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Top 10 Characteristics of a Highly Cultured Person


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What does it mean to be a “cultured person?” Google’s definition of “cultured” is, “characterized by refined taste and manners and good education.” Some synonyms of what it means to be a cultured person are worldly, well-rounded, intellectual, refined, and advanced.

Why You Should Care About Becoming a More Cultured Person :

As you embark on your journey of expanding your cultural palette, you might find yourself beginning to see the world with more vibrancy and color. As you strengthen your sense of culture, you will find richness in the depth and variety of your daily experience.

Being able to discover new thoughts, emotions, wisdom, adventure and profound subtleties every day will help you experience a more divine and breathtaking life.

Ultimately, becoming a more cultured person will allow you to experience life in new, profound ways and appreciate the world on a much more dynamic scale.

The beauty lies in the endless possibilities of exploration. There will never be a day that you transition from “uncultured” to “cultured.” Over time, you’ll simply continue to become a more “cultured person.” Thus leading you to experience life more fully, and have stronger, deeper connections with the world and people around you.

Our time here in this world is limited, so while we’re here, we might as well engage thoroughly and absorb all the purity and passion we can, with hopes that all we absorb will be reflected outwardly from our being.

Characteristics of a Highly Cultured Person:

1. They’re Well-Traveled

A key component of a cultured person is that they are well-traveled. Ibn Battuta said, “Travel leaves you speechless then turns you into a storyteller.” One reason that being a cultured person typically goes hand in hand with being well-traveled is that it gives you endless topics of conversation. Any cultured person knows that having quality conversations is a skill that is acquired and strengthened over time. By traveling, you open the door to endless, interesting topics to discuss with others.

Keep in mind that a cultured person does not simply go visit a foreign place and indulge mindlessly without respect. A cultured person travels and travels well, with class. They research their destination in advance to learn about local customs and laws. They learn key phrases and sayings in the primary language before they travel. This person knows proper dining and social etiquette in the destination. They don’t just travel for parties and beaches. They also engage in the destination’s history, cuisine and arts. In order to be a cultured person, one must expand their horizons and experience a variety of different cultures.

2. They’re Well-Read

Being a cultured person entails reading and knowing some of the finest literature known to man. To be well-read strengthens your brain in many ways and helps you become a more well-rounded person, speaker, and thinker.

Dr. Charles W. Eliot was the former Harvard University President, who developed a 50-volume series of some of the finest classical works of world literature, important speeches, and historical documents. The series is known as Dr. Eliot’s Five-Foot Shelf of Books. He believed that carefully reading these pieces would offer the reader some of the benefits of liberal education and counsel of history’s greatest creative minds, from the comfort of their own home.

Dr. Eliot stated, “My aim was not to select the best fifty, or best hundred, books in the world, but to give, in twenty-three thousand pages or thereabouts, a picture of the progress of the human race within historical times, so far as that progress can be depicted in books.”

A convenient, and condensed version of these selections is given here, so you can absorb this knowledge in 15 minutes a day, by reading or listening to the audio. This is a well-thought-out reading plan with the most important segments of each of the works in Dr. Eliot’s collection.

To become a more cultured person, you’ll want to brush up on reading some of the best, classic works of all time in the following categories.

  • History of Civilization
  • Religion and Philosophy
  • Education
  • Science
  • Politics
  • Criticism of Literature and the Fine Arts
  • Classic Literature

3. They Are Current With World Events

A cultured person is current with world events. They know what’s going on in the world and are knowledgeable about the way the world actually works. Since being cultured aligns with being educated, a cultured person focuses on facts. When engaging in current events, they do not allow emotions or opinions to override their factual consumption.

A well-cultured person seeks information not opinions, and they seek news sources that are the least biased. Some of the best sources to use to achieve this are Wall Street Journal, BBC News, The Economist, Associated Press, NPR, PBS, and Reuters. These sources typically focus more on either unbiased reports or a balanced blend of both sides.

I personally like to use the app Espresso by The Economist. This app provides a brief 10-15 minute snippet of what is going on in the world that day. For me, this is a quick, healthy way to stay up to state on current events without allowing myself to get emotionally swayed or go down an unproductive, depressing rabbit hole of attention grabbing headlines.

cultured person palette

4. They Appreciate the Finer Things

A well cultured person appreciates the finer things in life. This includes things like art, architecture, culinary arts, music, and literature. Learning to appreciate the finer things in life beings with focusing on quality over quantity and viewing this as a journey not a destination. It’s simply about adopting a new lifestyle and mentality about how you go about your days.

A great tool tha I love to use is the app called Daily Art. This app will show you one classic art piece a day and give you a short, digestible bit of information for you to expand your appreciation for fine art.

There is beauty in the finer things. The finer things are often fine for a very good reason. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it’s up to you to choose to see the beauty and depth in the finer things in life. This is how you expand you palette and elevate your experience and fullness of life.

5. They Have a Well-Developed Palette

A cultured person is eager to try foods from different cultures with different flavors, spices and preparation techniques. Essentially, being cultured goes hand in hand with being open-minded and optimistic about new things and change. It’s about stepping outside of your comfort zone and allowing yourself to try new things and enjoy new experiences.

Your palette will develop over time whether it’s with wine, cheese, bread, chocolate, coffee, champagne, cuts of meat, seafood, and so on. There are limitless things you can learn about, and expand your palette with.

A well cultured person has a developed palette because they are not afraid to try new things and they are optimistic and open-minded about they way people do things differently all around the world. Trying new things does not mean you need to love them or add them to your list of favorite things. It means you are open to experiencing new things and considerations from new perspectives.

how to become a cultured person

6. They Know Proper Etiquette

A cultured person knows proper etiquette on the wide variety of social situations. This means at home, at the grocery store, at a dinner party, for a wedding, for a funeral, and so on. Knowing proper etiquette is about having a standard for society that entails respect and a somewhat of a behavioral code.

In order to brush up on your proper etiquette knowledge and skills, I highly recommend taking a course such as an adult dining etiquette course, and reading books on the topic. I personally love Modern Etiquette Made Easy: A Five-Step Method to Mastering Etiquette, and Emily Post’s Etiquette, 19th Edition: Manners for Today.

It’s important to know how to behave in various settings as well as what to say or do and what not to say or do. It’s ultimately about having the knowledge as well as having the desire to portray respect and consideration for others.

7. They’re A Great Conversationalist

A well cultured person is a great conversationalist. This person is inquisitive and shows a general interest in the person they are speaking with. This is done through thoughtful questions and engagement, which makes the other person feel important. A bad conversationalist only talks about themselves and boasts about their own accomplishments without asking the other person genuinely, about themselves.

To be a good conversationalist means you know how to start a conversation as well as keep one going, and going well. A secret weapon to have in your back pocket as taken from Modern Etiquette Made Easy: A Five-Step Method to Mastering Etiquette, is art and architecture. If you’re ever stumped, as a last resort, bring up the architecture in the space you’re in or point out a work of art to get the conversation going.

A well cultured person knows the topics of conversation to avoid, which are politics, religion, money, sex, vices, general illness, diet, gossip and family specifics such as “so, are you guys trying to get pregnant?” Know that these topics are highly controversial and make people very uncomfortable. Try to avoid bringing up or engaging in these topics if you want to maintain a level of sophistication and class.

8. They’re Well Educated

Cultured people are experienced and open-minded, therefore they are well educated. They can tell you where Pakistan is on a map, as well as who the president of Japan is. They can even recite the general process of osmosis or Darwin’s theory of evolution to you. A well cultured person is educated and knows things. They know basic geography, science, and classic literature, artists and works of art.

To become more educated, try taking a course online. There are limitless options out there. Choose a category you’d like to expand your knowledge on and take a course. To be well cultured, it’s great to know the general basis of a wide range of topics. You don’t need to be an expert on everything.

When someone is educated, it shows. Again, you don’t need to be an expert. However, it’s important to know a little bit about a lot so you can contribute to a wider range of conversation topics.

9. They Embody Poise and Class

To be known as a cultured person, you must embody poise and class. This means you present yourself in a refined, modest and sophisticated way. To have poise and class means you represent and ideal. Others will look up to you and perceive you as representing an elevated standard for society.

When you present yourself this way, you instantly appear interesting. This is because it’s so rare in our world today! When you embody poise and class, people will instantly be curious what you have to say. You’ll appear put-together and attractive, which is a key element any cultured person knows. To appear interesting on the outside, but to actually be interesting on the inside from all of your knowledge and experience.

cultured person aesthetic

10. They Have an Eye for Aesthetic And an Appetite for Quality

A cultured person who is well-versed in the above mentioned areas, will naturally develop an eye for aesthetic and an appetite for quality. Once you begin to sharpen your eye for the finer things, and are able to recognize and appreciate true art and beauty, you will begin to crave more of it.

Naturally, a cultured person knows what looks right, feels right and is beautiful. They have exposed themselves to some of the greatest works of art of all time and have taken the time and intention to acquire true knowledge and valuable information.

I genuinely hope you enjoyed this post and can take atleast one piece of valuable information away with you. I hope this inspires you to become more cultured and to embark on your journey of seeking beauty and deeper fulfillment in life.

This post was all about how to be a cultured person.

cheers, alyssa

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