8 habits that separate genuine people from fake ones

by Brendan Brown | April 15, 2024, 5:20 pm

Making new friends gets tougher as you get older, and it can take time to spot whether someone is being genuine with you or totally fake.

Sadly, people change or their true colors only show over time. So even your oldest of friends can turn out not to be the people you thought they were.

Got an inkling someone isn’t quite who they say they are?

Keep reading to learn these 8 habits that separate the genuine from the fake – so you can ditch those bad friends for good!

1. They follow through on their words

A genuine person does what they say they will and doesn’t make promises they have no intention of keeping.

It’s easy to talk the talk about how you’re going to start running, take your partner out on nice dates, or see your family more.

But delivering on what you say you’re going to do isn’t as easy as talking about it.

When someone is always talking about the things they want to do one day (especially if it’s someone you’re dating), proceed with caution.

There’s a big difference between saying you’re going to do something and actually doing it.

2. A fake person will talk more than they act

And listening out for how often they say, “I’m going to do this” vs “I did this” can help you determine just how genuine they are.

They buy things they want, not things that will make them “look good”.

I remember an ex-boyfriend who always wanted one thing after another. As soon as he got those things, he never used them – sometimes not even taking them out of the packaging.

But any opportunity he got, he’d talk about how he owned these things.

It didn’t take long to realize that it was all for show. Because he didn’t really enjoy having those things. He just wanted them so he could say he had them.

But a genuine person buys things they truly want because they want them.

Not because they think it’ll be a good conversation starter or to make them look richer than they are.

And they use the things they buy and genuinely enjoy them. No matter if that’s a new speaker, a greenhouse, or the latest blender everyone’s talking about.

3. They give you the harsh truth when you need it

Some of the best friends you can have are the people who tell you the truth when you need to hear it – no matter how harsh it may seem.

They don’t just tell you what you want to hear or what they think you want to hear.

A great example of this is when you ask them for their honest advice on a situation, person, or even an outfit.

And you get an answer that you’re not sure is really how they feel.

A genuine person (and friend) will give you the harsh truth when you need it

I remember when I was debating breaking up with an ex-boyfriend. Most of my friends told me I should stick it out and it wasn’t so bad.

I got a sense something wasn’t right in what they were saying, but they were just too afraid to tell me the truth.

But I’ll always remember this one friend who said it wasn’t right what was going on or how I was feeling, and that I needed to end it.

I’ll always, to this day, consider her my most genuine friend that I can trust to get her honest opinion when I ask.

4. They smile with their eyes

Sometimes, you just get the feeling that something isn’t quite right about someone’s smile.

I’m sure you can picture a fake smile from someone right now.

There’s barely any movement in their face, all their teeth are showing, and it feels like they’re almost mocking you, rather than genuinely smiling at you.

People that smile at everyone in this way may just be acting polite.

But others may have a deeper reason for not smiling properly. And it could be because they are being somewhat fake in their interactions with you.

So watch out for how much someone’s face moves when they smile at you.

Research shows that a true smile pushes the eyes closer to the lids, pulls up the cheeks, and creates “wrinkles” on the face from smiling.

Without these characteristics, someone could be fake smiling at you, rather than genuinely feeling joy around you.

5. They don’t just “do things for the gram”

Social media plays an important role in many people’s lives. Some people live for it and even make a living off the various platforms.

And while there’s nothing wrong with enjoying social media, there’s a difference between genuinely enjoying yourself and posting online about it – and doing things just to post it on social media.

I had a friend who always wanted to go to these fancy bars in the city. Whenever we went, all she did was take pictures and videos.

Most of the time, she wouldn’t even be having a good time. But she’d post everything on social media as if she was – making out like she was having so much fun and laughing just for the videos.

Many genuine people don’t need to post everything about their lives online. They may choose to publish things on occasion.

But they can quite happily enjoy an event without taking a single photo or sharing it with anyone.

If someone’s quite active on social media, this doesn’t automatically mean they’re fake.

But perhaps be a little wary about whether these venues are really that fun and if their life is that exciting, or if they’re just “living for the gram”.

6. They don’t boast or brag about their life

A genuine person usually has quite modest traits. They don’t feel the need to brag about everything good in their lives.

However, someone who’s not quite so genuine may take every opportunity to shout about all their accomplishments.

While these could be real successes (and they’re just slightly arrogant or need constant validation from others), it could also be cause for alarm bells to ring.

They could be fabricating information to make themselves sound better than they are.

But they also could only be friends with you for the validation you give them by “not being as successful as them” or congratulating them on their “successes”.

Which means they may not really be there for you if you need them.

7. They don’t talk trash about people they “like” behind their backs

Another finite way to separate a fake person from a genuine is to take note of what they say about people they pretend to like behind their backs.

I always remember this old colleague of mine who was overly polite to everyone in the office.

But whenever I had a moment alone with her, she’d tell me how annoying she found everyone in the office – going into detail about how much she disliked them and mocking the things they’d said in the meetings.

All it made me do was question how genuine she was when she’d say nice things to me. And make me wonder whether she was talking trash about me behind my back, too.

Because, more often than not, if people are happy to be polite to others’ faces and critical when they’re out of earshot, they’re probably OK doing the same to you.

8. They aren’t there for you when you need them

True, genuine friends are there for you when you need them.

You can rely on them so that when you’re going through a tough time, they’ll keep in touch and will make time for you.

Whether that’s with a quick text here and there, a phone call, or an offer to grab a coffee together when you’re feeling low.

But fake people will disappear almost entirely when it’s not as convenient for them to be friends with you.

Because you’re “killing the mood” or “draining their energy” with your issues.

But when they’re going through a tough time or need a favor, you’ll immediately hear from them. And they’ll want you to be involved in helping them and making them feel better.

These types of friends can be difficult to spot until you’re going through something tough.

But once you’ve identified they’re only in the friendship for themselves (and not you), it’s time to cut them out – no matter how hard that might be for you.

Final thoughts

No one wants a fake person in their life. From experience, I know that fake friends can make you feel pretty low about yourself.

Usually, you get a gut feeling about fake people. And, more often than not, your suspicions are correct.

So always trust your gut when something feels off with someone you know.

And remember that, no matter how long you’ve known someone, they can still stab you in the back or turn out to be someone you thought they weren’t.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *