Disingenuous people are everywhere. Some are just being polite and aren’t bad people. Others are just downright uninterested in anyone except themselves!
But not everyone is like this. Some people are really, truly genuine.
They deeply care about everyone around them – even people they’ve only just met.
But in a world of fake niceties, how do you know if someone really cares – or if it’s all just an act?
Psychology says a genuine person will only display certain traits. If you’re dealing with someone truly kind, these are the 13 most common signs.
1) They ask, “How are you?” instead of saying “Hope you’re well”
“Hope you’re well!” and “Hope you’re doing OK” are both fine pleasantries to receive.
But someone who says these things doesn’t really want to know how you are. If they did, they’d ask it more specifically.
Someone who genuinely cares about you and is interested in how things are going for you are more likely to ask, “How are you?”, rather than say, “Hope you’re OK”.
2) They laugh a lot
Some people laugh out of nervousness. Some people laugh to people-please. But some people laugh because they’re genuine people with a good sense of humor!
It isn’t always easy to spot the difference. Mostly, it just comes down to a gut feeling you have about them.
But if someone always seems positive and upbeat, happy to laugh when the time is right, they’re probably a pretty genuine person!
3) They smile with their eyes
There’s the age-old saying, “A smile is a mirror of the heart”. But this is only true if it’s a genuine smile. Or, as psychologists like to call it, a Duchenne smile!
People across the globe recognize the Duchenne smile as the most genuine sign of happiness in a person. If you’ve ever seen someone truly look happy, you’ll probably know exactly what this kind of smile looks like!
Research shows that a genuine smile occurs when the “zygomaticus major muscle lifts the corners of your mouth at the same time the orbicularis oculi muscles lift your cheeks and crinkle your eyes at the corners”.
But in simpler terms, it means their smile lights up their face and reaches their eyes!
4) You feel like you can trust them
Do you ever get this gut feeling that someone can’t be trusted?
Like you’re at work and your coworker tells you to do something, and you just get a bad feeling about it. Like there’s something they aren’t telling you…
On the flip side, are there times when someone says to you, “You can trust me” or “I won’t tell anyone” – and you just believe them?
Usually, this feeling comes from their body language. If someone is tense or fidgety, experts say you’re more likely to think they can’t be trusted.
Their behaviors and words have an impact, too. Like if they gossip, cancel plans, avoid questions, or don’t offer empathy – you’re less likely to trust them than someone who does the opposite.
When you’re dealing with a genuine person, you’ll just feel like you can trust them. You won’t exactly know why, but something about their actions and persona makes you feel like you can talk to them about anything.
5) They sincerely empathize with you
“I’m sorry”, someone says to you, with a look of compassion in their eyes, their head tilted slightly, and their hand gently reaching for your shoulder.
“I’m sorry”, someone says, with a blank vacant stare, keeping their distance, a bored look on their face – with maybe a little eye roll thrown in there!
They’re the same words, but one is said genuinely while the other isn’t.
Narcissists don’t have a lot of empathy (or any), but they usually learn how to fake empathize with people.
Experts call this “cognitive empathy”, which is when you empathize with someone without feeling the emotions of the other person.
Yet genuine people never fake empathy. They show compassion like the first example – and you feel like they truly care.
6) They’re the same person no matter who you’re with
One minute you’re talking to someone and they’re telling you how much they love your shoes and are being nice, nice, nice.
Then someone else joins the conversation and they start mocking you, gossiping, or even criticizing another partygoer’s shoes!
Basically, they change their opinions – sometimes even their whole personality – depending on who they’re with.
This isn’t a genuine person. When you’re talking to a genuine person, they’ll be consistent in how they act.
They aren’t nice one moment and unkind the next. They are the same person, with the same views, no matter who you’re with.
7) They have their own opinions and interests (and stick to them!)
Everyone changes their mind occasionally. Experts even say that changing your views or interests is a sign of personal growth!
But this change usually happens over time. It doesn’t happen from one day to the next, depending on who you’re talking to.
Genuine people have their own thoughts, views, opinions, and interests. They have a quiet confidence about them, too.
They might hide their views sometimes, namely when sharing them will cause an argument. But other than that, they own who they are and what they like.
8) They speak kindly of others (even people they don’t like)
Genuine people are kind-hearted – period! You’ll never catch them mocking someone else, not even behind their back.
You wouldn’t even catch them gossiping or passing judgment on other people’s business.
Even if they dislike someone (with good reason), they still act respectfully towards them. They wouldn’t spread a bad rumor, for example, or try to get them kicked out of college.
They’d keep their distance and get on with their life, not worrying about what other people choose to do.
9) They give their time freely
Another thing about genuine people is they tend to be very generous. They’ll happily lend a hand if you need it or offer a listening ear if you’re having a crisis.
Why? Because they want the best for you!
That’s not to say they’ll put your needs over theirs all the time! Someone who says no to you sometimes is still a genuine person.
Like if they decline lending you money even though you really need it. Or if they tell you they can’t meet up three days in a row even though you’re having a rough time.
They’re just looking out for themselves and being honest about the limits they have.
10) They don’t people please
Just because an authentic person is kind and generous, don’t mistake them for a people-pleaser!
People pleasers have good intentions, but their behavior isn’t good for them or their recipients. Why?
Because they’re only being nice and generous for validation. They want to be liked, so they’ll overstep their boundaries all the time to make you happy.
That’s not a criticism (I’ve struggled with it, too). It just isn’t genuine behavior when you look closely at it.
The difference between a genuine person and a people pleaser is that the former doesn’t really care who likes them (and who doesn’t).
They do things they want to do and things they believe are right to do.
When they offer help or kind words, they aren’t doing it just so you think highly of them. They’re doing it because they simply want to be kind and respectful to others!
11) They wear their heart on their sleeve
Genuine souls are the type to cry in the movies when the dog dies or when the two protagonists FINALLY patch up their issues and get together!
If you told them a riveting story, they’d give you every expression under the sun – surprise, happiness, confusion, and maybe even anger.
They fall in love easily (and get their heart broken easily) and probably have a ton of friends they genuinely care about.
Basically, they wear their heart on their sleeve, and it’s pretty easy to spot.
12) They celebrate your successes
Jealousy truly is vicious. Even the person who feels jealous doesn’t feel good about it! The person on the receiving end certainly doesn’t, either…
I’ve had jealous friends before, and they never want to celebrate your successes.
If you bring them up, they’ll either brush them off, criticize you, or cry – and not tears of happiness!
When someone says they’re happy for you through gritted teeth, they probably don’t mean to be rude. But they aren’t a very genuine person for it.
Someone with true kindness feels pure joy for others when life is going well. Even if they want what you have, they wouldn’t let their feelings get in the way of showing you support.
13) They stick to their commitments
Truly genuine people are reliable. When someone does what they say they’re going to do, it shows authenticity.
In honesty, it shows they have a lot of respect for the people around them, too!
Why? It comes down to this: people who value their commitments and stick to them value you, too. They value your time, your emotions, and your life, generally!
They know that breaking their promises would put you out significantly – and they simply wouldn’t want to do that to another person.
The saying, “If something seems too good to be true, it probably is” has a lot of truth to it. But when it comes to people, there are some good eggs out there!
If you recognize these traits in someone you know, they’re probably a very genuine person.
They probably aren’t being fake just to win you over. Their behavior probably isn’t all an act just to get you to do something for them, either!
They’re likely just a truly kind person who likes and appreciates you.
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