It’s easy to find good people out in the world. But how would you know if someone is genuinely good or if they’re just faking it?
There are ways to tell, and once you’ve spent enough time around them, it will be easy for you to figure out… if you knew the signs.
That’s why in this article, I will share 12 signs that someone is a genuinely good person.
1) They try to give people the benefit of doubt
They approach the world with the expectation that people are imperfect and sometimes no matter how hard one tries to be better, they can still make some pretty bad mistakes.
It’s possible for well-meaning people to accidentally say something offensive entirely out of ignorance. It’s also possible for people who know better to not express their thoughts perfectly.
It’s because of this that they try to give people the benefit of doubt, where others would immediately assume the worst or think that people are acting in bad faith.
2) They are honest about their flaws
They don’t hide their flaws away behind white lies or pretend they don’t exist.
If they know that they have a sharp temper, then they will say so straight up instead of trying to make it seem like they’re actually a bit more patient than they actually are.
And if they have once been a horrible person, they aren’t going to bury that fact and will openly admit that they used to be pretty bad and might, in fact, not be as good as people think they are.
As far as they’re concerned, it’s simply not good or kind to pretend to be someone they’re not.
3) They lend an open ear
They don’t like it when people feel uncomfortable and unheard when they’re around. So when people are talking, they do their best to listen to whatever they might have to say.
And I truly do mean listen with a capital L. They aren’t content with simply nodding along. Instead, they will put in active effort to understand, empathize, and sympathize with what people tell them.
This isn’t always the easiest thing in the world because some people are fond of rambling on and on without immediately getting to the point.
But even then, they remain as patient as a saint, and not blank out or ask people to get to the point immediately.
4) They treat everyone the same
They don’t care if someone is the world’s richest man or if they’re someone who has been homeless and penniless since they were born. They don’t care if you’re speaking to the CEO or the waitress.
They don’t care about riches or status and so they treat everyone the same. In fact they might even care more for the poor and disenfranchised than the rich simply because of the fact that the poor have nobody to advocate for them.
Everyone is just human to them, and as far as they’re concerned someone being richer or more famous than another doesn’t entitle them to special treatment.
5) They don’t try to make life a competition
People who fake being “good” will be obsessed with always coming out on top. But genuinely good people instead are content with giving others their time to shine.
And that’s why when someone who’s better off than they are is complaining about their lot in life, they don’t don’t go “what have you got to cry about? You’re well-off!” or “At least you aren’t single like me!”. They instead offer sympathy and understanding even if it’s a specific problem they can’t totally relate to.
Likewise, when they see someone who used to be worse off pulling ahead of them in life, they don’t go “Oh, I can do better than you,” and will instead congratulate them for making it.
6) They try to be positive (but not too positive)
They go to great lengths to make sure people are comfortable around them.
If they notice their friend has been unusually quiet, they order them their favorite dessert to cheer them up. Or if everyone seems a bit gloomy or bored, they’d share uplifting news that they know will put smiles on peoples’ faces.
And yet at the same time they know better than to push so hard for positivity that they end up trying to uphold toxic positivity instead.
They acknowledge that there are times when insisting on positivity would be insensitive, and so they don’t.
Imagine trying to tell someone to “look at the bright side” after their daughter got diagnosed with an incurable illness, for example.
So they try to be a ray of sunshine, but know when they should just lie low.
7) They try to help as much as you can
In this world where people are always trying to secretly tear one another down, genuinely kind people like you stand out in that you try to lift others up instead.
Take, for example, a well-known musician who looks for and collaborates with lesser-known musicians to get their names out there.
Perhaps you might not be a musician, but you do your part in trying to lift others up around you. You might know that a friend of yours is doing badly and needs financial aid, so you help them set up a gofundme or ask your other friends to help pitch in and help them out.
8) They humanize people
You might have heard of people saying that immigrants are coming to “steal” your jobs, that everyone from a certain place are hackers, or that thieves deserve to be locked up forever.
Pigeonholing and stereotyping people like this are part of a larger phenomenon called dehumanization.
A lot of us often make the mistake of dehumanizing others despite our best efforts to avoid doing so. This is especially the case when maligned groups—like criminals—and one’s personal enemies are involved.
That’s why genuinely good people try to pay close attention to their words and, the moment they feel like they’re doing something off, they take a step back to think.
9) They have integrity
If they said that they don’t support the exploitation of cacao farmers in Africa, they’ll try to make sure all chocolate you eat is Fair Trade, and not secretly eat non-trade chocolate when nobody’s looking.
If they ever said that they’ll never tolerate bullying, then they aren’t going to sit back and watch their friends bully their number one personal enemy. They will instead ask their friends to stop.
A genuinely kind person is someone who stands by their word whether or not someone is looking, even when it’s simply advantageous for them to indulge in a bit of hypocrisy.
10) They don’t engage in gossip
Gossip is harmful.
As gossip spreads, facts quickly turn into lies, and people’s biases start steering them into framing people as uncharitably as they can.
For that reason, genuinely good people steer clear of any and all gossip. Other people’s flaws and drama are none of their business most of the time anyways…and when it does concern them, they’d rather hear it from the source.
If anything, they might even put themselves and their reputation at risk by trying to understand the person being gossipped about, and then try to correct the gossipers who come to them.
11) They treat animals well
If someone says that they’re a “good” person and yet treats animals badly, abusing them and treating them like mere possessions, then they’re simply not a good person.
You can tell a lot about someone’s true nature based on how they treat animals and those who can do nothing for them.
People who abuse animals almost always out themselves as abusive partners and parents eventually.
While being exceptionally kind to animals isn’t a silver bullet saying “this person is definitely good”, it does mean that, at the very least, they are more patient and caring than most.
12) They don’t take pride in being “good”
Here’s the thing: If you have to say that you’re a good person, then you’re most likely not.
You see, goodness is a state of being, and not something you can perform.
Truly good people aren’t too concerned about being SEEN as good, and they in all likelihood don’t even THINK of themselves as good.
Instead, they are more concerned about others—if they’re happy, if they need help, if they’re actually okay.
They simply have no time to stare at themselves in the mirror and say “well, aren’t you one helluva good person!” Never. The only time they ask themselves if they’re good is if they feel bad about not being a good person…so they can be better.
It takes time for one to truly prove themselves as a genuinely good person. Sometimes it might take times of crises for them to truly show themselves.
That aside, it’s also incredibly important to remember that nobody is born good. In fact, many of the best saints among us are those who were quite horrible in the past.
So if you’ve read this list and was dismayed to see that you aren’t as “good” as you wish you were, just keep trying.
Being good is something that people naturally become after a lot of time, experience, and effort into being thoughtful of others.