Fake. Inauthentic. Superficial.
Whatever you want to call them, people like this are generally insincere and unreliable as friends or partners.
So how can you spot someone who’s superficial?
After all, we all look at surfaces and comment on them, especially in the age of social media and Photoshop.
Well, one thing to look out for is fake nice behavior. I’m talking about doing things that make someone look nice to others without having the real motivation to be kind to others.
When you spot these fake nice behaviors, you can see a superficial person for what they really are and hopefully escape their orbit instead of being sucked into it.
1) Superficial people offer to bring you along with them.
The wording here is really important.
They will invite you not to “go together” but take you along like a servant or a piece of luggage.
Because that’s generally how they see your role – you’re there to accompany them as some sort of accessory.
This could work in many different ways.
If they think you’re a popular, attractive person, they will invite you along to public places to be seen with you so that some of your appeal will rub off onto them.
On the other hand, they might see you as a sort of project, someone who needs help socially or with fashion, for example. In this case, they’re probably using you for another reason – to look nice, like they’re doing charity work by taking you out.
Either way, this behavior is totally fake and designed to serve only one thing – their image.
2) They agree with everyone.
One way to find out if someone is authentic or just superficial is to observe their behavior when it comes to talking about opinions.
If someone is authentic, they’ll have a number of standpoints, whether those positions are popular or not.
But a superficial person won’t.
Instead, they’ll simply agree with everything other people say. Or at least with the people they think are important.
They might agree with one person and then agree with a totally opposite point of view behind that person’s back.
Though it may seem nice to be so agreeable, this belies a total lack of authenticity and core values. In other words, they stand for nothing.
3) They give gifts, but only in front of other people.
A truly superficial person will never give you something privately. How would they get any credit?
Instead, they have to make a show of their generosity by giving gifts in front of groups, especially groups of people they want to impress.
This way, they look kind and generous, and everyone sees it.
In fact, they might even give gifts that are really expensive and extravagant, but don’t be fooled.
The gift isn’t for you to get but for them to give.
The bigger and better it is, the more face they gain when they give it in front of other people.
So how can you tell if a gift is genuinely for you?
It’s actually easy.
A superficial person will give you a superficial gift that looks nice or expensive but has nothing personal about it.
A true friend will give you something they know you like or need.
4) Superficial people are complementary – to people with power.
Sure, they sound sweet when they say, “Wow, you look great today!” or “You always have such great ideas!”
But it all depends on who they’re talking to.
This behavior is commonly known as kissing…up, and they’ll gladly kiss up to the boss, more popular people, or anyone they want to like them at that time.
This is actually pretty normal and reflects the power structures in most organizations.
But they’ll ignore people who they don’t see as useful in advancing themselves.
A real compliment will come from a place of kindness and respect, but these disingenuous compliments aimed at people in power are just there to make them look good on the surface.
5) They give out last-minute invitations.
Do you know someone who is always calling you or others at the last minute, especially to do things that seem like they should have been planned in advance?
You might find these invites nice if a little lacking in thought:
“Want to go away for a fun weekend? We need to leave in an hour.”
“I’m on the way to this great restaurant. Join me.”
This person is not only lacking in consideration by giving you little time to plan and prepare yourself.
Chances are also really high that they have an ulterior motive.
In most cases, superficial people don’t like to do things alone because they think it makes them look sad and unpopular.
So if they ever get stood up or have plans broken off, they need a new accessory right away, and they’ll call you as a last-minute I-guess-you’ll-do-style replacement.
6) Superficial people like throwing big parties and events.
A superficial person will be the one who suggests throwing a big birthday party for someone else.
Sure, they probably won’t do much of the planning or any of the actual preparations.
But on the day, they’ll sure be there to grab all the credit. Don’t expect them to be anywhere besides front-and-center, or even more likely on the mic shouting their own praises as much as the guest of honor’s.
And why wouldn’t they?
This kind of thing is a perfect excuse for them to step out and be seen publicly as being nice and thoughtful, so of course, they want to snap up all the credit for themselves!
7) They make plans to do something special but don’t follow through.
Do you know the kind of people who are always overbooking themselves?
I have a colleague who loves making plans to do things that sound really cool.
But she always over-books herself and, in the end, only has time to do one of the five things she committed to.
Of course, the plans are always made in public so that she looks like a cool, fun person who’s nice and open to doing things with lots of other people.
But when it comes down to choosing, she’ll always do something with whoever she thinks is most popular, and she’ll break off the plans with everyone else.
So she gets to look nice in front of others and then never has to follow through with anything that doesn’t advance her standing.
How fake is that!?
8) They like your pics and posts.
What’s superficial about that?
Well, nothing, I suppose, if this is a genuine friend of yours who cares about you and wants to follow what’s going on in your life.
But a superficial person will constantly be on social media, liking and making comments in order to be seen.
Look at the comments.
Are they actually personal, or are they inauthentic?
Do they speak to you or simply point out that person’s presence in order to draw attention to them?
Liking can seem really nice, but with superficial people, it has another purpose altogether.
9) They do charity ‘work.’
People who are superficial will do anything to create and manipulate their own image. And if they currently want to appear nice (because this will change all the time), then they will be sure to be seen doing nice things.
Charity work is one of the kindest and most selfless things anyone can do, so why would superficial, fake people have anything to do with it?
For the cred, of course!
But if you watch carefully, they’ll get a lot of images of themselves doing charity while doing as little work as possible.
These are people who will visit an orphanage to hand out treats and take cute selfies with all the kids while the other people in the group do things like clean, teach, or help care for infants.
It’s all about credit with these people, and doing charity work is a huge image booster!
10) Superficial people give contrasting complements.
What do I mean by this?
I mean that the way they hand out compliments can be used to put someone else down.
An example might be, “You look nice. I’m glad you dressed appropriately, unlike someone else I know.”
Look at how backhanded and self-serving this sort of complement is!
The complement is made only to insult and demean someone else, by contrast, which is something fake people love to do.
For someone reason, they seem to think that this kind of fake nice behavior will make them look good, but my question is… to who?
People who are superficial often display these ten fake nice behaviors to make themselves look good.
But now that you know what they are, you can use them to spot and weed out inauthentic people in your life and focus on the people who really matter.