8 subtle behaviors that reveal a person’s true character

Have you ever met someone who seemed kind and charming at first, only to later discover their true colors were not so great? Bummer, huh?

Sometimes, people can be great at hiding their true character behind a facade of charm and likability. In this life, not everything is as it seems, unfortunately. 

However, if you pay attention to certain subtle behaviors, you can gain insight into a person’s inner self. In this article, I’ll go through 8 of these behaviors that reveal a person’s true character. 

Let’s get into it!

1) How they treat people in the service industry

One of the best ways to gauge a person’s true character? 

Observe how they treat people in the service industry. By service industry I mean servers, cashiers, and other people who work in customer service or hospitality roles. 

Do they treat these people with respect and kindness, or do they dismiss them like they’re invisible? Or worse… berate them? The latter indicates an entitlement and lack of consideration for others. 

Sadly, many people feel like these blue-collar hardworking folk are beneath them. 

On the other hand, a person who treats others with kindness and respect, regardless of their position or status, is also a genuine and empathetic individual. 

2) How they respond to feedback

Look, everyone makes mistakes; it’s how we respond to feedback that reveals our real character. 

Ask yourself: when you receive constructive criticism, do you take it in stride and use it as an opportunity for growth, or do you become defensive and hostile? 

A person who can handle feedback with dignity is likely to be humble, self-aware, and open to learning.

Conversely, someone who becomes defensive and lashes out when given feedback is not only showing their inability to handle criticism but also a lack of accountability.

Aside from being a writer, I also part-own a business. On occasion, like all businesses, we get a bad review. You really can’t please everyone. 

9 years ago as a fledgling business owner, I’d get defensive, almost taking a bad review as a personal slight. It wasn’t rare that I’d get into a heated back-and-forth with the wronged client.  

This is something I’ve taken drastic steps to correct. I now use negative feedback to move forward in a positive way.  

3) How they handle conflict

Here’s the thing: conflict is an inevitable part of life. Hence, being able to handle conflict gracefully is such an asset.

When you get into an argument, do you resort to name-calling and personal attacks, or do you try to work towards a resolution? 

Somebody that is able to stay calm and listen to the other perspectives during an altercation is showcasing their ability to empathize with others and find common ground. 

In contrast, when a person becomes aggressive and escalates the conflict they’re exposing a weakness in handling emotions and a childlike mindset.

4) How they treat strangers

It goes without saying that we have a tendency to be on our best behavior around people we know… it’s how we treat strangers that is far more telling!

A person that treats strangers with kindness and compassion is someone society should protect at all costs! They realize that at the end of the day, we’re all just human beings dealing with similar struggles.

Maybe this person takes the time to hold the door open for a stranger or asks how their day is going. 

Meanwhile, someone who ignores strangers or treats them poorly is displaying a lack of consideration for others and self-centeredness. 

5) How they react to other people’s successes

newimagesize 2023 04 24T191656.942 8 subtle behaviors that reveal a person's true character

When you achieve something great in life, like opening a new business or receiving a promotion at work, take note of the people who were there to sincerely congratulate you. They’re the ones that count!

Conversely, when someone you know reaches a milestone that you haven’t, do you feel and express genuine happiness? Or do you sulk in the corner with jealousy

How you respond to others’ achievements and successes says a lot about your character, level of self-assurance, and self-confidence. 

6) How they spend their free time

Speaking of our character, the way we spend our free time is pretty revealing as well. 

A person who spends their downtime in a positive and productive manner is probably a driven and disciplined individual that has their priorities straight. 

Once you shift your energy towards self-improvement and filter out everything else, you’re embracing your best self. 

So maybe volunteer at a local shelter, hit the gym, or take the time to learn a new skill or language during your off hours.  

Concurrently, people that spend all their free time partying or engaging in other unhealthy behaviors like binge eating may be exhibiting  a lack of ambition and self-control.

7) How they handle stress

Quick question: When your stress reaches peak levels, do you remain calm and find a way to manage your stress?

When you take steps to manage your stress, such as practicing mindfulness or exercise, this shows resilience and self-awareness.

Stress also can bring out the worst in people; they might lash out at innocents or blame others for the situation. 

Essentially, by doing this they’re showing a lack of accountability and an unwillingness to improve things.

I have a friend who I fell out with because she used to treat others (myself included) like crap when she was under stress. Even when faced with a minor inconvenience, she’d be a completely different person. 

And if you were in her path of destruction, she might insult, scream, and project her anger at you. 

Eventually, I got tired of walking on eggshells and decided to cut her (and others like her) out of my life. In hindsight, it’s a decision I have no regrets about making!

8) How they treat animals

Last but not least, the way a person treats animals can speak volumes. 

I know people that treat animals with zero dignity and respect as if they’re just inanimate objects and not living creatures. 

Although this can also be tricky too… just because someone won’t dote on your dog as intensely as the rest, doesn’t necessarily make them a bad person. Maybe they didn’t grow up in an animal household or had a traumatic incident involving dogs. You never know! 

But if you know someone that works at an animal shelter or regularly shows compassion towards animals, this is basically confirmation that they’re a caring individual. 

Animals are sentient beings, and recognizing this reveals a highly compassionate, humane nature. 

Final thoughts 

In short, by paying attention to these 8 subtle behaviors, we can ultimately gain insight into a person’s true character.

And by being mindful of these behaviors in ourselves and others, we can all become better people and have more fulfilling and meaningful positive connections with those around us! 

Did you like my article? Like me on Facebook to see more articles like this in your feed.

Tina Fey

Tina Fey

I've ridden the rails, gone off track and lost my train of thought. I'm writing for Ideapod to try and find it again. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

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.