Everyone wants to be a nice person, and liked by others.
And it’s not all that hard to put up an image to look like that.
But how can you tell who’s really a genuinely good person, and who’s just acting like one?
I recently thought a lot about this when I met a super sweet woman who is clearly a truly kind person.
I wondered what sets her apart from others who just “seem nice” — and I boiled it down to these 8 behaviors.
If someone does these things, that’s how you can tell they’re really genuinely kind.
1) They try to include everyone
First of all, notice how the person acts in group situations. Do they put in effort to make everyone feel included, or do they just try to be the center of attention?
In the introduction I mentioned a genuinely kind woman I recently met — it was at a weekend music festival event.
I decided to go at the last minute and so I was there alone. She saw me eating breakfast alone and waved me over to her table where she was sitting with her partner.
She immediately created a very warm vibe that made me feel super welcome sitting with them, and brought up conversation topics that I could participate in fully.
And even though they were German they spoke in English even to each other in front of me, so I never felt out of place or left out.
Even though I barely knew her, this was a clear sign to me that she was an incredibly kind person who truly thought about other people’s wellbeing.
2) They listen actively
Next, pay attention to how they engage in conversation. Are they truly listening to what you have to say, or are they just waiting for their turn to speak?
Active listening means being fully present in the conversation, showing interest in the other person’s thoughts and feelings.
And this is exactly what this genuinely kind woman did.
When she asked me a question, she allowed me time to speak without interrupting and I could tell she was really present with me, listening to my answer with interest.
She never once checked her phone or looked around, and when she did get distracted by something important, she first told me “sorry” before turning her attention away, and then afterwards asked me to finish telling my story.
This behavior is so simple, yet it’s a sure sign that someone is genuinely good. They aren’t just hearing words; they’re taking them to heart and showing they truly care about you.
3) They praise others sincerely
How often does this person give compliments or praise? If it’s pretty often, that’s another behavior that shows they’re genuinely a good person.
But I don’t just mean throwing around empty compliments. The idea is that they really recognize and appreciate others’ efforts or good qualities.
This trait stood out to me with the kind woman I met at the festival. Unlike many women there who saw each other as competition, she freely complimented other women on how beautifully they danced or dressed.
You could tell she had a truly abundant mindset, and understood that recognizing good qualities in other people doesn’t in any way take away from her own.
And it didn’t just make others feel good, but it showed that she is observant, thoughtful, and appreciative of the people around her too.
4) They forgive people’s mistakes and missteps
At one point, I was talking to this young woman, and a man came up to us. She knew him because she and her partner had sat with him at dinner the night before.
And one thing struck me about this interaction. He kept interrupting her, and sometimes on the contrary he would seem to get lost in thought and zone out of what she was saying.
But she never once let it show that she was annoyed or did something to point it out to the guy.
She just continued in the conversation and engaged as best as she could. When he left, she laughed about it and made a light joke saying she never knew when she could speak or not.
This is something genuinely good people do, because they have great empathy and understanding for other people.
They understand that we all make mistakes and do things without realizing how they impact others — they’re not there to punish you for it, but offer you grace and permission to be human.
5) They share generously
People who are genuinely good tend to share generously — not just material things, but also their time, knowledge, and attention.
I observed this with the same kind woman at the festival. When I admired a bracelet she was wearing, she didn’t just thank me; she told me the story behind it and where I could get one. She even offered to connect me with the artist who made it.
Of course, you do keep boundaries, and you don’t have to give away things you don’t want to.
It’s about being open and willing to give a part of what you have, with a giving spirit rather than trying to hog things just for yourself.
I can compare this to another woman I met there. I loved her skirt and asked her where she got it from, and she said “Oh, it’s an old skirt, I don’t remember.”
It was quite obvious to everyone around that she just didn’t want to share where she had it from so she could be the only one to have a skirt like that.
It’s such a tiny thing, but it speaks volumes about the different attitude of these two women.
6) They ask others for favors
This behavior might sound counterintuitive to you — if someone is genuinely kind, wouldn’t they give favors rather than asking for them?
But those two things are actually much more related than you might think.
You see, we often judge others based on what we would do in their shoes. If a person asks you to do something for them, it’s because if it were the other way around they would be happy to do things for other people.
That’s the worldview they have, and how they believe other people think as well.
When I was leaving the music festival, the young woman asked me if I could drop a postcard for her daughter in the mailbox, because it was on my way.
I was actually very happy that she trusted me with something like that, because it showed that she really believed in my goodwill and willingness to help — which I was very happy to do.
7) They apologize sincerely
Every person makes mistakes — and a genuinely good person offers sincere apologies when they do.
We all know this is the right thing to do, but it’s very difficult for a lot of people. And that’s understandable – after all, we all want to be our best, and nobody likes to admit they’ve done something wrong.
But genuinely kind people understand one thing — whether you apologize or not, it doesn’t change your mistake.
What it does do is show the person that it definitely wasn’t your intention to make that mistake. It also shows an understanding of personal responsibility and a commitment to making things right.
I saw a small example of this at the music festival, when the young woman I met accidentally stepped on my foot while dancing. She immediately stopped, turned to me with genuine concern in her eyes and said, “I’m so sorry, did I hurt you?”
Her apology wasn’t just a reflex, it was genuine kindness that revealed her true character.
8) They spread positivity
We all influence each other, and genuinely good people make sure that this influence is positive whenever possible.
They are there to uplift others, and don’t take out their anger or worries on people who have nothing to do with it.
The woman I met is such a great example of this. Every time I saw her, she had a huge smile on her face, radiating love and happiness to everyone around.
Even when I was tired or not in my best mood, I left every conversation with her feeling uplifted and energized.
It was incredible how she had such a positive impact on everyone around her.
Obviously, people like this do have problems of their own, and this isn’t about putting on a mask and pretending you’re okay when you’re not.
But it’s about the intention of wanting to add to the lives of people around you rather than take away from them.
Surround yourself with genuinely good people
Now you know the 8 behaviors that tell you if someone is a genuinely good person.
Hopefully you’ll be able to recognize many people like this around you.
And you want to know the best way to build a community of people like this in your life? Become one of them yourself!
You can start by adopting these 8 behaviors into your daily life yourself, and cultivating loving kindness in your own mindset.
People around you will be sure to notice, and like-minded people will gravitate towards you.
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