Truly authentic people are hard to come by.
The sooner we realize this, the less time we’ll waste on people who aren’t worth it.
Our time on this planet is finite, we should be striving for quality connections.
Developing the ability to detect an inauthentic person and weed them out will save you a lot of trouble and heartache in the long run.
First things first. In this article, I’ll go through some of the behaviors inauthentic people tend to exhibit.
Once you get the idea, you can start moving accordingly.
Let’s dive in!
1) They’re inconsistent in their words and actions
Here’s the thing: Authentic people are consistent.
When it comes to authenticity, the “actions speak louder than words” mentality very much applies.
So if you notice someone in your life who seems to be all talk with minimal follow through, then they’re likely disingenuous.
Think of the smooth-talking player who promises their date the world, claiming deeper feelings, but ends up screwing them over.
Or the snake oil salesman who makes bold, almost impossible claims about their “miracle product.”
The thing about inauthentic people is their facade is so deceitful yet so convincing–and we only realize it when it’s too late.
2) They’re preoccupied with impressing others
Genuine authenticity comes from deep within.
Meaning, that we tend to gain authenticity by being true to ourselves instead of through validation and approval from the crowd.
If you know someone who is overly concerned with their image, they might be lacking in authenticity.
They live to impress others, seeking fleeting, empty fulfillment from compliments or ‘likes.’
Speaking of which, social media has provided inauthentic people with a practically custom-built platform for gaining a sense of self-worth.
They might be heavily dependent on things like follower count, positive comments, and as mentioned, likes to feel good about themselves.
Their posts are meticulously curated to show off to their followers.
I think we all know a handful of people like this; people who are overly preoccupied with how they are perceived online, even when it’s all an act.
Sadly, behind the exciting and confident facade lies a pretty fragile ego.
3) They only have superficial connections
Do you know someone who seems to be friends with everyone? Someone who values quantity over quality in their relationships?
The thing about authentic people is that they value deep connections; whereas their less authentic counterparts often keep their dialogue with others more or less surface-level.
They enjoy the high of getting along with everyone, of being “the life of the party”; and will generally avoid vulnerability or genuine emotions, as they don’t like to rock the boat.
They want to keep things light and superficial.
In the abstract, they don’t truly care about others, they just want their ego and status fed.
Remember, if you aren’t losing friends, you aren’t growing.
As we wake up and grow, we stop considering life a popularity contest and actively seek deeper connections.
4) They don’t have a genuine interest in others
The thing about being genuinely interested in others is it takes a degree of humility and selflessness to achieve.
And if you haven’t noticed, inauthentic people tend to lack in these categories.
I have a cousin like this.
He’s hyper-focused on himself and his reputation–and this sentiment seeps into his most mundane interactions.
When we’re together, he will constantly be talking about himself, going off on narcissistic tangents.
This verbal onslaught can be jarring, especially to new people; people who have no desire to hear his life story within minutes of meeting him.
He will rarely let you get a word in. Though sometimes to catch his breath, he’ll throw you a bone and ask you a vapid question, only to neglect your answer to continue his tirade.
When you do decide to give your own feedback, his enthusiasm for the conversation will suddenly fade out, as he’ll turn his attention to his Instagram feed.
The fact that he’s considered “popular” is for me an indication of how prevalent a lack of authenticity is; not just in him, but in his peers and enablers too.
As the old adage goes, “Birds of the feather flock together.”
5) They copy others
Authentic people are comfortable in their own skin.
They have no qualms about being themselves and rarely feel the need to imitate others and conform to tired societal norms.
The beauty of existence lies in our differences, in our independence and individuality.
Hence, people who strive for authenticity tend to want to be themselves, since as Oscar Wilde puts it, “everyone else is already taken.”
The inauthentic individual, however, doesn’t want to be different–or even to be themselves.
They want to mimic the behaviors, interests, and opinions of those around them or their favorite celebrities.
They’ll spend hours sifting through the latest trends, trying to shamelessly duplicate them as closely as possible.
They want to be like everyone else since, in their minds, this is the most socially accepted route.
6) They flatter people excessively
While we should assume that most compliments are sincere, when someone flatters you to excess, it’s worth looking into a bit deeper.
Maybe they need or want something from you and are using flattery as a means of softening you up.
Maybe they simply want to be liked, so they’ll use phony, excessive flattery to gain favor.
Maybe they’ll even use your insecurities against you.
Sure, it’s nice to hear that someone admires our outfit or claims we lost weight, but if that person is saying the same things to everyone else, it sort of loses value.
This reminds me of an episode of the sitcom Seinfeld called “The Hamptons.”
One of the main characters, Elaine was smitten by a handsome doctor who called her physically “breathtaking.”
But those butterflies faded when she noticed the doctor using “breathtaking” to describe everyone and everything, from their friend’s baby to the evening view, leaving Elaine perplexed and bothered.
Bottom line: flattery only really works when you mean it.
7) They have a lack of personal opinions or convictions
People who prefer to play it safe often lack authenticity.
Call me a cynic, but the world can be a pretty contentious place filled with injustice and divisiveness.
Hence, as humans, we should all have at least a few firm beliefs and ways of thinking.
For someone to avoid expressing any opinions is sometimes a red flag.
Or maybe they have a few opinions but will abruptly change their viewpoints depending on who they’re with.
They refuse to ruffle feathers and express anything remotely unpleasant as that might affect their standing with other people.
This aura of indifference is pretty common in the world of politicians.
Politicians often evade “controversial” questions or issues for fear of losing support from certain groups.
Every word is carefully picked to convey neutrality rather than conviction.
It’s no coincidence that politicians aren’t exactly known for their authenticity.
8) They exaggerate to impress
Inauthenticity and dishonesty go hand in hand.
Have you ever thought to yourself “Boy, this guy’s full of it” as you conversed with a new acquaintance?
I know I have.
Inauthentic people may try to overcompensate by exaggerating stories, achievements, or experiences to make themselves seem more interesting, successful, or superior, to those they’re conversing with.
Rather than be open about who they are, or forthcoming about shortcomings, they will often attempt to impress their peers, embellishing heavily where necessary.
They want to be the main character, the center of attention, the star of the show; showing off is aligned with those aspirations.
9) They often lack empathy
At the end of the day, the inauthentic person is all about themself.
They might be able to fake it for a while, but eventually, the cracks will begin to surface.
In Hollywood movies, there’s always that shady character who tries to selfishly pull one over the rest of the group, until those efforts backfire and they meet their demise.
Well, this is how an inauthentic person tends to operate.
They might pretend to be concerned about others, but at the end of the day, their only focus is on themselves, and making sure their own desires are met.
Everything and everyone else is secondary.
If you know a person lacking in authenticity, then you’ve made the first step: identifying them.
From this point, it’s up to you to decide whether that person is worth keeping in your life or not.
If you feel change is possible, then nobody will fault you for trying to help.
Gently let them know your thoughts and how it’s impacting your perception of them.
But if you’ve tried this and genuine change still remains elusive, then distancing yourself might be the way to go.
The people you decide to surround yourself with can strongly influence you and your habits in the long term.