7 qualities of a truly decent woman, according to psychology

There are billions of people out there in the world. You’d think it’d be quite easy to come across a truly decent person, right?

After all, the odds are seemingly in your favor.

Well, you’ve probably already figured out that the world isn’t as kind as all that.

Sometimes, stumbling upon a person who’s genuinely kind-hearted, emotionally mature, and has integrity is like trying to find a needle in a haystack.

But you know what?

That’s why I’m here. In this little guide, I’ll walk you through the 7 qualities of a truly decent woman so that you know what to look for when seeking new friends or romantic connections.

Let’s get down to it!

1) She isn’t nice just to be polite

You know how the story goes.

In many societies, girls are taught to be polite, quiet, and good. In other words, they’re taught to be nice.

What nobody tells you as a little girl, though, is that niceness doesn’t equal kindness. You can be nice to pretty much anybody, from the co-worker you despise to the cashier who’s rude to you.

And that’s because niceness is ultimately a front we put on in order to get along with others.

That doesn’t mean it’s inherently evil, of course – it ultimately makes our lives easier because everyone’s more pleasant to be around – but it doesn’t necessarily come from a good place.

The resiliency and wellness scholar Robyne Hanley-Dafoe, Ed.D., explains, “While being nice is about being polite, pleasant, and agreeable and doing what we think we should, kindness goes a step beyond.”

And where does that step lead? Well, according to Hanley-Dafoe, “Kindness is about showing up in the world with compassion and acting for the greater good of all.”

And that’s the first quality of a truly decent woman: kindness. 

It sounds basic, but that’s because it should be. Kindness is at the very base of every decent person’s being. It’s the main motivator behind their actions. And it’s ultimately why they make for genuinely good people.

2) She stands up for herself and what she believes in

Of course, this isn’t to say a decent woman is going to have everyone’s best interests at heart but ignore her own. No, that kindness ought to extend to herself.

And that’s why another quality to look for in a woman is assertiveness and a healthy dose of confidence.

An assertive woman knows how to cater to her needs, how to go after what she wants, and most of all, how to establish boundaries and stand up for herself when someone tries to cross them.

You can’t mess with her because she refuses to be messed with.

And that makes her strong, resilient, and respectful of other people’s autonomy, too.

Oh, and that brings us to the third point…

3) She is happy to compromise but also knows her deal-breakers

Compromise is an integral part of flourishing long-term relationships, and yet there are plenty of people who refuse to budge when they butt heads with someone.

It is either their way or no one’s way.

A truly decent woman isn’t like that at all, but she’s also not going to sacrifice her values just to please other people. No, she knows how to balance between the two.

As psychologist Christopher Peterson Ph.D. says, there are effectively two kinds of compromises:

“The good sense of compromise is finding a common ground with another person, as in reaching a mutual agreement about a difficult course of action affecting both of you. The bad sense is being untrue to your core values and beliefs, as in selling out to achieve some short-term goal.”

If a woman always aims for the first and tries her best to avoid the latter, you know you’re dealing with a decent person right there.

Because she puts in the effort to ensure that both of your desires and wishes are respected. 

Because she wants both of you to win.

4) She refuses to compete with other women

supportive friend 7 qualities of a truly decent woman, according to psychology

Speaking of victories, one of the best qualities that genuinely decent women possess is their willingness to lift other women up.

They don’t want to trample on others just to win. They want all of us to share the prize (the prize being happiness and success).

This is a really good way to recognize whether the woman in question is a great person or not.

Watch out for how she talks about other women, whether she is competitive or supportive, and how she reacts when one of her friends reaches an important milestone.

Does she celebrate her? Does she share the excitement?

Those are some important questions to ask.

5) She isn’t one to badmouth others

Badmouthing is a very common symptom of feeling like you’re in a competition with others.

The moment Jessica from Sales gets a promotion and you don’t, it’s time to drag her reputation through the mud!

Oh, and did you see that dress Kate wore yesterday? I could never!

While this sounds like high school talk, I can assure you that there are plenty of adults who still haven’t grown out of this mindset.

Look, we all love a bit of gossip from time to time. Based on research, gossip is emotionally rewarding and gives us a sense of power, not to mention it can be really fun.

“Did you hear what happened between Ted and Penny?”

Throw me a question of this sort and my eyes will immediately widen in anticipation, excited to latch onto the exciting drama.

I’d be a complete hypocrite if I said that decent people never engaged in gossip. It’s simply not true.

However, there are different kinds of gossip, and one is worse than the other. 

There’s drama – situations that happen between people and that we want to hear about and dissect – and then there’s badmouthing – qualities and appearance traits that we make negative comments on.

The latter is where the real problem lies. That’s why a decent woman usually sticks to the first.

6) She actively nurtures all her close relationships

Psychologists say that women who nurture long-term, meaningful friendships with other women tend to live happier and healthier lives.

However, they also point out that while single women place a lot of value on their friendships, women in relationships usually let their friendships take the backseat.

Once they’re fully submerged in their romantic life, their priorities shift.

And before they know it, their close friendships have slowly deteriorated.

Not where truly decent women are concerned, though. No, another way to recognize decency in a person is to have a look at how all their close relationships are faring.

If a woman continues to put effort into her friendships no matter what happens in her romantic life, it’s a huge sign she:

  • Keeps her sense of autonomy and independence intact
  • Understands that romantic love is not the only important kind of love there is
  • Is an amazing friend

7) She invests her energy back into herself

No one can pour from an empty cup.

If a woman’s exhausted, if she always prioritizes everyone else’s needs above her own, and if she doesn’t give herself the space to self-reflect and truly relax, she won’t have the capacity to show up as the most gracious, kind-hearted version of herself.

And that’s why the final quality of a truly decent woman is that she takes the time to look after herself, too.

From scheduling in her favorite hobbies to having a bubble bath or journaling about her feelings, she always tries to carve out a bit of space for herself; a space where she can be her very best friend.

And all that self-investment pays off.

Because it means she knows who she is, how to look after herself, and how to pour from a full cup. Because she knows how to love to the best of her ability.

Picture of Eliza Hartley

Eliza Hartley

Eliza Hartley, a London-based writer, is passionate about helping others discover the power of self-improvement. Her approach combines everyday wisdom with practical strategies, shaped by her own journey overcoming personal challenges. Eliza's articles resonate with those seeking to navigate life's complexities with grace and strength.

Enhance your experience of Ideapod and join Tribe, our community of free thinkers and seekers.

Related articles

Most read articles

Get our articles

Ideapod news, articles, and resources, sent straight to your inbox every month.