No one likes a fake person — it feels horrible to be played, lied to, or judged harshly behind closed doors.
Especially in the age of social media, lots of people curate their Instagram feeds and rethink what they post online largely out of fear that people will perceive them a certain way.
But these highlight reels portray only ideal selves, and consequently, real moments become scarce.
It’s widely believed that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with, so if you want to surround yourself with peers that have your back, will never take advantage of you, or wrongly judge you, make sure to look for these 12 traits.
1) They Aren’t Major People Pleasers
Genuine people don’t care about being people pleasers.
While they may strive to be kind and helpful, their actions are driven by their own principles, rather than an incessant urge for external validation.
They’re willing to make unpopular decisions even at the expense of judgment. They also don’t go out of their way to make someone like them.
On the contrary, fake people tend to exhibit an excessive desire to please others, often at the expense of their own beliefs and priorities.
Interactions with them can seem superficial, as they tend to be pretentious and often don’t exercise their critical thinking muscles — or at least only when it uplifts their image.
2) They Don’t Flake
One of the defining characteristics of a genuine person is their reliability. You can always count on them to stay true to their word.
This sense of trust inevitably nurtures their relationships, as people know that they’ll always follow through.
They don’t cancel plans last minute or at least without any valid reason — they value their commitment.
“I’m a people person,” my friend told me one day. I didn’t understand what she meant.
Was she an extrovert? Does she like talking in front of a crowd or being the life of the party? Does she have a hard time being alone?
Apparently, it’s none of the above; she simply meant that she was human – with strengths, vulnerabilities, and quirks – just like the rest of us.
She enjoys human connection because it gives her the opportunity to form deep, meaningful relationships rooted in authenticity, empathy, and shared experiences.
She doesn’t say no to a coffee date or late night party if it means that she’ll get to interact with others on an emotional level.
3) They Treat Everyone With Respect
When you encounter genuine individuals, you’ll notice that they respect everyone they meet, with no pretenses or facade.
It doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from, what your job is, or how many social media followers you have – genuine people will treat you with kindness and dignity.
They won’t ask for anything in return. In fact, they’ll most likely send you thoughtful messages now and then to remind you that they care.
This then creates a ripple effect of positivity and compassion.
Since genuine people tend to remember the little details about someone – like your name, what you like to do in your free time, or how you don’t like whipped cream on your coffee – they inspire you to do the same.
4) They’re Not Materialistic
True happiness comes from within. Genuine people know that they can’t find fulfillment in material possessions and status symbols.
Instead, they invest their time and energy into nurturing relationships, their personal development, and making a positive societal impact.
Keep in mind that the pursuit of material wealth can often distract you from forming more meaningful connections and experiences.
If you find yourself placing too much meaning over money, it’s time to shift your attention away from the superficial and towards the essential.
Ask yourself, “What types of experiences make me feel the happiest?” and “Who are the people that I’m always looking forward to meeting?”
5) They Put Away Their Phones and Show Genuine Interest
In an era where screens and virtual connections dominate our lives, genuine people stand out from all the noise because they know when to put away their phones, as well as why it’s important to be interested and present in a conversation.
They’re able to ask thoughtful questions and actively listen, making the other person feel seen and heard.
Taking inspiration from this trait of theirs, it’s high time that we all make a conscious effort to prioritize authentic connections in our daily lives.
The moment you unnecessarily reach out for your phone is the same moment you fail to respect the person you’re talking to. Listen. Connect. And know that “interesting people are interested people.”
6) They Don’t Brag
They possess a quiet confidence. They let their actions speak for themselves, knowing that they don’t need validation from others.
They don’t see why they need to boast about their achievements and abilities simply because they can stand on their own merits.
Insecure, fake individuals tend to constantly point out their accomplishments and pretty much everything else going on in their lives at any chance they get.
Allow me to toot my friend’s horn here. Back in his early 20s, he was working a minimum wage job and could barely make ends meet.
But he just had this feeling that he was destined for more. Fast forward a few years and countless failures, he now has a thriving e-commerce business which he built from the ground up – no investors, no trust fund, no nepotism.
Yet, you’ll never find him boasting about what he’s done on social media.
Instead, he likes to post about the causes he supports, where he volunteers, and the successes of his friends.
You might see this as virtue signaling, but I see it as someone who wants to leave the world a better place than he found it.
7) They Live By Their Core Values
Genuine individuals live by their core values. These principles and beliefs serve as their life compass.
Their unwavering commitment to their core values allows them to lead lives of integrity and purpose.
They’re able to stay true to themselves, even when faced with difficult choices or challenging circumstances.
These individuals are not hypocrites.
There’s a clear harmony between their words and deeds.
As mentioned, genuine people practice what they preach; you can expect that they’ll follow through with what they say.
If they don’t, they’ll take responsibility and accountability, unlike fake people who will most likely put the blame on anything or anyone but themselves.
8) They Are Open-Minded
Genuine people don’t wear blinkers, metaphorically speaking.
They’re open to the world around them, absorbing information and experiences that expand their perspective.
By having a flexible worldview, they’re able to develop a more nuanced understanding of the complexities of both life and society.
In addition, genuine people seek to learn from others in order to grow both personally and collectively.
They enjoy seeing the world from someone else’s lens – given that everyone has their own unique history, set of experiences, culture, and vantage point.
They make an effort to show respect for everyone’s upbringing and way of life.
9) They Are Vulnerable
I’ll say this time and time again: Vulnerability doesn’t equate to weakness.
If you continue to build and maintain your defensive walls, you won’t be able to connect with people on a deeper level.
This prevents you from opening up, as well as being able to receive criticism – may it be constructive or not – without it making you crumble and hide under your blanket.
This was one of my most important mistakes during my formative years.
I thought acting tough and cool was the way to go – I mean, no one cares about what I’m going through anyway, but I was wrong.
Anxiety ate me up from the inside. I struggled to finish my homework and even just take care of myself.
One day, I decided to open up about my problems with a close friend.
As a result, I not only became closer with my friend, but I found out that I was not alone in my struggles. This was the first step in my healing journey.
10) They Generously Give Compliments
Genuine people are grateful people.
But keep in mind that gratitude flows in two directions: It’s a give-and-take process.
That said, genuine people are known for their generous and heartfelt compliments.
They recognize the qualities, efforts, and accomplishments of others – may that be their co-worker, friend, or even a complete stranger.
This propensity for showering people with compliments not only boosts the self-esteem of the receiver, but it also contributes to collective well-being.
Genuine people give credit where it’s due – not to mention they always come from a place of respect and admiration.
When everyone in the room feels appreciated, they become motivated to continue doing good work.
11) They Take Promises and Commitments Seriously
“I promise…” is a phrase we hear all the time; however, it’s also something we hear broken every now and again.
Promises are hard work. If keeping a promise was so easy, then broken promises shouldn’t hurt so much.
I can’t deny that this can sometimes be a hard trait to maintain.
There have been days when I committed to a date with a friend, but something unexpected comes up.
Unless it’s an emergency, I always choose to keep my commitment because not only do I respect my friend’s time, but I also don’t want to risk losing our friendship.
Promises are an affirmation of love. In a similar vein, actions speak louder than words.
12) They Show Up Themselves Too
It takes a lifetime to learn, understand, and remind yourself that all your feelings are, in fact, valid.
Showing up for yourself means that you can show kindness to all your thoughts – no matter how big or miniscule – as well as be non-judgmental towards others.
In other words, when you help yourself, it becomes so much easier to help others.
It’s good to make yourself a priority so you can extend the same level of empathy and altruism to others too.