How to tell if a guy means what he says (19 ways to find out)

Talk can be cheap.

But in the beginning stages of dating someone, it’s also one of the main ways you have to get to know them and build a connection with them.

That’s why what they say matters.

It also matters a lot whether they actually mean it.

If you’ve met a guy you’re interested in who’s been saying a lot to you and you want to judge his sincerity then you’re likely wondering how to tell if a guy means what he says.

Here are 19 ways for how to tell if a guy means what he says

1) His body language is on point

Body language is very hard to fake.

When a person is being insincere their body will send you clues, if you know what to look for. Here are several body language hacks to watch for:

Genuine smiles:

When a person smiles for real it’s known by experts as a Duchenne smile. The authentic smile is proven by crow’s feet wrinkles around the eyes.

If a guy is pretending to be happy or smile you may notice a lack of wrinkles around his eyes. But just because the crinkles are there doesn’t necessarily mean they’re elated.


When the chemistry is flowing well, a person tends to mirror the person they’re with. This includes a similar posture, movements, hand gestures, and more.

Watch for this guy’s body language and see if it is mirroring you.

More signs? Him holding eye contact, orienting his feet towards you, him looking at your lips and him wanting to be close to you.

2) He doesn’t flake at the last minute

All of us have to cancel dates and appointments now and then.

But flaking — or cancelling frequently and at the last moment — is an exceptionally frustrating part of modern dating.

One of the best methods for how to tell if a guy means what he says is that he does his best to keep his word. He doesn’t flake at the last minute or give you all sorts of excuses when he’s already committed to seeing you.

If he says he wants to see you, that’s exactly what he means and no other girl — or obligation — is likely to get in the way short of a real emergency.

3) His voice is slow and steady

Body language can sometimes tell you more than spoken words, as I wrote earlier.

One of the oft-overlooked parts of body language is the voice and breath itself.

In her book The Body Language of Liars, behavioral analyst Dr. Lillian Glass writes about how liars and insincere people often speak in a choppy and out-of-breath style.

“They are out of breath because their heart rate and blood flow change. Your body experiences these types of changes when you’re nervous and feeling tense — when you lie.”

If his voice is jumping all over the place and he’s breathing like he just ran a marathon, he’s either really nervous or he’s not being legit with you in some way.

4) He describes things in detail

If a guy is running lines on you and being fake then he’s going to be telling you things he tells many other women he’s pursuing.

“You’re so beautiful,” “time with you is really special,” “wow, tell me more about that story it sounds amazing,” and so on.

These could easily be genuine comments, but they’re also easy for a skilled player to copy-paste onto any interaction.

This is why it’s a smart idea for you to listen for details. Does he describe things in a detailed way when complimenting you, talking about himself or speaking about anything?

Or does he just say very generic stuff that could apply to anyone and anything?

5) He keeps his ego in check

Self-confidence is an attractive trait but egotism is the opposite.

If he’s sure of his own competence and speaks confidently then it’s a great sign, but if he’s always talking himself up and his ego is bloated like a balloon then there’s a good chance he’s running game on you and not being fully genuine.

Guys who brag and are full of themselves barely tell the truth half the time, even to themselves.

They are living in a fantasy world they’ve constructed where they’re infallible and wonderful and the world should worship them.

Unless you’re looking for that kind of insecurity and game-playing, I’d suggest you move along.

6) He lets you in on his life

One of the best ways for how to tell if a guy means what he says is to look at whether he’s really letting you in on his personal thoughts and experiences or not.

Some guys take longer to open up than others, so it depends a lot on his personality.

But the name of the game is that, if he likes you and he means what he’s saying then he’s going to share some of his personal life with you.

He’ll also open up about his passions and interests. Whether or not you share similar interests, the fact that he’s opening up is a very good sign.

7) He has no history of cheating

I’m of the opinion that people can change and that cheaters don’t always cheat again. But the statistics are not on my side.

In fact, cheaters are  350% more likely to cheat again than someone who has never cheated before, according to Secure Forensics.

That’s why it’s important to find out whether the guy you’re into has a history of cheating or not.

I’m not saying to ditch him if he does, but you should definitely be way more cautious in giving your heart away.

Whereas if he has never cheated then you can at least rest assured that he’s either pretty much an honest guy or else a very good liar who’s never been caught.

8) He’s a fairly open book

If he’s lying then he’s usually trying to hide something. It could be about his past or his personality.

For example, if he tells you that he can’t give you what you want, then you actually know he is being truthful.

Or it could be psychological problems, family issues, or something in his life situation that’s messing things up for him.

If he shuts down on you and won’t talk about big areas of his life then it should be a warning sign to you.

The thing is:

Even if he does mean what he says, the fact that he’s keeping certain parts of himself strictly off-limits means that he’s likely a powder keg ready to blow at some point.

Don’t get serious with him if — and until – he opens up a bit more.

9) He doesn’t play the blame game

Guys who go light on the truth are usually stuck in a victim narrative or an egotistical framework in which they’re always right.

If he’s rude to you, cancels, or seems depressed about work he’ll always blame some external force.  It’s never him just having a hard time, it’s always someone else’s fault.

The sincere man, by contrast, will have his down days as well, but he will shrink away from blaming.

Even if other people or forces are somewhat to blame, he won’t focus on that. He’ll just be straight up about things and admit he’s having a shitty day.

10) You matter to him

When a guy is honest and means what he says then he won’t take you out and tell you that he cares about you unless he does.

This goes on the negative side, too.

If he tells you he’s just not sure how he’s feeling or that he’s been hurt from a past relationship then you can be quite sure he means what he says and is just being honest with you.

This is a sign of maturity and consideration.

Even if he isn’t serious about you or looking for something serious, you matter enough to him for him to be straight with you about what he’s looking for and where he’s at in life.

Basic respect can go a long way, especially these days.

11) He’s consistent

Consistency is a key characteristic indicating strong emotion or belief. If he consistently says something then you can be sure he at least believes it is true and cares about it.

If he changes up what he says and talks in confusing, half-assed ways, it’s a glaring red alert that he’s not being real in some way.

Consistency — especially on detailed and specific things he says — means he’s not just talking to hear his own voice and means what he says.

So watch for consistency on his part.

12) He has a moral code

He could be a hippie or a hedge fund bro but whatever his identity, it has to have a solid moral code for you to know what you’re getting.

For some guys, this means they were raised in a religious household or by strongly principled parents who instilled good values in them, while for others it means they have trodden their own path to spiritual and ethical values that they always stick by in life.

If he has a moral code that includes honesty and treating other people with respect, then you can be much more confident that he’s not just taking you for a ride and that he means what he’s saying.

13) He actually cares what you say

A guy who is full of crap doesn’t listen to you. He just runs his mouth at you and tries to get sex.

If you want to know the best way for how to tell if a guy means what he says, then observe whether he truly cares about what you say.

This includes noting whether he remembers things you say about your likes and dislikes, experiences, and interests.

Does he care what you say and remember it or does he just plaster on a fake smile and nod?

14) He’s not twitchy or blinky

The latest research says it’s not good for people who touch their face and nose a lot and fiddle with their hands. Why?

It’s because people’s noses tend to get inflamed and they get upset when they aren’t being fully honest. Then they usually touch them and start fidgeting. It’s one of the classic signs of lying.

You can also watch for if the guy blinks a lot or shifts his gaze around rapidly like a little badger.

Let’s just say there’s a reason that the word shifty means dishonest or shady.

15) He doesn’t have multiple personalities

Guys you can trust are always just themselves. They may be up they may be down, but they’re never somebody else entirely.

Men who you can’t trust shift around between personalities like a chameleon and you just never know what type of guy he’s going to from one day to the next.

If you want to know how to tell if a guy means what he says then look for consistency from one day to the next in how he presents himself.

Is he a swaggering businessman one day and a sensitive poet the next? Does he vent about a past relationship one week and then become a meek meditation guru the next week?

Instead, try to find a man who’s on a gradual journey and who’s more or less consistent day-to-day and comfortable with who he is.

16) He has a good relationship with his family

Obviously, if his family are violent meth dealers who are in and out of jail, then it’s probably better if he doesn’t have a good relationship with his family.

But in general, if this guy is supported by his family and they believe in him, it’s a sign that he’s an honest man who doesn’t mess around.

This is something that is usually fairly obvious once you pay attention to how he talks about his family and how they talk about and interact with him.

But if things are getting more serious and you’re meeting them, you should still be cautious.

He could be a sleazy guy with sleazy parents who want to make him look good as part of the toxic patterns in their family. Yikes.

17) He’s not weird about his phone

Even the most innocent among us don’t want other people snooping around on our phone like Sherlock Holmes.

But grabbing it like a guilty bandit every time someone comes within ten feet of you is also not a great sign.

If a guy means what he says and is trustworthy then he’s usually fairly relaxed about his phone.

That’s because he’s got nothing to hide and he more or less is who he appears to be in his private life as well. He’s not sexting ten girls behind your back or trying to hide something.

He’s just him, and his phone is just a tool he uses, not a backdoor to cheating and lies.

18) He holds eye contact

Eye contact matters a lot. They say eyes are the windows to the soul and I think there’s something to that.

In fact, research shows that holding eye contact is usually a sign of greater honesty.

The eyes are also portals that can unlock a lot of physical and emotional attraction, so never underestimate just how powerful eye contact can be.

If you want to know how to tell if a guy means what he says then watch his eyes.

Are they shifty and flitting around or locked on you, guileless and honest? There you go.

19) What do you feel in your gut?

I don’t mean the extra-spicy pho that you just ate. I mean your emotional gut instinct: what’s it telling you?

Is this guy for real or is he as fake as a three-dollar bill?

Your instincts are a powerful thermometer for reading this guy’s temperature.

One precaution here:

If he’s extremely good-looking physically then try not to let that hoodwink you into trusting everything he says. Sometimes a shiny wrapper disguises a dirty product.

Other times, he’s just hot and honest and you should already be thinking about what kind of wedding you’d like to have.

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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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