10 signs someone has a really good heart, according to psychology

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How can you know if somebody has a truly good heart? 

Are their kind intentions sincere, or are they just being nice to get something or to impress you and feel like a “good person?”

Psychology provides numerous valuable insights about how you can tell if somebody is truly a person of integrity.

These signs will show through and show up again and again in the behavior of a truly well-intentioned and kind person. 

Let’s dive in and take a look. 

1) They’re empathetic and caring

Truly kind people are empathetic and caring. 

They don’t put on a show about it, either. They really do care, and that shines through in their words, actions and motivations.

They truly want to understand other people and be a positive force in their lives, and they do their best to make that a reality whenever possible. 

As psychology writer Michele Lian points out

“Someone with a good heart interacts with the people in their lives with empathy and a desire to understand. They’re also fully aware that the things they say and how they say it can make or break someone else’s day.”

2) They give of their time and energy

Genuinely kind people give of their time and energy without expectation of reward. 

They don’t do it for the applause or recognition either. 

While ensuring that their own well-being and needs are taken care of, they do go out of their way to assist and help out the people around them. 

They simply love helping others, even if it’s just something small. 

As Lian says: 

“Their hearts are open enough to offer you their time and energy because they know it’ll make you feel thought of and cared for.”

3) They’re honest even when nobody’s looking

Honesty is a culturally-boosted value. It’s what you’re “supposed” to do at your job, in your relationship and when interacting with new people

That’s why surface-level honesty only goes so far. 

It’s what people do when nobody’s looking that speaks to their deeper character.

Truly good-hearted folks are honest and truthful even when nobody’s looking. They return a lost wallet even if they could easily keep it with zero consequences. 

They tell the truth when they feel a relationship isn’t working out for them even if it’d be easier to just pretend everything’s fine and cheat on the side. 

4) They’re kind to the less fortunate

Kind-hearted folks are good to the less fortunate even when nobody else is. 

They don’t just pick the newest bandwagon to jump on or post hashtags everywhere because other people are. 

They truly want to help, whether it’s at the soup kitchen or with traumatized veterans or caring for their dad who’s ill in bed. 

5) They’re humble about their own abilities and perspective

Genuinely kind-hearted people tend toward being truly modest. 

They don’t like to toot their own horn, and they prefer to let their competence and skills speak for themselves.

In addition to not overvaluing or boosting themselves, they’re also humble about their outlook and perspective. 

They not only help, they also give empathy without always assuming they “get it.” 

As social worker and author Edie Weinstein, MSW, LSW writes

“Not assuming I know what it is like to be part of that group, in the same way I would not tell someone I know how they feel, even if I have had the same experience. We are all unique individuals.”

6) They treat people of all backgrounds with equal respect

Those with a really good heart treat people of all backgrounds with equal respect. 

They don’t jump to conclusions based on socio-cultural stereotypes nor prejudices from their own upbringing:

Instead, they let people speak for themselves and judge each person based on their actions as an individual. 

“They know that it’s never fair to judge a book outright by its cover and that things are never what they seem. They’re driven by curiosity, not judgment,” notes Lian.

7) They cheer people up when times are tough

When times are tough, people all react in different ways. 

The majority of us turn inwards, focusing intensely on what we want and need and how to get it as soon as possible. 

But for the genuinely kind-hearted individual, crisis is also a time to care for the less fortunate and help out people who are even worse off. 

While ensuring they have what they need to survive, the goodhearted individual naturally looks around him or her to see what is going on in the wider situation. 

They are the one lining up to donate blood after a natural disaster or large accident; they are the person volunteering at the local fire department or getting involved with local charity services.

8) They’re good listeners when a friend or colleague needs somebody

When a friend or colleague is in need, the truly kind individual is a great listener

Even when they may not have advice or relevant experience in what that person is going through, they are there hearing them. They provide a shoulder to cry on. 

They give that person a place to vent and to feel truly heard in their sadness and frustration. 

And the kind individual does all this without judging. Even if they don’t agree or find the other person’s response overblown, they hear them out and do whatever they can to help. 

They build bridges of trust and a solid reputation because everybody knows they only say what they mean. 

This brings up the next point: 

9) They’re dependable and follow-through on their promises

It’s easy to say all the right things and provide a word of encouragement here and there. 

But truly goodhearted folks are far more than just talk.

When they make a promise they do their absolute best to see it through, and they go the extra mile to back up their words with action. 

That’s because they genuinely want to be an asset in the lives of others, so their intention is to really make a difference, not just talk about making a difference. 

“A truly good person makes sure the task gets done and always goes the extra mile,” writes psychology researcher Kyle Robbins.

“Whether it’s staying to help clean up after an event or spending their own time ensuring things get done properly, a good person understands the importance of finishing what they start.”

10) They’re forgiving of the missteps and mistakes of others

Those with a genuinely kind heart are very much aware of their own faults. 

They have a code of ethics and values that they do their best to live by, but they have no illusions of moral purity on their own part. 

They know that just the same way they slip up, other people do too. 

And they know that persuading people to change and improve is much more effective when it’s done in a spirit of forgiveness and solidarity. 

The mark of a truly compassionate person is that they want to make up for their missteps and wrongs that they do, and they give others the same opportunity. 

“What we think, feel, say and do impacts on the people with whom we interact in personal and professional settings,” Weinstein notes

“Some have blind spots when it comes to attitude that leads to faux pas and mis-steps. It is what we do with our oops moments that places it on one side of the line or the other.”

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