7 Habits of Exceptionally Tacky People

Some behavior is always out of fashion

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Photo by Gilitukha @ Freepik.com

When we mention tackiness we’re often talking about loud Hawaiian shirts, cheap-looking bling, or some other gaudy fashion no-no. But most fashion choices are not a mark of your character. If you want to wear a flowered pink shirt and eight chains around your neck, go for it. Why not add a glittered collar while you’re at it? Tacky clothes might make us cringe, but tacky behavior is a far bigger turn off.

Growing up I became very aware of tackiness because of how my mother presented herself. My mother is a very classy woman. When I was growing up, she put a lot of emphasis on holding yourself well, behaving a certain way, and dressing beautifully. One of the phrases I most remember her saying to my sisters and I was: “If you behave like that I won’t be able to take you anywhere.” Whether we were at a nice restaurant or just visiting a friend’s house, my mom expected manners, self-control, and classy behavior.

Some people say classiness or tack, is a matter of finances. That only the rich can be classy. I’d disagree. My mom has gone through periods of her life when she was very wealthy and others were she was made bankrupt. Rich or poor, it didn’t make a difference. It’s not our money that makes us classy, it’s our attitude.

I did some research of what other people find most tacky. There were hundreds of behaviors, so I’ve narrowed it down to the most truly trashy rather than simply annoying ones.

Here are 7 Tacky Habits to Avoid:

1. Blind blocking

You stand behind them with your trolley full of groceries and politely clear your throat. Normally that’s enough to make someone blocking your path notice you. You’re expecting the usual: “Oh, sorry! I’ll move out of your way.” But not with these people. They’re not just blind to your presence but, with the volume they’re talking, you wonder if something is wrong with their hearing as well.

Talking loudly in middle of path, walkway, aisle, or door, and blocking everyone else is inconsiderate. I’ve seen people do this in cars in the middle of the street! It shows a tacky lack of social awareness or worse, apathy.

2. Cringe-worth parenting

There’s always that one family, isn’t there. You can hear them from across the shop yelling at their kids, usually with a mouth full of empty threats and a few expletives thrown in for good measure. “I’ll chop off your F*&@ fingers if you touch that one more time you little *&%@!” Eye-roll.

The other parenting behavior we all seem to find tacky is letting the kids run wild. The same yelling parents are often the ones laughing as their mini-me offspring drop-kick the soft toys.

I find both of these cringe-worthy as everyone else does. But we do need to be a little careful slapping a “bad parent” label on strangers. From my training in early intervention I’ve learnt not to judge a parent struggling with difficult behavior or a tantruming child. It could be their child’s tantrum is a sign of disability. Imagine being a solo parent trying to complete your grocery shopping, but your child has autism and can’t handle bright lights and strangers. Not easy.

3. Airing your dirty laundry

It’s an old saying but apparently most of us still find it tacky. Airing your dirty laundry describes people discussing private matters or arguing in public.

I had the awkward experience of listening to a couple argue recently. My kids were playing in the park when I noticed a couple arguing off to the side of the play equipment. They had no kids with them but decided this was the perfect place to have a go at each other. They were so loud and verbally aggressive I started to wonder if one of them needed help. Although I wasn’t sure who was attacking who? Then, just as quickly as it started, they made up and — equally tackily — heavily made out.

Yelling at your partner isn’t great to begin with, doing it with an audience is just uncomfortable for everyone.

4. Broadcasting your own pirate radio

There’s a young guy in my town who loves biking around the shopping areas blasting his playlist, like an obnoxious travelling minstrel. Most of the lyrics are explicit but he can’t see a problem with that.

Playing music with no headphones especially in places where people can’t escape, like public transport, was one of the most commonly mentioned bad behaviors. It’s loud, it’s rude, and it’s attention-seeking. Definitely tacky.

5. Being trashy with trash

Several people mentioned trash-related offenses as one of their biggest dislikes. Throwing cigarette butts was especially hated. It’s not just tacky, it’s unbelievable that people still can’t make an effort to be clean and green. I once watched a driver throw an entire bag of takeaway containers out their car window onto the street – seriously?

We’re all so educated about the environment now, no-one has an excuse to be irresponsible with their waste.

6. Not leaving your Spam in the can

There’s nothing good about spam. People are getting sick of online tacky behavior and starting to call it out. And writers aren’t excluded from this group of tacksters: Spamming other people’s articles with links, “You might also like to read my article on a similar topic!”; spamming LinkedIn messaging with links; emailing other writers to beg for reads and feedback…

Readers show their “tack” in other ways. Here are a couple of the tackiest reader comments from a site I write on. There are always plenty to choose from:

I would not barry an okder wonan. THEY’RE SET IN THEIR WAYS and FART TOO MUCH!

Or real classy:

If you love him stop grinning and drop the linen and show him that bearded clam


7. Big, bold…naked

Some people can’t stand it unless all eyes are on them in public or online. Some people draw attention by being the loudest and most crass, dominating the room with their voice whether people want to listen or not.

Others do it with their body. Some of my friends on social media like to post semi-naked selfies. Often it feels empowering — women embracing their curves and loving their bodies. But one woman likes to pose nude on a more regular basis. The photos aren’t arty, empowering, or about accepting her body. It’s obvious she just likes the attention her pics bring. Every time I see a new photo of her baring flesh, I feel the urge to comment: “I get it. You have a great body and you’re confident about it. That’s excellent. But I just don’t need every angle and curve of you burned into my retinas, thanks.”

Attention-seeking is tacky.

Rudeness, being inconsiderate of others, spamming and other attention-seeking behaviors aren’t just tacky, they’re signs of immaturity. We need more mature people in this world. We need people who are considerate of others, co-operative, humble, and self-controlled.

Rude behavior, according to one study, can also be contagious. So when faced with it, psychologists say a mature, respectful approach is best. Perhaps your classy attitude will rub off on them?

And if you want to be tacky, do it with your clothing, not your attitude. The rest of us will appreciate it.

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