If someone does these 8 things, they’re only pretending to be happy

Ever seen someone smile and laugh a lot but feel like they might be hiding something? Sometimes, people act like they’re happy even if they’re really not.


Maybe they don’t want others to worry, or they think they have to seem happy all the time. In this article, we’ll look at 10 signs that might mean someone is only pretending to be happy.

Keep reading to find out what to look for, and maybe you can help a friend who’s pretending to smile but feeling sad inside.

1. The Smile Doesn’t Reach Their Eyes

Ever notice how a real smile lights up a person’s whole face?

When someone is genuinely happy, their eyes sparkle, and their smile seems natural and effortless.

But when someone is pretending to be happy, the smile might seem a bit off.

It’s like they’re smiling with their mouth, but their eyes are telling a different story.

The smile might look forced or not quite right.

This mismatch between the eyes and the mouth can be a big clue that someone’s not as happy as they seem.

Think of it as a picture that doesn’t quite fit together. The smile is there, but it’s like a puzzle piece that doesn’t match the rest.

If you notice this in someone you know, it might mean they’re putting on a happy face, but feeling something else inside.

2. Their Laughter Seems Hollow

Laughter is usually a spontaneous burst of joy, something that comes from deep within when we’re truly delighted.

But what happens when that laughter feels… empty?

Imagine hearing a laugh that doesn’t quite ring true.

It’s there, it’s loud, but it doesn’t have that warmth or realness you expect. It’s like a recording played at the wrong speed, something mechanical and rehearsed.

This hollow laughter might be a desperate attempt to fit in, to show the world that everything’s fine when it’s anything but.

It’s a mask, a cover, a false note in the symphony of emotions.

When you hear that unnatural laugh, it might be a sign that the person is wrestling with feelings they’re not ready to face.

They’re laughing on the outside, but inside, they might be crying, struggling, or lost.

It’s a haunting reminder that not all is as it seems, and sometimes, pretending to be happy is a lonely and painful road.

3. They’re Always the Life of the Party

It seems strange, doesn’t it? How can someone who’s always the center of attention, the life of the party, the person making everyone laugh, be anything but happy?

But here’s where it gets counterintuitive: sometimes, the person who’s trying the hardest to make everyone else happy is the one who’s struggling the most.

Think about it. By keeping everyone’s attention on their jokes and antics, they’re directing the spotlight away from their own feelings.

It’s a deflection, a way to hide in plain sight. They become the clown, the entertainer, anything but the person with real, painful emotions.

Being the life of the party can be a heavy mask to wear. It’s an expectation, a role they feel they must play, even when they’re aching inside.

If you know someone who’s always “on,” always performing, it might be worth taking a closer look.

Beneath the laughter and energy could be a person in need of understanding and compassion.

Sometimes, the loudest one in the room is silently calling for help.

4. They Never Talk About Themselves

I remember a friend I used to have in college. Always there with a listening ear, ready to help anyone with their problems.

But whenever the conversation turned to how he was feeling, he’d artfully dodge the question or change the subject.

At first, I thought he was just being selfless.

But over time, I realized that he never opened up about his own feelings or what was going on in his life.

It was like he was hiding behind a wall, afraid to let anyone see the real him.

This tendency to always focus on others and never talk about oneself can be a sign that someone is pretending to be happy.

They become the go-to friend, the wise counselor, anything but the person who might need support or empathy.

If you notice this in someone close to you, try gently nudging the conversation towards how they’re feeling.

It might take time and trust, but breaking down that wall can lead to a deeper and more honest connection.

Remember, even the best listeners need someone to listen to them sometimes.

5. They Avoid Serious Conversations

You know that friend who’s always up for a laugh but somehow slips away when things get serious?

Or that family member who seems to disappear whenever a real heart-to-heart conversation starts? It might not be a coincidence.

Avoiding serious conversations can be a sign that someone is pretending to be happy.

They’ll talk about the weather, the latest movies, or any casual topic, but the moment you try to dig a little deeper, they become elusive.

This avoidance might be because serious conversations can lead to personal questions, and those questions can reveal the truth behind the mask.

They’re scared that talking about real issues might expose the pain or sadness they’re hiding.

It’s like walking on a tightrope, trying to stay on the surface without falling into the depths of genuine emotions.

But those emotions are there, lurking just below the surface.

If someone you care about is always avoiding real talk, it could be worth gently pushing them to open up.

It might be uncomfortable at first, but showing that you’re there for them, no matter what they’re feeling, can make all the difference.

Sometimes, the most courageous thing we can do is let down our guard and talk about what’s really going on inside.

6. They’re Always Helping Others, But Never Themselves

We often admire those who are selfless, always putting others first, and constantly lending a helping hand.

They’re the ones you can rely on, the friends who are always there for you.

But here’s the counterintuitive part: sometimes, the person always helping others is the one who needs help the most.

It sounds odd, doesn’t it? How could someone so giving and caring be pretending to be happy?

The truth is, focusing on others can be a way to escape one’s own problems.

By making sure everyone else is okay, they avoid facing their own feelings and needs.

This continuous act of helping others might be a cover, a way to fill a void or distract from an inner emptiness.

It becomes a habit, a role they feel they must play, even if it means ignoring their own happiness and well-being.

If you know someone like this, try turning the tables and offering them support.

Ask them how they’re doing, what they need, and show them that it’s okay to take care of themselves too.

Sometimes, the person always taking care of others needs someone to take care of them.

And realizing that can be a profound and life-changing moment for both of you.

7. They’re Exhausted but Keep Pushing Themselves

There’s a certain weariness that comes with pretending, a fatigue that’s more than just being tired.

It’s the exhaustion of constantly trying to be something you’re not, of putting on a show day after day, without a break.

You might see it in their eyes, a sort of dullness that wasn’t there before.

Or you might hear it in their voice, a tired tone that goes beyond physical fatigue.

They keep pushing themselves, keep pretending, but there’s a weight dragging them down.

It’s like running a marathon with no finish line.

They’re out of breath, their legs are heavy, but they can’t stop because stopping means facing the truth.

The truth that they’re not happy. The truth that they’re broken and need help.

This constant exhaustion isn’t just a sign of a busy life; it’s a cry for help, a red flag that something isn’t right.

If you see this in someone you care about, don’t just offer them a coffee; offer them an understanding ear, a shoulder to lean on, and the space to be real and vulnerable.

Pretending to be happy is a race that can’t be won. It’s time to stop running and start healing.

And recognizing the exhaustion that comes with the facade is the first step toward authenticity and true happiness.

8. They Suddenly Change Their Behavior or Appearance

Sometimes, a sudden and dramatic change in a person’s behavior or appearance can signal that they’re pretending to be happy.

It could be a new haircut, a complete wardrobe overhaul, or taking up a hobby that seems completely out of character.

Why would they do this? The answer may lie in their search for a new identity or an attempt to escape from their current feelings.

It’s like putting on a new costume and hoping that the change on the outside will fix the turmoil on the inside.

But these changes, while they might look exciting, are often just surface-level adjustments.

They don’t address the underlying feelings of sadness, confusion, or dissatisfaction.

It’s a distraction, a way to momentarily feel in control or invigorated.

If someone close to you makes a sudden and unexpected change, it might be worth checking in with them.

Ask how they’re feeling, what prompted the change, and if there’s anything more profound going on.

A new haircut or hobby might be fun, but it’s often not a solution to deeper issues.

Remember, true happiness doesn’t come from changing our appearance or behavior; it comes from understanding, accepting, and nurturing our authentic selves.

That flashy new exterior might just be a cry for help, a sign that they’re searching for something more, something real.

It’s a path that often requires support, empathy, and patience from those who care about them.

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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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