Many people in the world are extremely kind. They have the best personalities and the most wonderful souls.
But they also have boundaries from being burned and taken advantage of in the past. So, you often don’t know they’re a kind-hearted person until you get to know them better.
Spotting a disingenuous person is tricky. Some people are so good at hiding their true selves that it only comes out once you’ve known them for some time.
I.e., you’ve had the chance to see them slip up on their “kind” behavior or throw something nice they did back in your face!
Think you might be dealing with someone whose kindness isn’t genuine? Check out these 10 tell-tale behaviors that indicate someone’s kindness isn’t real.
1) They always want something in return
When someone disingenuous does something nice for you, they expect something back for doing that thing. You’ll always hear them say, “I’ll help you with X – but you owe me!”.
And it’s not said in jest or as a joke. It’s serious. But their kindness isn’t.
Because when your niceness is genuine, you don’t expect anything in return for your good deeds. You just do the nice thing because you care about the person you’re helping.
And sure, one day they might return the favor and you’ll be grateful for it. But that’s not the reason why you did it for them in the first place.
2) They keep score
Kind people give their kindness generously. They don’t keep track of how often they’re nice to you. And they don’t do it so they can get “one-up” on you.
Keeping score may look like a partner offering to make you dinner, give you a lift to the station, prepare you a drink, or pay for your dinner.
Even if you didn’t ask for help with those things, they’ll do them willingly for you. And then they’ll keep score and frequently remind you of how much they’ve done for you.
Sometimes it’s to make you feel guilty. Other times, they’ll do it so they can feel more power and control over you.
Which isn’t something a genuinely kind person would ever do.
3) They throw their kindness back in your face
I remember going through a rough time once and an ex-friend was really there for me. For a good month, she was a listening ear over the phone.
I was so grateful for her help and couldn’t stop thanking her. When everything was said and done, I took her out for dinner as a treat.
About a year later, she asked to borrow a huge sum of money from me.
I said I couldn’t help – and she threw all the “emotional support” (her words, not mine) she gave me the year before back in my face.
Ultimately, she felt like I owed her for the help she’d given. And she felt owed (financially) for her being (what I’d simply call) a good friend.
Needless to say, it became clear that her kindness back then wasn’t as genuine as I thought.
4) They want recognition for what they’ve done
People who aren’t genuine in their kindness do things for show, rather than out of genuine care.
I had a friend who always posted on her Instagram story the “nice” things she’d done.
When she’d offer to help you with something, you’d discover a selfie online of her helping you out – with the caption reading:
“Just did X for X. How good of a friend am I?”.
Sometimes, you’d even find photos of her being nice to you over text – screenshotted and published online for the world to see.
People use social media for all kinds of reasons, not just to “show off”. But this type of behavior was somewhat questionable.
It made many people feel like her kindness was just for show. Like she didn’t really care about doing things to help you. It was just so she could be known as a kind person.
But genuinely kind people don’t often care about getting recognition. They just do helpful things because they care about the other person.
5) They talk badly about others behind their backs
Everyone gossips from time to time. But there’s a difference between gossiping and talking badly about someone behind their back.
A genuinely kind person won’t often engage in trash talk. This is especially true if they’ve just been polite to the person in question.
But if someone is kind to others and then talks badly about them to you, their kindness may not be so genuine.
Plus, if they’re talking about this person behind their back, they could be talking about you in the same way, too.
6) They’re only kind to you in front of others
Another sign someone’s kindness is just for show is if they’re only kind to you when other people are around.
I’m sure we’ve all seen the movies of the spiteful sibling who’s always bullying the younger sister. But as soon as the parents are around, they’re as sweet as anything.
This is the most obvious sign that someone’s kindness isn’t genuine. And it can feel very isolating when you’re the only one experiencing their “true” behavior.
7) Their kindness feels over the top
Some people like to be liked. And they’d rather win over everyone’s love in the easiest way possible, rather than genuinely earn it.
When someone acts this way, their kindness will always feel over the top.
Perhaps you don’t even know them that well. Or perhaps you already know that they don’t like you – which is why something will feel so off about their behavior.
When you have high emotional intelligence, you just get a gut feeling about people sometimes. And when someone is being “over the top” nice to you, it just makes you wonder how genuine their behavior actually is.
8) They don’t have many friends
When someone isn’t as kind as they seem, they probably have a long list of vendettas against other people.
Things that have gone wrong in the past are always someone else’s fault. It’s never because of something they did.
They’ll also have a long list of ex-friends – or have little to no friends at all.
Sure, not everyone who doesn’t have a big circle of friends is disingenuous. They may have just had toxic friends in the past or got in with the wrong crowd.
But sometimes, it’s a big cause for concern. Because they may not be as kind as they seem.
9) They seem too good to be true
Some people just have lovely, kind-hearted souls. I know I’ve met some truly wonderful people in my life and they’re nothing but genuine.
But some people really are too good to be true. When someone is so nice to you that they just don’t seem real, it’s a good idea to keep your wits about you.
Sure, their behavior might be genuine. But it might not be. They could have an ulterior motive hiding beneath the surface.
Because as the age-old saying goes, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
10) They are inconsistent in their behavior
Kind people don’t have to try too hard to be kind. They are just kind – and it oozes out of them without even trying.
They don’t have to work extra hard to be nice to people. They simply act from the heart and their behavior just comes naturally.
But when someone’s kindness isn’t genuine, they’ll pick and choose when their niceties apply.
Sometimes, they’ll be as lovely as ever – treating people with over-the-top warmth. But sometimes, they’ll flip their switch and be as nasty as anything.
These people are not genuine in their kindness. Most of the time, they have an ulterior motive for being so “nice”.
Genuinely kind people are somewhat hard to come by. Yes, the world is full of great people. But it’s also full of people who struggle to be kind to others.
Sometimes, the people who struggle are just narcissists who lack empathy. Other times, they’re just insecure, have uncontrollable jealousy, or lack self-worth.
Either way, people who are disingenuous with their kindness can be toxic to your life. Regardless of the reasons why they are the way they are, you don’t have to put up with their behavior.
Because they can cause all kinds of trust issues within you. They can make you feel down about yourself – like you’re the bad guy – when really, it’s them pulling the strings.
So if you think someone you know isn’t as kind as they make out to be, it might be time to cut them out, distance yourself from them, or set better boundaries.
Otherwise, it’s you who could lose out in the end!