins from ‘My Fair Lady’ once said, there are no ‘good manners’ or ‘bad manners’, only one manner. You have to have the same “manner” towards everyone, regardless of wealth or social status. You’ll only be very average and common if you save your best manners for someone important, like say the President.
Speak to the janitor as you would to a VIP. Never demand your request on service staff or the hotel receptionist. Do not gush or laugh a little louder just because the person you are speaking to is “somebody”. Do not lower or elevate yourself, by speaking down or pretending to be humble, or worse yet, try to impress.
2. Be kind, considerate and thoughtful of others at all times
Sounds too easy right? But being classy is always thinking of others before yourself in every area of your life.
The person who is classy will always be on time, because he does not want to make his guest wait.
She is properly dressed at all time because she not want to convey sloppiness – which translates to “I don’t think you are important enough for me to make an effort.”
If you spilled coffee on her favourite white sweater, she will make light of it because she values your feelings more than material things.
His or her speech is always gracious because complaining always ruins someone’s mood.
3. Quality over Quantity
To be classy, it essential to develop the taste and eye for quality. To value quality requires discipline to seek the best in life, be it clothes or books or food.
She does not take shortcuts and takes pride to be the best of herself and so treats herself the best. There is a misguided mindset that we need to be able to afford a lot to be able to enjoy quality. However, if we forgo quantity and buy less, we’ll soon realize that we can enjoy quality too.
Taking shortcuts would be akin to eating rubbish just to get by, instead of holding out and spending that same amount at a supermarket, picking out the freshest ingredients. If one finds that he or see lacks the time for quality, they have to exercise discipline and omit non-productive time consuming activities and devote themselves to greater quality pursuits.
4. Education and Self-Improvement
To be classy is to seek understanding of yourself, of others and the world. How else can you be of a useful and contributing member of society?
To be classy is to be interested in others, in the world, in things that are going on or that have gone before. So the classy person would pursue education in areas of his or her interest. Reading is a main stay hobby for intellectual pursuits and so are sports because it develops character. Travel is valued because it expands horizons and gives perspective. It engages understanding on culture from the new exotic foods to appreciating its music and architecture. Travel develops a certain sophistication which is beneficial on so many levels.
However, education and self-improvement are not seen as a chore. It is enjoyed, pursued relentlessly as a mean of personal challenge. Great personal satisfaction is derived from it.
5. To be Classy is To Contribute to Society
You’ll often find the classy person a generous person.
To live for only yourself is a small and a rather unhappy way to live. To be classy is to find a way to give, to contribute and make the world a better place. It could be volunteering at a charity, serving in church or simply donating and following a cause. The ones who have more resources tend to find a need, an injustice and devote lots of effort to pioneer a cause.
So yes, here are my top five tips on being classy. For more information on how to be classy, please check the resource box. All the best and good luck!