8 behaviors that separate genuinely kind people from those just pretending

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In a world where kindness sometimes feels as rare as a unicorn sighting, deciphering the real McCoy from the imposters can be a game-changer.

Picture this: you’re at a dinner party, surrounded by smiles and small talk, but who’s genuinely dishing out the kindness and who’s just serving up superficial sweetness?

Fear not, fellow seekers of sincerity! We’ve rounded up 8 foolproof behaviors that’ll help you separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to spotting the real-deal kindness warriors from the mere posers.

1) Empathy comes naturally

True kindness isn’t something you fake or throw on for show. It’s wrapped up in this thing called empathy, deep down where it counts.

Empathy? It’s about really getting where someone’s coming from. It’s not just about saying the right things; it’s about living and breathing that emotional connection.

Genuinely kind people naturally exude empathy. This deep understanding drives them to act in ways that alleviate others’ pain or discomfort, often without expecting anything in return.

Pretenders, on the other hand, might mimic empathetic behaviors, but it’s usually self-serving. Their actions are often driven by a desire for recognition or to maintain a certain image, rather than a genuine concern for others.

2) They practice active listening

In my own experience, I’ve found that truly kind people are excellent listeners. They don’t interrupt, offer unsolicited advice, or let their minds wander while others are speaking.

Instead, they make a conscious effort to fully understand the speaker’s perspective and feelings.

Active listening is a sign of respect and value for the other person’s thoughts and experiences. It’s a way of saying, “I see you, I hear you, and what you’re saying is important to me.”

Now, those who fake kindness might play the part, but their lack of real engagement gives them away. Sure, they’ll nod and mumble at the right times, but their mind’s already halfway out the door, showing their true colors of disinterest and insincerity.

3) They act selflessly, not for recognition

Kindness is all about the why behind the what. Real kindness? It’s all heart, no ego. It’s not about fishing for compliments; it’s about making someone’s day a little brighter.

Truly kind souls are not in it for the applause. They lend a hand because it feels right, not because they’re after a pat on the back. Their kindness isn’t a means to an end; it’s the whole shebang.

But those who fake it? Yeah, they’ll put on a show, but it’s all about the spotlight. Sure, they’ll do good deeds, but it’s all about the optics, not the impact.

4) They embrace authenticity, not pretense

Let’s set the record straight: kindness can’t be faked. It’s an integral part of one’s character, not a mask that can be worn and taken off at will. Genuinely kind people are authentic – they are true to themselves and their values, and their actions reflect this authenticity.

Now, this doesn’t mean they are perfect. They, like everyone else, have flaws. But they don’t shy away from admitting these flaws or learning from their mistakes

On the other hand, those pretending to be kind often hide behind a facade. They put on a show of kindness to impress others or to hide their true selves.

Their actions are inconsistent with their words, revealing a lack of alignment between their outward behavior and inner values.

5) They foster supportive communities and relationships

Genuinely kind people get the importance of having solid communities and real connections. They know we’re social creatures, and our happiness is tied to how we vibe with others.

So, they put effort into building and nurturing those bonds. They’re all about creating a vibe of respect and teamwork, where everyone’s worth is appreciated.

But here’s the kicker: kindness for them isn’t just about doing nice stuff here and there. It’s about setting up a whole culture of kindness in their crew.  

Now, the folks who are just putting on a show of kindness? They’re all about the quick fix. Their kindness is more like a transaction, expecting something in return for their efforts. It’s not about building something real; it’s more about getting some props.

6) They respect boundaries

When we think of kindness, we often picture someone who’s always there to lend a hand or offer support. But truly kind folks get that boundaries are key – for themselves and for others.

Respecting boundaries means not pushing your help onto someone who hasn’t asked for it or isn’t ready for it. It’s about recognizing that everyone deserves their space and independence, and sometimes the kindest move is to step back and let folks handle things on their own.

Now, those who are just pretending to be kind often bulldoze right through boundaries in their quest to seem super caring. They might butt in with advice when it’s not wanted or meddle in situations where they should back off, ignoring how others feel and what they actually need.

7) They are consistently kind

Real kindness isn’t picky or sporadic. It’s a steady way of life that reaches everyone, no matter who they are or what they can do for you. Truly kind folks treat everyone with respect and empathy, whether they’re a buddy, a stranger, or someone who can’t give anything back.

They get that kindness isn’t just for the people in their inner circle. It’s for everyone, including themselves. They show themselves the same love and understanding they give to others.

On the flip side, the fakers? They’re all about selective kindness. They’ll be nice to those who can do something for them or those they want to impress. But their kindness could be wishy-washy, depending on who they’re dealing with or what they can get out of it.

8) They see beyond the surface

Real kindness goes deeper than what meets the eye. It’s about recognizing the humanity in everyone, understanding that we all have our struggles and battles. Truly kind folks don’t jump to conclusions or slap labels on people based on how they look or act.

Instead, they try to get where others are coming from. They know we’ve all got our own stories that shape us. And it’s this understanding that lets them dish out empathy and kindness, even when it’s tough.

Meanwhile, those who’re pretending often lack this depth of understanding. They judge quickly and base their kindness (or lack thereof) on superficial factors.

The depth behind genuine kindness

Spotting the real deal from the fakers isn’t just some idle curiosity—it’s a master class in human nature. It’s not enough to clock these traits in others; we’ve got to light that same fire within ourselves.

Real kindness is a mirror reflecting our innermost beliefs, values, and how we roll with the world. It’s about being genuine, showing compassion, respect, and getting where folks are coming from.

It’s diving below the surface, acknowledging our shared humanity, and building a world where kindness isn’t a rarity, but the norm.

In my journey exploring these aspects of life through my YouTube channel, I’ve found that engaging in open conversations around these topics can be transformative.

If you’ve found value in this exploration of genuine kindness and would like to join me on this journey of discovery and growth, feel free to subscribe to my channel here.

As we conclude this exploration of genuine kindness, I invite you to reflect on this question: How do you embody genuine kindness in your interactions with others? And how might this understanding influence your relationships moving forward?

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Justin Brown

Justin Brown is an entrepreneur and thought leader in personal development and digital media, with a foundation in education from The London School of Economics and The Australian National University. As the co-founder of Ideapod, The Vessel, and a director at Brown Brothers Media, Justin has spearheaded platforms that significantly contribute to personal and collective growth. His deep insights are shared on his YouTube channel, JustinBrownVids, offering a rich blend of guidance on living a meaningful and purposeful life.

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