Sophistication, What it Means and How it Helps You

I’m training you for the public, really, not for me alone or the family” —  my father


Sophistication is a skill that is hardly ever taught but rather demonstrated/portrayed. From the way someone speaks to how they walk to how they eat down to how they sit. Simply put, sophistication is a way of living.

I don’t know about you but in this part of the world where I live in, sophistication is almost extinct from our lifestyle. We believe that when a person speaks well, carries themselves well, or behaves too appropriately, then they are pretentious. In our local slang, it’s commonly referred to as someone “forming”. Which is when they assume you put up a grandiose act to intimidate the people around you. But this is not so. This is not why sophistication became such a word in the first place, an outstanding one at that.

Sophistication according to Merriam Webster Dictionary, means “having a refined knowledge of the ways of the world cultivated especially through wide experience”.

What this means is that sophistication strips one bare of their preliminary base and elevates them to another, much better level.

Sophistication is another word for polish. Which shines an object or a person and illuminates their true being.

Sophistication serves as a form of guidance —  providing measures to how one ought to behave, think even, act, and other general conspicuous traits.

These guidelines collectively form as etiquettes . The types that provide social standards of behavior for everyone.

My father once told me: “I did not raise you just for me alone or the family, but mostly for the public”. This means that as we grow into adulthood, we practically become a pun for the world to utilize. It’s left for us to utilize that opportunity well making a tangible difference or not.

Sophistication is a habitual tool that will never demise your true being, your reputation, instead, it would illuminate it for better clarity.

This means that if you exhibit mannerless tendencies in public, you’re only shedding light on those aspects of you that might not be who you truly are. For instance, when you cough in public and not guard your mouth with your elbow, or when you pick your nose in public —  or even when you pick your teeth openly at a restaurant.

For sure, these actions don’t have any punishable consequences per se. No one will penalize you or walk you out of a room or public gathering as a result. But be rest assured that your image would have been dented by that. And it’s worse if it isn’t who you truly are; that is, a nonchalant inconsiderate being.

This is why the act of sophistication is there to guide you. It’s not only for the rich to bear and for the poor to neglect.

It’s for everyone that cares about themselves and their image —  especially in public.

Think about it, no one really knows who you are, enough to determine whether you have manners or good etiquettes or not. But once you do something that contradicts public/social standards or conducts, you’ll be quickly be associated with one of those derogatory names.

That is not to say that you should go about carrying a handbook of codes of conduct or something like that. Neither does it mean that you should absorb every term you’re being called when you misbehave outside. It’s a matter of self- consciousness, and self-esteem.

Self-consciousness is an exercise you carry out from time to time, consciously, to ensure that you’re acting in tune with your values and principles. When you’re self- conscious, you will always catch yourself doing something bad, or poor, or not you and quickly correct them.

Self-consciousness then leads you to have good self-esteem. Because when you’re more self-conscious, you will behave well —  based on your principles and values. So this will in turn make you feel super good about yourself.

These are the traits and exercise that sophistication requires.

It’s a matter of asking yourself: what do I hate to see others do in public? Do I act like them? What else should they have done?

Once you ask these questions and answer them sincerely, you tend to figure out things (habits, traits, and behavior), that are not aligned to your personality. By so doing, you would have also determined what your social standards of behavior are —  whether in tune with the general etiquette rules or not.

Sophistication is really simple. Living your best life the simplest way possible —  while inculcating good habits and replacing poor old ones. As simple as that.

Sophistication is a way of living. Determine how you want to live. Better still, look through the lens of your role model; how they carry themselves and what they do to make them feel good and others look up to them. And try to emulate them. There’s nothing wrong with emulating or copying good manners. If not, there wouldn’t be the old age saying “fake it till you make it”.

Don’t assume that you need to be rich first before you can learn or practice good etiquette in public. Such as proper use of the cutlery, sitting upright during conversations, and excusing yourself as and when due in between. You don’t need to be a celebrity to exercise all these either. Remember fake it till you make it

Once you are sure that a particular lifestyle favors you, and it’s the kind that respects others and their space in public, you’re really good to go.
Sophistication is what you term it. And unsophisticated is the direct antonym to that. Don’t intertwine the both of them as who you are.

Remember, sophistication is not one day’s job. You will have to choose to keep learning different ways to refine yourself. Including your emotional aspect, physical aspect, mental aspect, spiritual or professional aspect. Putting into consideration every aspect, taking it one step at a time. One poor habit turned healthy habit at a time. And by the time you know it, you have come far. And now sophisticated.

This means that you can be “rough on the edges” and certainly work your way through the ladder of sophistication-success like that of your favorite celebrity —  if you choose to certainly do so.

Implore the spirit of sophistication in everything you do.
Choose refinement. Choose sophistication, and see how far it takes you in every arena of life— beyond words.

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A girl who derives a lot of joy in writing. Which overtime has served as an intentional purpose to inspire people and uplift souls too. Through addressing hidden topical issues. The kind that is easily overlooked. Try me.

Comments (4)

  • Well said ?

    Augustine Ogbodo
  • Well said Muna. I used to belong to the group that believed being sophisticated is “forming”. But I know better now and this piece has only buttressed it. Thank you!

    • I’m glad it did. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and leaving a comment?


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