So you’ve met someone new, and you’re trying to figure out if they’re the real deal. In today’s world of filters, fake news, and social media facades, it can be hard to determine who is truly authentic. But authentic people do exist; you just have to know the signs to look for. The good news is that authenticity tends to shine through if you pay close attention.

Here are 10 ways how to tell if someone is genuine and not putting on an act. Once you start recognizing these signs, spotting sincerity will become second nature.

1. Look at Their Eyes: Sincere eye contact shows honesty.

Look at Their Eyes Sincere eye contact shows honesty.
Look at Their Eyes Sincere eye contact shows honesty.

When someone gives you their full attention, it shows they genuinely care about what you have to say. Look for sincere eye contact—not just occasional glances, but eye contact that lasts a few seconds while speaking or listening. People who make an effort to maintain eye contact often come across as more authentic and trustworthy.

Body language speaks volumes.

Watch how they carry themselves. Do they seem relaxed and open, or closed-off and guarded? Authentic people will have friendly body language—think uncrossed arms, leaning in, and smiling. Of course, context matters here. Someone may be genuinely nervous during a job interview or first date. But in general, authentic people have animated and inviting body language.

They ask meaningful questions.

Genuine interest in others is a hallmark of authenticity. Do they ask questions to get to know the real you? Or are conversations superficial? Authentic people ask open-ended questions about your goals, values, experiences, and perspectives. They want to foster deeper connections and gain insight into what makes you tick.

Their words and actions align

Authentic people walk the walk and talk the talk. Their words and actions align. They do what they say they will do. They take responsibility for mistakes and follow through on commitments and promises. If someone’s words and actions don’t match, that’s a sign they may not be fully genuine.

Overall, look for people who give you their full focus, have open and friendly body language, ask meaningful questions, and demonstrate consistency between what they say and do. These are signs you’ve found an authentic person worth getting to know.

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2. Listen to their tone of voice. Genuine people sound natural.

One of the easiest ways to tell if someone is genuine is by listening to their tone of voice. Genuine people sound natural and unrehearsed. Their speech has a steady, confident, and warm quality to it. Some things to listen for:

  • A relaxed, easygoing tone. Genuine people don’t sound strained or put on an act. Their voice flows in a natural, unforced way.
  • Consistent volume and speed. The volume and pace of their voice remain relatively steady. It doesn’t frequently get louder or softer, faster or slower. Changes in volume or speed can indicate discomfort or dishonesty.
  • friendly, engaging quality. Genuine people tend to sound positive, warm, and interested in the conversation. Their tone makes you feel good and draws you in.
  • Eye contact and body language match the voice. Pay attention to whether their nonverbal signals align with their tone of voice. If someone’s words sound open and friendly but their body is closed off, it could indicate a lack of authenticity.
  • They share personal details. Genuine people are often open to sharing appropriate details about their lives, experiences, and perspectives. Their willingness to be vulnerable shows sincerity. Of course, this depends on the context and how well you know the person.
  • They ask questions and show interest in others. Genuine individuals demonstrate their authenticity by displaying a curiosity about other people’s lives, experiences, and perspectives. Asking thoughtful questions and actively listening are signs of a real, engaged person.

So next time you talk with someone, tune into the qualities of their voice and how well it matches their body language. Genuine, authentic individuals will have a tone and presence that make you feel good and leave you with the impression that you truly got to know them.

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3. Watch their body language. Relaxed and open means real.

Watch their body language. Relaxed and open means real.
Watch their body language. Relaxed and open means real.

When determining if someone is genuinely authentic, pay close attention to their body language. Body language is hard to fake, so it often reveals the truth.

Relaxed and Open Posture

Real people feel comfortable being themselves. Look for a relaxed, open stance with hands visible and arms uncrossed. Leaning in, facing you directly, and maintaining eye contact also show they are engaged and interested in connecting with you. Tightly crossed arms, constant fidgeting, or looking away frequently are signs the person is uncomfortable, closed off, or hiding something.

Matching words and actions

Do their words and body language match? Genuine people say what they mean and act accordingly. Someone telling an emotional story with a smile on their face or saying they’re excited while scowling and slouching is likely acting. Watch for mismatches between expressions, tone of voice, and gestures. Consistency is key.


When we feel a genuine connection with someone, we naturally mirror their body language and speech patterns. This happens unconsciously as a way to build rapport and empathy. Pay attention if the other person mirrors your own relaxed, open posture, hand gestures, or language. Of course, skilled manipulators may also mirror consciously to appear authentic, so look for other signs as well.

Quick Responses

Liars often need time to make up details and get their story straight. Genuine people respond spontaneously and without hesitation. Of course, some hesitation is normal, especially in emotional conversations or if the person is naturally thoughtful in their responses. But excessively long pauses, “um’s” and “like’s,” or going back to clarify previous answers could indicate deception. Trust your instincts on this one.

By staying observant for these signs of an authentic, unguarded presence, you’ll get better at spotting the real deal. But when in doubt, go with your gut. Our intuition is powerful and often picks up on subtle cues our conscious mind may miss. If something feels off, it probably is.

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4. Note How They Treat Others: Kindness Reveals Character

One of the best ways to tell if someone is genuinely kind is by observing how they interact with and treat others. Genuine people treat all people with kindness, respect, and compassion.

Do they make eye contact and smile?

Kind, genuine individuals make eye contact, smile, and engage with all people they encounter, not just those they want to impress. Watch how they interact with servers, janitors, and strangers. Do they make eye contact, smile, and say “please” and “thank you”? If not, that may be a sign their kindness is not completely genuine.

Do they gossip about or speak negatively about others?

Genuine people treat all people with kindness and respect. They don’t gossip, spread rumors, or speak ill of others behind their backs. If someone is sweet to your face but says nasty things about others when they’re not around, that’s a major red flag. Their kindness is probably not sincere.

Do they offer help to those who can’t help them in return?

Genuine kindness is given without expectation of receiving anything in return. Watch to see if this person offers help or assistance to those who likely can’t repay the favor, like the elderly, disabled, or less fortunate. If their kindness seems mostly targeted at people who can potentially help them in some way, that may not be a sign of authentic goodwill.

Do they make an effort to understand different perspectives?

Genuinely kind people show empathy, compassion, and an interest in understanding different points of view. See if this person makes an effort to understand why others may think or feel differently than they do. If they seem quick to judge or dismiss people with opposing views, that may indicate their kindness is selective rather than sincere.

In summary, look for people who spread kindness through small acts of goodwill each and every day to everyone they meet. Their kindhearted spirit will shine through in how they treat all people with empathy, compassion, and respect at all times. These are the hallmarks of authentic kindness.

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5. Consider Their Reputation: What Do Others Say About Them?

Consider Their Reputation What Do Others Say About Them
Consider Their Reputation What Do Others Say About Them

When determining if someone is genuine, consider what others who know them say. The reputation and impressions of people close to them can reveal a lot about their authenticity.

Friends and family

Talk to people who have known them for a long time, like close friends and family members. Ask open-ended questions to get their honest thoughts and opinions. Look for consistency in the stories and anecdotes they share about the person. If accounts differ in significant ways or seem contradictory, it could indicate a lack of authenticity.

Colleagues and coworkers

Speak with people who have worked closely with them, such as current or former colleagues, employees, or managers. These individuals have likely seen different sides of them and can attest to their integrity and trustworthiness in a professional setting. Inquire about their work ethic, accountability, and how well they handle responsibility.

Online reviews and references

Do some research to find reviews and references from people who have worked with them. Check sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, Yelp, or Google Reviews. Look for glowing recommendations that cite specific examples of their genuine and dependable nature. Of course, consider the context and potential biases. But multiple authentic reviews from separate sources are a good sign.

Address any red flags.

If anything raises concerns, address it respectfully and directly with the person. Explain why certain accounts or behaviors seem inauthentic, and see how they respond. Do they become defensive or take responsibility? Do their answers seem reasonable and consistent? Have an open conversation and look for a willingness to acknowledge mistakes, provide context, and commit to doing better in the future.

A person’s reputation and the way others view their character can say a lot. But ultimately, the only way to know for sure if someone is genuine is to assess your own direct experiences with them over time. Look for consistency between their words and actions. See if they follow through and meet your expectations. And notice how they make you feel, because an authentic person will make you feel at ease, respected, and cared for.

6. Trust Your Intuition: Your Gut Knows What’s Real

Your intuition is that little voice in your head telling you what feels right or wrong about a situation. When it comes to determining if someone is genuinely authentic, trusting your gut instinct is key.

Listen for inconsistencies.

Pay close attention if someone’s words and actions don’t quite match up. For example, if they claim to value honesty but frequently bend the truth or leave out important details, our intuition is highly attuned to even subtle inconsistencies that our conscious mind may miss.

Watch for a Lack of Transparency

Authentic people tend to be open and transparent because they have nothing to hide. If someone is evasive or vague in their answers, especially regarding personal matters, it could be a sign they’re not being fully genuine. Of course, there may be valid reasons for occasional discretion, but transparency should be the norm.

Notice if you feel drained.

Interacting with inauthentic people often leaves you feeling drained, confused, or “off”. This is because, on an intuitive level, you sense something isn’t quite right, even if you can’t put your finger on exactly what. Pay attention to how you feel after spending time with someone; if you frequently feel depleted, it may be a sign they lack authenticity.

Go with your first impression.

Our initial gut reactions occur in an instant, before our rational mind has time to override them. While first impressions shouldn’t be the only factor, they are worth considering. If your first instinct was that someone seems disingenuous, forced, or like they’re putting on an act, trust that intuitive flash. Our guts are quite good at spotting a lack of authenticity.

The bottom line is that your intuition is one of the most powerful tools for determining if someone is genuine. While we can’t always explain why we get an “off” feeling about someone, our guts are remarkably adept at sensing subtle cues that may not all be as they seem. Pay attention to that inner voice; it knows what’s real.

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7. See if They Keep Promises: Reliability Proves Integrity

See if They Keep Promises Reliability Proves Integrity
See if They Keep Promises Reliability Proves Integrity

Someone who is genuine will do what they say they will do. Their words and actions align. When they make a promise or commitment to you, they follow through.

Reliability proves integrity.

If someone says they’ll call you back and they do, that’s a good sign. If a friend offers to help you move and shows up on the scheduled day ready to haul boxes, you can feel confident in their authenticity. People who don’t keep promises tend to not value other people’s time or priorities.

An authentic person views integrity and dependability as virtues. They aim to be honorable in all of their dealings and interactions. Sure, unforeseen circumstances arise that can impact anyone’s ability to keep a promise now and then. But a genuine person will let you know as soon as possible, take responsibility, and make things right. They don’t make empty promises or casually commit to things they have no intention of actually doing.

You’ll notice over time that the words and actions of an authentic person align. What they say matches what they do. If someone’s behavior contradicts their claims or promises more than once in a while, that’s a sign their words may not be very dependable. An insincere person tends to overpromise and underdeliver to make a good impression, so look for consistency between words and actions.

Some related terms:

  • Trustworthy
  • Honest
  • Responsible
  • Accountable
  • Virtuous
  • Principled
  • Noble
  • Upstanding
  • Truthful
  • Sincere
  • Real

By seeing if someone’s words and actions match, especially regarding keeping promises and commitments, you can determine whether they are genuine or not. An authentic person views integrity as a virtue and aims to be consistently dependable, honest, and accountable. Over time, reliability proves integrity.

8. Check for Consistency: Actions Matching Words Is Key

One of the best ways to determine if someone is genuine is to see if their words match their actions. Talk is cheap, as the saying goes, so pay close attention to whether or not they actually follow through on what they say.

Do they do what they say they will?

If your new friend promises to call you back but never does, that’s a sign that their words may not mean much. Likewise, if a date says they’ll pick you up at 7 but shows up at B without a good reason, that lack of consistency and reliability is a red flag. Genuine people do their best to follow through on their commitments and keep their promises. They know that building trust is about dependability.

Are their actions consistent over time?

It’s easy for someone to be on their best behavior for a short period of time. Look for patterns of consistency in someone’s actions and behavior over the long run. For example, if you start dating someone who lavishes you with affection and gifts but then pulls away after a few months, that inconsistency could indicate they’re not being fully authentic. Genuine people act with integrity consistently.

Do they walk the talk?

Pay attention if someone’s words and actions don’t seem to align. For example, if a new friend claims to be honest but you catch them in little white lies, or if a boss promotes work-life balance but routinely expects employees to put in 12-hour days, that’s a sign they may not be practicing what they preach. Genuine people have congruency between what they say and what they do. Their walk matches their talk.

Are they the real deal behind the scenes?

It’s easy to put on an act when people are watching. See how this person behaves when they think no one’s paying attention. Do they treat people with kindness and respect when there’s nothing to gain? Are they willing to do the right thing, even if no one gives them credit? How someone acts when they’re not in the spotlight reveals their true character and authenticity.

The ultimate test of genuineness is whether or not this person’s words and deeds match up over time, behind the scenes, and in plain sight. Consistency and sincerity are the hallmarks of an authentic person. Look for these signs, and you’ll get better at spotting the real deal.

9. Give Them Opportunities: Testing Reveals Truth Over Time

Give Them Opportunities Testing Reveals Truth Over Time
Give Them Opportunities Testing Reveals Truth Over Time

Testing someone’s authenticity takes time. Giving them opportunities to show their true colors through their words and actions over time is the best way to determine if they are genuine.

Watch how they treat others.

Notice how this person interacts with and talks about people who can offer them nothing. Do they show kindness and compassion? Or are they rude, dismissive, or overly critical? Genuine people treat others well, regardless of what they can gain from them.

See how they handle mistakes and imperfections.

Everyone makes mistakes. Observe how this person responds when things don’t go as planned or they feel imperfect. Do they make excuses and blame others? Or do they own their mistakes, learn from them, and work to do better next time? Authentic people accept their imperfections and see mistakes as opportunities to grow.

Pay attention to consistency.

Over time, look for consistency between this person’s words and actions. Are they reliable, and do they follow through? Or do they frequently cancel plans, break promises, or tell “white lies”? Genuine people act with integrity. Their words and deeds match.

Watch for flexibility and openness.

Genuine people are open to other perspectives and willing to adapt their views based on new information. See if this person is rigid in their thinking or open to different opinions. Do they get defensive when challenged, or are they willing to consider other angles? Flexibility and openness are signs of authenticity.

Notice how they treat you.

Most importantly, observe how this person makes you feel about yourself. Do they encourage, support, and celebrate you? Or do they frequently criticize, undermine, or make you feel “not good enough”? Genuine people build others up. Their interactions make you feel good about yourself.

The truth about someone’s character is revealed through their actions over time. Look for consistency, compassion, humility, openness, and support. These signs point to someone who is real. But don’t ignore your instincts. If something feels off, it probably is. The surest way to spot authenticity is to trust your gut.

10. Believe in Your Own Judgment: You Know Sincerity When You See It

You’ve got a good sense of sincerity from years of social interaction. Trust your instincts; you know authenticity when you see it.

Look for consistency. Do this person’s words match their actions? Genuine people walk the talk. Their behavior and values remain steady over time. Inconsistency, on the other hand, signals insincerity. Watch for transparency. Real people share both positives and negatives, admit mistakes, and openly discuss challenges as well as wins. The inauthentic avoid vulnerability and only share carefully curated snippets of their “perfect” lives.

Consider their questions. Authentic individuals ask open-ended questions to get to know you. The insincere ask superficial questions or redirect conversations to be about themselves.

Sincerity is humble. Genuine people don’t brag or make everything about them. They lift others up and celebrate each other’s accomplishments. Insincerity craves the spotlight and is quick to one-up or dismiss other people’s achievements.

Look for empathy. Compassion comes naturally to the sincere. They make an effort to understand different perspectives and show they care. The inauthentic struggle to step outside themselves and see things from other points of view.

Go with your gut. If something feels off, forced, or fake about this person, there’s likely a reason for your unease. Your instincts have been honed over a lifetime to detect who is real and who is not. While second-guessing yourself is normal, don’t ignore persistent feelings of distrust in your interactions with someone.

At the end of the day, you are the expert on the people in your own life. Believe in your ability to discern sincerity—you’ve got this. Surround yourself with people who are as genuine as you are, and your relationships will be all the richer for it.

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So now you’ve got the inside scoop on how to spot someone who’s for real. Look for people who match their words with actions, admit their mistakes, listen well and ask good questions, share details about themselves, accept you for who you are, have a balanced perspective on life’s ups and downs, walk their talk in terms of values and priorities, and who you just feel comfortable being fully yourself around.

When you find those authentic souls, hold onto them—they’re rare gems. And if you see a lack of these qualities in the people already in your life, you may want to reevaluate those relationships. Life’s too short to waste time on people who aren’t the real deal. Surround yourself with authenticity, and you’ll thrive.


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