Many people are talented at pretending to be authentic.
They smile, shake your hand and look you in the eye, but they’re full of sh*t.
Spotting a genuine person requires some caution and attention to detail.
Here’s how to spot the real ones and not get caught up in any scams or games.
1) They keep their word
Genuine people aren’t perfect, but they keep their word as much as possible.
Far too many folks make a promise or a commitment when they know they won’t actually do it.
Genuine people don’t make a promise unless they intend to keep it.
If you want to separate the real from the fake, look for those who under-promise and over-deliver, instead of the other way around.
2) They don’t make demands
Fake people and scammers make a lot of demands.
They are mostly focused on what they can get out of you and only plaster on a fake smile to seem appealing.
Genuine people make deals and get to know you one step at a time.
They aren’t just focused on treating you like a pinata or find out what you can do for them right from the get go.
3) They aren’t focused on money right away
The next of the telltale signs that somebody is genuine is that they aren’t all about money all the time.
To be sure, money matters and it comes up in all sorts of situations.
But it’s not the first topic that always comes up, nor the first words out of somebody’s mouth.
One of the classic signs of inauthenticity is something we’ve all experienced:
A person trying to constantly sell you something, find out what you’re willing to spend or turn the topic to money.
Genuine people care about money just like anybody else, but it isn’t their #1 focus, especially not right off the bat.
4) They have a good reputation
There’s a reason that new employers and landlords want to see references:
Many times they actually are meaningful.
The same goes for folks asking around about somebody’s reputation before getting serious with them in a relationship.
That’s why one of the markers of a genuine person is that they have a good reputation.
Of course, a big part of this is who is giving them support and whether they’re people you can trust as well.
But in general, a good reputation goes a long way.
5) They are honest where they disagree with you
Disagreements can be stressful and frustrating, but they’re actually a big sign of an honest person.
There’s nothing that weakens a relationship, a company or a friendship like pretending to agree in order to please somebody.
Genuine people speak up when they disagree.
They don’t pretend to be in line just to keep from rocking the boat.
If somebody’s constantly nodding and smiling around you in a way that seems inauthentic, it’s often because it is inauthentic.
6) They don’t pretend to like somebody when they don’t
On a related note to speaking up when they disagree, genuine people are honest when they don’t like somebody.
At the most elementary level this means they won’t lie about liking another person or pretend to have no opinion when they do have an opinion.
At the more personal level, it means a genuine person will be honest in how they feel about you.
For example, if you want to date them and they don’t feel the same, they’ll be honest instead of leading you on.
7) They admit when they’re having a bad day
Genuine people aren’t the type to say “I’m great” when they’re not.
Even a standard “I’m fine” tends to be pretty fake sometimes, especially when delivered with a fake smile and a thumbs up.
For that reason, when they’re having a bad day, they’ll be honest about it!
“Today sucked! I already found out I’m late on my taxes and my cat pissed all over the foyer. But otherwise, can’t complain.”
Hard to get more genuine than that, wouldn’t you say?
8) They don’t change their principles for profit or power
If you want a quick test of authenticity, compare somebody’s principles and ethics when power and money show up.
Say your friend has always been a strong environmentalist who hates pollution and irresponsible corporate practices.
He enters the legal field and tells you about an offer from a fairly prestigious law firm, but admits he’s a bit torn since a large chunk of their client list are corporate raiders who dump sh*t in the environment on a daily basis.
Does he accept the offer or look for another less prestigious firm that doesn’t rely on razing Mother Nature to make a buck?
Money and career advancement can make some people’s principles fly out the window.
Watch for this.
9) They treat people the same regardless of class or station
The other authenticity gold standard is to watch how somebody varies their treatment of others.
An inauthentic person is generally thinking of what they can get from people or how “high-status” folks are.
They then gauge their treatment of people on this basis.
A genuine person, by contrast, treats everyone the same regardless of their station and status in society.
Incidentally, this is a common trope in ancient myths and Biblical stories: a god such as Zeus would come to the door disguised as a homeless wanderer and take note of how people treated him without knowing who he was.
Almost every religion has strong warnings to people not to judge on outer appearance and rank and to realize that everybody has a worthy soul in the eyes of God or the gods.
10) They open up about their core beliefs and faith
Genuine people tend to be an open book.
Some take longer to get to know than others, but generally speaking, an authentic individual is going to be willing to open up to you about what they believe and care about.
This is why genuine people have much deeper friendships and relationships:
Because they don’t misrepresent who they are or what they stand for.
So many people do, especially nowadays in our social-media-infused age, that somebody who’s straight up about what they believe is a huge breath of fresh air.
11) They own up to their mistakes and shortcomings
When genuine people make a mistake they have two responses that come next:
First they admit what they did and second they try to make up for it.
When they make a mistake, genuine people will be real about it.
They will also try to do what they can to make up for it or fix the consequences of what they did wrong, if that is possible.
Fake people won’t even bother.
12) They are highly self-aware of their faults and strengths
The important thing to realize about genuine people is that they’re not “better” than other people.
They’re simply more honest.
For this reason, an authentic person will be more honest and self-aware of themselves and everything about themselves.
They know their strengths, their weaknesses and their blind spots.
They’re willing to admit what they don’t know.
They’re not genuine because they’re better than others, they’re genuine because they’re willing to be truly honest and engage in self-awareness.
The real ones
If you’re trying to determine who’s authentic and who’s not, remember the most important ingredients:
Consistency over time.
It’s easy to show up once or twice, but a truly genuine person is not going to change their behavior or ethics from one interaction to the next.
They are consistent over time.
And that makes all the difference!