Choose your battles; choose your friends. Few battles are truly worth fighting. Stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves (mentally disabled, animals, children, etc). Be wary of those who appear to enjoy bickering. If someone is rude to you, either ignore them completely (recommended) or, once you have completely calmed down and are thinking clearly, explain how you perceived their actions and work towards a resolution. Never stoop to their level, and do not be hasty. Surround yourself with positive, polite people who encourage and live your classy, intelligent lifestyle.
- Choose your words. The classy individual listens more than he or she speaks. Having a strong vocabulary is important, but do not use a word unless you are certain of its meaning. Use words to express yourself lucidly. Importantly, do not correct others when they use improper grammar. Differences in background, family life, and education cause people to speak differently, and often people use slang for effect. More than this, it is irritating and degrading to be corrected by a know-it-all. Do not insult, gossip, or slander. When necessary, voice your opinions appropriately and constructively. This encourages your audience to listen carefully when you speak.
- Do not be a doormat. You must be courteous, but do not bend over backwards to please others. If you do, you may find yourself being taken advantage of in the future. Limit your time and availability and draw boundaries with others so that they are aware of your limits.
- Break the stereotype shackles. More often than not, using labels in any way, whether to identify yourself or others, shows a lack of creativity, lethargic social skills, and a lack of careful observation. Give everyone respect and the benefit of the doubt.
- Be assertive. Avoid passive-aggressive thinking; this is likely to trip you up eventually. Assertiveness demonstrates maturity, thoughtfulness, and confidence. Class requires balance, and assertiveness is a prime example of this concept.
- Make sure your clothes fit well and that you are well groomed. Excellent presentation is half of the battle. Wear clothing and accessories which flatter your body and never wear anything you feel uncomfortable in. It is important to remember that modesty is key in earning the respect of others. A bit of cleavage may be fashionable, but true gentlemen will appreciate modesty more than exposure.
- Avoid getting caught up in trends. There is nothing wrong with enjoying fashion or buying clothing you find attractive, but it is important to stay in control. Do not become a slave to fashion, or you may be regarded as foolish, "high maintenance", and/or shallow. The clothing you wear should enhance your personality, not create or alter it. This advice can be applied to many aspects of life in which you may feel pressured to "fit in."
- Avoid desperate behavior like the plague. This is the kiss of death for the classy person. Only desperate times call for desperate measures. Take a deep breath, be strong, and move through the situation with elegance and grace. You will be the victor for it, no matter the outcome.
- Seek wisdom. As difficult as it can be to heed the advice of those more experienced than yourself, it is a necessary step at times. No matter your age or ability, allow yourself to learn from the mistakes and victories of those older or more experienced than you. You will win their favor and be available to pass on your own wisdom or advice.
- Be open to personal development. Do not berate yourself, but be receptive to constructive change. In our world, change is inevitable. Be a positive and flexible part of it and show others the way as well. Face life rather than burying your head in the sand and others will know instinctively that you are someone whose opinion counts.
- Carefully consider tattoos and piercings. Let's face it: it is easy to judge by appearance. Therefore, take careful consideration when deciding if it is a good idea for you to get visible tattoos or body piercings. Even though a person's outward appearance does not automatically show his or her inner qualities, appearances can reflect how a person is willing to be perceived by the world. Job opportunities may be limited by such an expression. Also keep in mind that although tattoos and piercings are expressions of individuality, they can be permanent or difficult (even costly) to remove. If you are in doubt about how a tattoo or piercing will impact you in the future, find another way to express yourself.
- Be knowledgable and aware. It is wise to become politically, culturally, and religiously aware. Even the most basic knowledge can save a person from embarrassment and awkwardness. If you know in advance that you will be spending time with someone of an unfamiliar background, it is a good idea to do more in-depth research to avoid embarrassing faux pas.
Changing your behavior may feel unnatural. If it does, remind yourself that you are a work in progress. A classy person is simply one who consistently exhibits classy behavior. Focus on your behavior and attitude rather than your feelings. If you slip up, forgive yourself, apologize to anyone who may have been hurt by your not-so-classy behavior, and continue on your way.