10 signs you’re dealing with a genuinely honest person

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We all think we know what an honest person looks like – they look you in the eye, their stories match up, they admit when they’re wrong.

But there’s more to honesty than meets the eye.

In fact, there are some signs of honesty that are quite surprising and might even seem strange at first. Here are 10 of them.

1. They’re not always comfortable

This may come as a surprise, but honest people aren’t always the most comfortable to be around.

Why?

Because honesty isn’t always about saying what people want to hear.

A genuinely honest person will tell you the truth, even if it’s uncomfortable or not what you want to hear.

They prioritize being truthful over being liked, which can sometimes lead to awkward situations or conversations.

It’s not about being rude or blunt, but about valuing truth over superficial harmony.

2. They don’t brag about their honesty

Here’s another one that might seem a bit weird – genuinely honest people don’t go around bragging about how honest they are.

They believe that honesty is a basic human trait, not something extraordinary to show off.

It’s because they don’t need to convince others of their honesty because their actions speak for themselves.

So if someone is constantly telling you how brutally honest they are, they might be trying too hard to sell it.

Real honesty isn’t about declaring it to the world; it’s simply about being true in every situation, quietly and consistently.

3. They admit when they don’t know something

This is a big one for me personally. I remember a time when I asked a friend about a topic she was not familiar with. Instead of trying to bluff her way through or change the topic, she simply said, “You know what? I don’t have enough information about that to give you a good answer.”

It was surprising, and at the same time, refreshing to see someone admit they didn’t know something.

In a world where everyone seems to be an ‘expert’, admitting you don’t know can be seen as a weakness.

But in reality, it’s a sign of honesty.

Honest people understand that they can’t possibly know everything and are comfortable admitting it.

They would rather confess to being uninformed than mislead someone with incorrect or incomplete information.

4. They’re okay with silence

Those who lie are more likely to fill silences with unnecessary chatter. On the other hand, honest people are more comfortable with silence.

Why is this?

Well, honest folks don’t feel the need to fill every moment with words.

They understand that silence isn’t necessarily awkward; it’s just a part of communication.

On the flip side, folks who aren’t being completely honest often fear silence because it gives others a chance to think and possibly question their statements.

5. They show their vulnerability

Honesty is about being real, and being real often means revealing our vulnerabilities.

Honest people don’t try to pretend they’re perfect.

They acknowledge their flaws and mistakes, showing you the not-so-pretty parts of their life along with the good ones.

This doesn’t mean they’re constantly spilling their guts or oversharing.

It just means they’re willing to let their guard down and show you their true self, warts and all.

Think about someone in your life who isn’t afraid to be vulnerable around you – to share their fears, admit their mistakes, and ask for help when they need it.

Chances are, that person is genuinely honest. It’s this beautiful mix of bravery and authenticity that makes honest people so special and endearing.

They remind us that it’s okay to be human, to be imperfect, and most importantly, to be real.

6. They don’t make excessive promises

Once, a friend of mine, Jack, promised to help me move on a Saturday.

He not only showed up on time but also brought along an extra pair of hands without me even asking.

What I learned from Jack was that honest people don’t overpromise.

They give their word sparingly, but when they do, they mean it.

Honest people understand that their word is their bond. They won’t make grand promises to impress you or win your favour.

Instead, they’ll only promise what they know they can deliver.

7. They can handle criticism

Let’s get real for a second – no one likes being criticized.

It stings.

But here’s the thing – honest people can handle it.

They might not like it, but they don’t shy away from it either.

Why?

Because they understand that criticism, when constructive, can be a pathway to improvement.

Honest people don’t live in a bubble of self-deception, pretending they’re perfect.

They recognize their mistakes and shortcomings and are open to feedback.

They don’t take criticism personally or defensively; instead, they see it as an opportunity to learn and grow.

8. They don’t seek attention

Honest people are typically less interested in seeking attention.

They don’t feel the need to be the center of attention because they’re content with who they are.

Honest people don’t crave the spotlight or constantly seek validation from others.

They’re comfortable in their own skin and don’t need constant praise or recognition to feel good about themselves.

Their sense of self-worth comes from within, not from the approval of others.

So, if you know someone who doesn’t constantly seek validation or need to be the life of the party, chances are, they’re genuinely honest.

They understand that being true to themselves is more important than any fleeting moment in the spotlight.

9. They’re consistent

I’ve had a longtime friend, Sarah, who’s always been the epitome of consistency.

Whether in her words, actions, or attitudes, she’s always been steady and reliable.

From our school days till now, I can count on her to be the same person, irrespective of where we are or who we’re with.

Sarah has taught me that honesty isn’t just about telling the truth; it’s about being true to who you are. Honest people don’t change their personality or values based on their company.

They’re the same person in private that they are in public.

They don’t have different faces for different people because they have nothing to hide.

If you know someone like Sarah, who’s consistent in their behavior and values, you’ve likely got a genuinely honest person on your hands.

It’s this kind of authenticity that’s a true hallmark of honesty.

10. They don’t judge others

Life isn’t a competition. But sometimes, people make it feel like one, constantly judging others and comparing themselves to everyone around them.

But the truth is, honest people don’t do that. They don’t judge others because they understand that everyone has their own journey, their own battles, and their own story.

Honest people accept others for who they are, without trying to change them or put them in a box. They listen without judgement, offering empathy instead of criticism. They know that nobody’s perfect – including themselves – and they’re okay with that.

If you’ve got someone in your life who doesn’t judge you, who accepts you for who you are – flaws and all – hold onto them. Chances are, they’re genuinely honest. It’s a rare and beautiful quality to have.

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Justin Brown

As co-founder of Ideapod, a digital publishing platform reaching millions, and creator of The Vessel, a new platform for self-knowledge, I bring a unique perspective to the world of culture, politics and psychology. With a M.Sc. from the London School of Economics and M.A. (First Class Honours) from the Australian National University, I've dedicated my career to understanding and sharing new ideas and perspectives for a new generation.

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