10 subtle clues that reveal someone’s true character

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Have you ever met a person who filled you with a certain unease? Or at the very least, made you feel doubtful of their character? 

That kind of person can be pretty hard to crack. But you know what? There are some subtle clues that can show you what kind of person they really are! 

In this article, I’ll show you ten things to check out that reveal someone’s true character. They can be really handy in helping you figure out if someone’s worth having in your life.

Let’s dive in!

1) The way they treat waitstaff

Let’s begin with a classic – how someone treats waitstaff at a restaurant. 

Have you ever been out with a friend, date, or co-worker and noticed how they interact with the servers? I’ve always used this one as a way to gauge if they’re as nice as they say they are. 

See, the way someone treats service staff is a direct reflection of their character. If they’re polite, patient, and respectful, it’s a good sign that they’re decent and kind people

But if they’re rude, impatient, or entitled, that’s a red flag for me. I know right away that I won’t be investing a lot of time and energy in maintaining a connection with that person. 

Life is just too short to hang out with unkind people!  

2) How they play the gossip game

Speaking of kindness, here’s a good trick to finding out if someone’s got kindness and integrity…the gossip game. 

We all love a bit of juicy gossip, but there’s a limit to it. I think that at a certain point, gossip ceases to be fun and harmless and turns mean-spirited. 

If someone’s constantly dishing out dirt on others or spreading rumors, beware! They are probably insecure and obviously untrustworthy. That’s not someone you want to let into your life!

3) How they listen

When I first met my friend Angie for the first time, I immediately warmed up to her. I just know she was someone worth knowing and keeping. 

You know how I got that vibe? Just by seeing her listening intently to my chatter. 

I’ve met hundreds of people throughout my life, and I can say this for sure – not everyone knows how to listen. By listening, I mean with full attention and genuine interest. 

Many would either zone out or interrupt me. Some would listen but clearly with the intent to reply. I’ve even talked to someone and poured out my heart about something painful, only for them to reply with a “more painful” episode they’ve experienced. 

So, when I met Angie, it was a real breath of fresh air. She was really curious and asked all the right questions to make me feel heard and welcome. 

4) How they react to criticism

Just as important as knowing how to listen is knowing how to respond to criticism

Does the person get defensive or lash out? Or do they welcome feedback and take it as a note to improve? 

If someone receives criticism in a good way, that bodes well for them. It shows they value your opinion and want to grow as a person. 

But if they don’t, well, best to steer clear. That person is likely to bump heads with you again in the future if they don’t learn how to take criticism. 

5) The Blame Game

Actually, the kind of person who can’t take criticism well is also likely to play the blame game. 

Isn’t it frustrating when someone never takes responsibility for their actions? 

I know that when things go wrong, it’s easy to point fingers. But I also think it’s the coward’s way out. 

I suppose I sound a bit harsh, but this kind of mentality just drives me nuts. I’ve had my fair share of people who always blamed someone else for their mistakes, and it never ended well. 

But if the person can admit when they’re wrong, and even better, learn from it? Oh, hold on to them! They’re a keeper! 

6) How they handle a crisis

Knowing how to take responsibility for your actions is a good sign that you also know how to handle a crisis

When things get chaotic, it’s often easier to see someone’s true colors. 

I once went on a road trip with a new boyfriend, who seemed like an absolute dreamboat. On the way, we had a flat tire. And wow, that made my interest in him go pffft, flatter than the flat tire we’d had. 

Instead of staying calm, he freaked out and began lashing out at me, at one point, even blaming me for the flat tire. All because I had to make a pit stop at a gas station, which is, duh, totally unrelated.  

Needless to say, once the tire was replaced, I made him turn that car back, and we drove back to the city, where we went our separate ways. 

Truly, a crisis is one of the best ways to check out what kind of person someone really is. 

7) Their generosity (or lack of it)

Whether it’s picking up the tab, giving a thoughtful gift, or volunteering their time, a person’s generosity speaks volumes about their character. 

Keep an eye out for those who are always looking to give back and help others. Those are the ones with the big hearts, the ones filled with kindness and compassion. Your life will be so much richer with them in it!

Meanwhile, those who are stingy or never offer assistance could be revealing a less-than-stellar character. I wouldn’t say to write them off completely, but perhaps be cautious because they might not be the type you can lean on when you need help. 

8) How they treat animals

Another way I figure out if someone’s a good person is the way they treat animals. 

You see, animals can be a great judge of character. If someone’s kind, patient, and loving towards the animals they encounter, that points to the possibility that they have a good heart. 

Now, what if they aren’t dog or animal lovers? Does that mean they’re not worth knowing? 

Of course not. Some people may just not have grown up around animals or have had negative experiences with them, so they might feel afraid or uncomfortable around animals. 

But if they show cruel behavior, that’s an entirely different story. Anyone who harms or neglects an animal gets an automatic write-off in my book. It just shows a complete disregard for life, and that’s not something we should ever tolerate. 

9) Their social media behavior

In today’s world, social media can reveal a lot about someone’s character. It’s a literal gold mine of psychological clues! 

Is the person constantly posting selfies? Humble-bragging? Posting inflammatory messages? 

All of that could point to negative traits you’d rather not deal with. 

On the other hand, if they use their platforms to uplift others, share interesting content, or stay connected with friends and family, that’s a good sign. It shows they’re well-rounded and thoughtful

However, take care not to make snap judgments based on social media alone. Remember that social media profiles showcase only a small part of that person’s life, so you might not be getting the full picture. 

It’s best to think of it this way: Social media can indeed provide some insights and clues about a person’s character, but face-to-face behavior is always the most reliable indicator.  

10) The company they keep

Finally, we get to the most tried-and-tested way of showing a person’s character. Remember the saying, “Birds of the same feather flock together?” 

Well, that’s an adage for a reason. It’s just generally true. We tend to stick with like-minded people

Look at the person’s friends. If they surround themselves with kind and upright people, they probably are, too. 

The opposite is true as well. If their circle is made up of people who love stirring up drama or causing trouble, then they probably are that way, too. 

Final thoughts

These are just some ways you can find out more about a person’s character. Hopefully, they’ll prepare you better to spot the ones worth keeping. 

Remember, though, that nobody’s perfect and we all have our off days. And also, human beings are complex – we aren’t black and white. 

So while these signs may guide you, it’s always best to look at the person’s overall behavior, consider the situation, and listen to your gut, too. That way, you’ll be able to make more informed decisions about the relationships in your life.  

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