9 subtle signs a man isn’t being genuine with you, according to psychology

On the surface it seems easy to spot a dishonest, sleazy guy:

He’ll show all the classic signs of being a player, a con man and a cheat, right? 

The truth is that while this may sometimes be true, some of the most damaging dishonesty is very subtle and is only noticeable if you know what to watch out for. 

Drawing on the insights of psychology, let’s take a look at the subtle signs that a man isn’t who he’s pretending to be and doesn’t have your best interests at heart. 

1) His behavior is erratic

The first warning sign of an inauthentic man is that his behavior is slightly erratic. 

This tends to manifest in various low-key but noticeable trends:

  • Slow-burn mood swings
  • Helpful sometimes, distant others
  • Working all the time but then listless
  • Picking up and dropping new interests quite often.

This leads to the next point… 

2) He’s highly charming but unpredictable

Men who aren’t being genuine tend to be quite charming but undependable

They often engage in low-key love bombing, showering you with praise and affection as well as ongoing and steady communication. 

Then they withdraw it, or disappear for days and weeks, only to return unpredictably with some vague excuse. 

This kind of inconsistency should set off alarm bells, particularly when it becomes an ongoing trend.

“Starting at birth, we seek out patterns of consistency that provide a reliable way to interpret the chaos of the world,” observes psychology researcher and author Thomas Koulopoulos.

“This is more than just establishing comfort and familiarity. It is a deeply rooted, programmed survival mechanism,” 

3) He seems to have no real faults

There are some great men out there, and cynicism isn’t necessarily called for when you meet a wonderful and outstanding man. 

He may well be just that!

But if absolutely no faults are showing up and he seems too good to be true, it’s often because he is.

There’s something about himself or his character that he’s glossing over, or even covering up. 

As Dale Archer, MD. warns:

“Be outspoken about your needs and wants in a new relationship and always take it slow. Finally, remember to stop, look, and listen.”

4) He dodges deep conversations

Another warning sign that a guy isn’t showing you his whole self is that he dodges deep conversations

Whenever things turn to his innermost values or his real experiences in life, he avoids getting involved or commenting. 

While it’s true that everybody takes a different amount of time to open up, if he’s a highly emotionally unavailable guy it can be important to look in the mirror and see if you’re subconsciously attracted to unavailable men. 

As psychologist Sabrina Romanoff, PsyD. points out

“Unavailable partners could be appealing because they do not pose a threat of getting hurt, as they maintain a safe distance in the relationship for both of you.”

5) His body language contradicts his words

Next up in terms of red flags in a man’s authenticity is a mismatch between his verbal and nonverbal language. 

In other words, when his body says something different than his words, you have an authenticity problem. 

In truth we all have changing moods and thoughts and that’s normal. When he’s presenting a false front, however, he may be smiling and talking nicely, for example, while subtly clenching his jaw and fidgeting in an upset way. 

That’s inauthentic. 

As psychology writer Arash Emamzadeh notes:

“An individual’s true self consists of many changing thoughts, feelings, and identities, some of which he or she may not be conscious of or understand.”

6) His stories have small inconsistencies

If you recognize these signs youre probably in an unhealthy relationship 9 subtle signs a man isn’t being genuine with you, according to psychology

He talks about his past quite vaguely and his stories have odd inconsistencies. 

When asked why he ended up choosing a certain career, for example, his answers keep vaguely shifting. 

It just doesn’t quite make sense. 

This goes beyond him having a poor memory to him talking and relating his life in a way that’s simply not all that authentic.

For one reason or another, he’s not showing you who he really is. 

“Coherence means that an individual’s behavior makes sense, is predictable, and seems consistent with what we know about them,” explains Emamzadeh.

7) He’s oddly unavailable at unexpected times

When a man is oddly unavailable at unexpected times, this is another sign that he’s not being all that genuine with you. 

In most cases, he’s just not being very transparent about how he feels. 

He’s not as committed to the relationship as you might hope, but provides various excuses as to why that is. 

This is one of the hardest things to deal with in terms of a relationship.

“To reveal yourself completely and trust that your partner will not only be accepting but will also fulfill your primary needs is immensely threatening,” notes Romanoff. 

“In turn, you may make attempts to reduce that danger and dependency by making the love more predictable and monotonous.”

8) He’s manipulative when he doesn’t get his way

What happens when this guy doesn’t get his way?

At the end of the day, everybody has times when they are a bit less authentic and trustworthy. 

But they tend to be more one or the other. 

If he becomes manipulative when he doesn’t get his way, particularly when he already does this early in the relationship?

There’s a high probability his pleasant outer manner is nothing but a mask to an insecure and narcissistic guy. 

As Koulopoulos notes:

“To be blunt, people are either trustworthy or they are not. That doesn’t mean they’re good or bad. It just means you can’t place your trust in what they say or what they promise.”

9) He doesn’t follow through on various small commitments 

Another warning sign that a guy isn’t that authentic is when he promises the moon but falls through on the small stuff. 

While he says you will do all sorts of amazing things together and inspires you with his idealism, he doesn’t show up to your birthday or special occasion…

While he goes on with his love bombing and praise of you, his promise to give you a ride from the doctor gets canceled with no reason…

He’s simply unreliable. He makes massive promises for the future but doesn’t show up on small commitments in the present.

“When small issues are not handled and resolved, they can too easily lead to more crucial offenses in the future,” notes clinical psychologist Randi Gunther, PhD.

“The good will the couple once counted upon begins to diminish, and the excuses for broken promises simply are no longer believable.”

Spotting a fake

Spotting a man who isn’t being genuine can be tricky. 

In some situations he starts off on his best foot and then slowly becomes less trustworthy and more deceptive. 

The key is to watch out for the behaviors and situations above, which are telltale psychological signs that he’s not being legit. 

Above all, remember to exercise reasonable caution before falling for a man you don’t yet know that well. 

Picture of Paul Brian

Paul Brian

Paul R. Brian is a freelance journalist and writer who has reported from around the world, focusing on religion, culture and geopolitics. Follow him on www.twitter.com/paulrbrian and visit his website at www.paulrbrian.com

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.