20 ‘Lower-Class’ Habits That Get The Side-Eye From Society

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Every day, we encounter a variety of habits and behaviors that are often labeled as belonging to different socioeconomic classes. Though sometimes arbitrary, these classifications reflect the intricate fabric of societal norms and expectations. We’ll look closer at 15 habits commonly associated with being lower class according to societal standards. From what we eat to what we wear, these habits offer a fascinating glimpse into the complexities of social perceptions.

Wearing Pajamas in Public

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There are unwritten social norms regarding dress codes for different settings. Casual clothing like pajamas is generally deemed suitable for private spaces but may not be appropriate for public places such as shops, restaurants, or offices. Disregarding such norms is often associated with the lower class.

Using Public Transportation

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Reliance on buses, trains, or subways instead of personal vehicles is sometimes perceived as lower-class behavior. In some cultures or societies, car ownership is seen as a status symbol or a sign of success. Conversely, relying on public transportation may be viewed as a sign of not having the means to afford a car, leading to the perception of a weak social standing.

Eating Fast Food Frequently

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Fast food is generally more affordable than dining at sit-down restaurants or preparing meals at home. People with limited financial resources may rely on fast food as a convenient and budget-friendly meal option.

Living in a Multi-Family Home

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Sharing living spaces with extended family members or multiple households can be considered a lower-class arrangement. But, it’s important to recognize that being in a multi-family home does not inherently determine an individual’s monetary standing or lifestyle choices. Many choose a multi-family house for its affordability, convenience, and community-oriented atmosphere.

Smoking in Public Areas

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Public smoking, especially in non-designated areas, is often associated with fellows from a humble background. Smoking in public areas can be seen as a breach of social etiquette, especially in settings where smoking is prohibited or restricted. A person from a better background may be more likely to adhere to social standards, and so the lower class usually gets the blame. 

Overusing Slang or Street Language

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Using excessive slang or street language is usually linked with folks with a lower social status due to its informal nature. When folks overuse slang in their speech, it can lead to difficulties in understanding and may give the impression of a lack of education or professionalism.

Having Visible Tattoos or Piercings

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Visible tattoos or numerous piercings, particularly in professional settings, can sometimes be perceived as lower-class aesthetics. Some think extensive body modifications do not reflect professionalism or commitment to traditional standards, particularly in conservative environments like corporate settings or formal events. However, it’s essential to recognize that attitudes toward tattoos and piercings are changing, with more acceptance and appreciation for self-expression and individuality.

Shopping at Discount or Dollar Stores

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Frequent discount stores are believed to reflect a lack of monetary stability or an inability to afford products from higher-end retailers. However, it’s important to note that shopping at discount or dollar stores can also be a practical choice for many individuals and families. These stores usually provide essential items at affordable prices, making them accessible to people from various socioeconomic backgrounds.

Not Having Health Insurance

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Frequent discount stores are believed to reflect a lack of monetary stability or an inability to afford products from higher-end retailers. However, it’s important to note that shopping at discount or dollar stores can also be a practical choice for many individuals and families. These stores usually provide essential items at affordable prices, making them accessible to people from various socioeconomic backgrounds.

Engaging in Public Displays of Affection

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One reason PDA is sometimes linked to lower-class behavior is the stereotype that individuals from weak socioeconomic backgrounds lack education or social etiquette, leading them to display affection in public without regard for social norms. This stereotype overlooks the diversity of behaviors within all social classes and unfairly generalizes based on economic status.

Not Saving for Retirement or Having a Pension Plan

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Many lower-class workers are employed in jobs that do not offer benefits, such as pension plans or employer-sponsored retirement accounts. Without these incentives, saving for later on can be challenging. Also, they may not be aware of investment options or retirement savings plans available to them.

Not Pursuing Higher Education

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Rising tuition, fees, and living expenses can create barriers for many individuals, particularly those from families with limited financial resources. Without access to scholarships, grants, or other financial aid forms, higher education may be financially out of reach for certain groups, leading them to prioritize immediate employment or other options.

Relying Heavily on Government Assistance

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Economic challenges such as unemployment, low wages, or unexpected expenses can make it difficult for individuals and families to meet their basic needs without support. Benefits like food stamps, housing subsidies, and Medicaid can provide essential resources to those facing financial insecurity,

Working in Manual Labor or Service Industry Jobs

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Due to several socioeconomic factors, lower-class fellows are likelier to be involved in manual labor and service industry jobs. These include limited access to higher schooling and training programs that could lead to better-paying professions, economic constraints that make lower-paying jobs more accessible and necessary, and geographic and social mobility restrictions that limit job options.

DIY Projects

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DIY projects are often associated with folks from humble backgrounds due to their cost-effective nature and resourcefulness in finding creative solutions to home improvement needs. However, people from all social backgrounds, including middle and upper-class fellows, also indulge in DIY activities for various reasons, such as a love for crafting, a desire for customization, or a hobby.

Wearing Second-Hand Clothing

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Opting for pre-owned apparel is widely envisioned as a sign of financial strain, inviting judgment about one’s social status or priorities. Many in society will call choosing these garments a lack of concern for personal appearance or an inability to afford new clothing.

Living in Cheap Homes

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Residing in budget-friendly accommodations may draw scrutiny, with assumptions made about one’s income level or financial prudence. It can be viewed as a reflection of one’s economic standing, potentially leading to stereotyping or prejudice. Some assume these people compromise comfort or safety, prompting speculation about one’s lifestyle choices.

Not Owning a Home

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Renting instead of owning property can be perceived as financial instability or an inability to achieve the “American Dream.” Another way people see it can be a lack of financial acumen or long-term planning, especially in societies where homeownership is highly valued.

Lack of Cultural Capital

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When one is not well-versed in highbrow culture—fine arts, classical music, or literature—it can lead to skepticism about one’s education, sophistication, or social background. This limited understanding may be a marker of lower social class or educational attainment.

Using Payday Loans or Pawn Shops

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Turning to payday loans or pawn shops for financial assistance is associated with those in financial distress. People see relying on these services as a last resort, prompting assumptions about one’s financial stability or planning skills. Since they are usually temporary fixes, it can raise questions about one’s ability to manage long-term financial commitments.

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