6 signs you’re dealing with a genuinely good person, according to psychology

What does it mean to be a good person? 

In an era that hails diversity, we often lose sight of some of the fundamentals. Of course, we want to open the way so all types of personalities can thrive, but does that mean we shouldn’t give credit to genuinely kind-hearted people? 

It’s a simple truth that some personality types are more moral than others. We see the extremes of how morality intertwines with personality in cases of antisocial personality disorder (commonly known as psychopathy) or narcissism. 

These personalities tend to have deception and Machiavellian traits as their basis — most people would agree that’s not good. 

So what is? 

In this article, I’ll discuss six traits of people who are genuinely good and kind-hearted. If you see these signs in someone in your life, keep them around — you won’t regret having them in your inner circle.

1) The sacrificial lamb 

The idea of sacrifice has been around as long as humans, and many religions and cultures have some version of sacrifice which is often done in exchange for something good. 

Sacrifice does lead to good things — but there’s also pain involved for the person who sacrifices for the good of others

Being sacrificial comes more easily to some than to others. And it’s a pretty direct way of knowing how much a person cares. Some people grab what’s theirs, while others are quick to sacrifice their time, money, and energy to help you out. 

You know that person who never seems to mind going without to ensure everyone else is taken care of? Those people really are the salt of the earth. 

It shows that they’ve won the internal battle with greed and genuinely thrive by seeing other people happy — even if it’s at their own expense. 

My father is like that — and I feel extremely grateful for it. It’s taught me that being a good person isn’t just about doing things when it’s easy to do. Rather, it’s about taking on challenges in tough times and putting other people first. 

Being sacrificial is similar to honesty in that way — it’s not worth as much when it’s easy. 

2) Honest to a fault 

Being really honest means more than just telling the truth. Good people aren’t only honest when it’s easy for them to be. 

Real honesty means sticking to your principles through thick and thin. This means telling the truth even when it’s hard. I think we all know how difficult and uncomfortable that can be. 

It’s not easy to say the truth when you know it makes you look bad or if it’s likely to rile up a conflict. But is deception really the better option? Personally, I don’t think so. 

You often hear people saying things like ‘there’s nothing wrong with telling a few white lies.” But I know that I’d be mad if I found out someone was telling me “white lies” to protect my feelings or avoid conflict. The truth belongs to everyone. 

When people hide things as a way of keeping things positive or “protecting” the other person, it’s kind of an insult to that person’s intelligence. 

What you want is someone who will tell you the truth regardless of the consequences. Think about it, if you ask them “Do I look okay in this dress?” and you really don’t look okay, wouldn’t you want to be told? 

But if you’re going to ask the question, try to be humble enough to accept an honest answer!

3) Genuine humility

It’s probably not an accident that all major world religions and philosophies value humility as a cornerstone of spiritual growth. So, what does it entail?

Humility is all about being modest and not showing off. Good people don’t brag or try to be the center of attention. They do good things quietly, without waiting for a pat on the back. 

They know it’s important to work together and value other people’s efforts as much as their own.

There’s a misconception that humility means being: 

  • Self-abasing
  • Ashamed
  • Overly critical of self

But that’s not true — it’s about having an honest perception of yourself and others. Humble people understand they’re not perfect and are open to learning from everyone. This makes their friendships stronger and more honest.

Humility is important in many religions and spiritual paths. Whether it’s Christianity, Buddhism, Taoism, or Hinduism — humility is seen as a major virtue.

Humility is a big deal everywhere — even in leadership roles!

In a world where everyone wants to be first and narcissism on social media seems to be making the bulk of the noise, being humble is becoming increasingly rare and valuable.

Genuinely humble people tend to be less angry.

If you meet someone who is humble and has a long fuse — hang onto them!

4) Slow to anger

pic2450 6 signs you’re dealing with a genuinely good person, according to psychology

Being slow to anger is a sign of real strength and patience. Good people don’t lose their cool easily. Instead, they take a deep breath, think things through, and respond calmly. 

This doesn’t mean they let people walk all over them. They stand up for themselves, but in a way that’s firm and kind, not harsh or quick to blame.

When someone is slow to anger, it shows they can handle tough situations without getting upset right away. This patience is important because it lets them think clearly and make smart choices, instead of saying or doing things they might regret later.

This trait is not just good for keeping peace; it’s also great for health. People who don’t get angry quickly tend to: 

  • Be less stressed 
  • Be happier
  • Have better relationships with people

When someone’s slow to anger, it’s a strong indication that they understand and empathize with other people

Do you know something else about people who are slow to anger? 

They tend to be quick to forgive. 

5) Quick to forgive

Forgiveness is a powerful quality of truly good people. They don’t hold grudges or stay mad for long. Instead, they let go of anger and move on, understanding that everyone makes mistakes. 

This doesn’t mean they ignore wrongdoings or allow others to keep hurting them. It means they choose to forgive, freeing themselves from lingering resentment.

Being quick to forgive isn’t about being weak; it’s about being strong enough to acknowledge pain without letting it define your life. 

People who forgive easily tend to be happier and less stressed. They know that holding onto anger harms them more than anyone else.

For me, forgiveness is an imperative. Nobody is perfect and expecting people to be isn’t a sustainable model. 

I grew up in a family where fights were always forgiven and forgotten in the morning. No matter how big the explosion was, we’d just get back to business as usual the next day.

It creates incredibly resilient relationships between family members and it’s something I’m happy to carry into the rest of my relationship.

6) Give everything, expect nothing

Human beings are naturally reciprocal creatures. We evolved to form give-and-take relationships and societies. It’s true that reciprocity makes the world go around and there’s nothing wrong with that. 

But there’s something genuinely good people have that others don’t — the ability to give without expecting. 

It’s normal to have a bit of tit-for-tat in your relationships. It doesn’t make you bad. 

But people who are genuinely good on a deep level go above and beyond what’s normal. 

They don’t keep records of what you owe them and they don’t do favors just to have you in their pocket for later. They help because they really want to. 

It comes down to selflessness, and it’s no secret that we value selflessness in people. 

Next time you do someone a favor, ask yourself “Am I really doing this for them, or is this low-key a selfish move?” 

Do good, be good

Karma is real! 

It turns out that our brains are designed to reward kindness. 

Psychological research shows that doing kind acts boosts mood and happiness.

When you do good things, you don’t just benefit the other person, you also enhance your own state of being. 

Is it a coincidence that most spiritual doctrines emphasize the importance of things like humility, forgiveness, and unselfishness? I don’t think so. 

Even though it’s good to value all personality types, it’s good to shout out to those people who are the salt-of-the-earth type of folk you know you can rely on. 

When you see these traits in someone — keep them around! And let them know how much you appreciate everything you do. 

Picture of Marie Lamb

Marie Lamb

Marie is a writer with an academic background in psychology and neuroscience. She’s also a qualified yoga teacher with more than 10 experience in Eastern practices. When she’s not writing about psychology and life, she’s reading and crafting stories, poetry, or prose.

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