How To Tell If Someone Is Being Authentic
We've all met someone who we loved off the bat, only to find out that they were not the person we thought they were. If this happens to you often, you may be struggling to figure out the signs that someone is being genuine. People who are down to earth tend to engage in some similar habits, and looking out for these telltale signs can help you navigate towards people who are truly themselves.
"The use of the term 'authentic' seems to be used a lot more recently, and although there is often good intentions in it, there can be very different ideas of what it means to be authentic," psychologist Piper Grant, Psy.D, MPH tells Bustle. "Authentic can be used to reference if someone is being direct ... while others can use it describe when someone is being themselves. Although all of these can seem true and similar, to know what authenticity really means can help us figure out why it is so important to a relationship. The idea of being an authentic person is to be true to oneself's spirit, character, and needs while free of any imitation or fake facades."
Here are seven little ways to tell if someone is truly being authentic or not, according to experts.
1. They Use Eye Contact
A surefire way to tell if someone is being honest is to pay attention to their eye contact. "When we make eye contact with someone, we are allowing them a portal into our internal experience," psychologist Kate Balestrieri, Psy.D., CSAT-S tells Bustle. "When we divert our eyes, it could be an indication of lying, omission, shame or a fear of being seen, which often leads to people-pleasing or other dishonest behavior. Be wary of too much intense eye contact though, because that could be a sign of domination or predatory intent."
2. They Show You The "Messy" Parts Of Themselves
If someone only shows you the picture-perfect side of themselves, that's never a good sign. However, if someone is able to be vulnerable, they're way more likely to be authentic. "When someone is willing to take the emotional risk of showing their true self, especially their messy parts, they are taking a risk that they might not be well received," says Balestrieri. "Yet they are foraging into the emotional unknown anyway. That courage is bold and a sign that they are being real."
3. They're Consistent
Consistency is incredibly important when it comes to figuring out if someone is being authentic. "If you know someone who is continually shifting and changing their thoughts, beliefs, or behaviors based on who they are around or where they are, then that is a key indication that they are not being authentic," says Grant. "On the flip side, when you see that someone is consistent in standing up for what they believe in, or act in a way that is in alignment with what they verbalize, then that is a key indicator that they are being true to themselves, and thus being authentic."
4. They Take Responsibility
Authentic people take responsibility for their actions. "Individuals that are focused on living an authentic life weigh out their actions and the impact of those actions on others," psychologist Ashley B. Hampton, PhD tells Bustle. "They also tend to be more intelligent and can logically examine potential pros and cons to decisions before making them. Regardless of outcome, authentic individuals claim responsibility."
5. They Have Determined Priorities
"Authentic individuals have generally evaluated their lives and determined their priorities," says Hampton. "Priorities tend to center around experiences, being with people, and being present in the moment to enjoy themselves instead of a focus on material things. Connections with others in a genuine way — not just because they may get something out of the other person — is important."
6. They Don't Give In To Peer Pressure
People who an honest character have clear values and speak up when they see those values being violated. "When someone is being true and authentic, then they know what their spirit likes and dislikes," says Grant. "They know what their character needs and doesn't need. Thus they do not agree to do something that they do not want to do, and when they answer 'yes' to something, then it's a true and whole yes."
7. They Use Direct Communication
How someone communicates can also shed light on how real they are. "When people speak directly, they are less invested in impression management or passive aggressive behavior, both of which ultimately lead to inauthentic interactions with others," says Balestrieri. "When someone is willing to speak their mind without trying to manage the emotional response of another, they are far more likely to remain true to themselves. People pleasing or placating behavior is the antithesis of authenticity, and people who fear conflict often try to mitigate conflict by saying what they think people want to hear."
Pay attention to these small signs, and you might find it easier to weed out the people who aren't themselves.