7 things fake people do that show a lack of authenticity

You might have encountered people who just doesn’t seem to be who they claim they are. 

Perhaps something feels a little off when you’re with them — leaving you wondering whether they’re being straight with you or cloaking their real feelings. 

Like they’re wearing an invisible mask that conceals their true self from the world.

Some personalities radiate authenticity while others seem cloaked in a facade of insincerity.

Fake people — a term I use not as a judgment but as a descriptor — exhibit certain behaviors that scream a lack of authenticity.  Inauthentic people can bring disharmony into your life. 

Their behaviors may even rub off on you. For this reason, it helps to know how to pick them out of a crowd.

In this article, I’ll share seven behaviors I’ve pinpointed that unmask inauthentic people. 

Let’s dive in.

1) Dodging feedback

When you interact with inauthentic people, you might notice that they tend to have nuanced reactions to feedback. The following are clues that someone is avoiding feedback:

  • They dismiss or deflect criticism
  • They attribute negative feedback to jealousy or ignorance
  • They avoid situations of criticism

It’s not just their avoidance that stands out. It’s  also how deflect negative feedback. How?       

They often resort to changing the subject swiftly or responding with a general platitude like, “That’s an interesting perspective,” without really engaging with the substance of the feedback.

This evasion is more than just discomfort, it’s a strategic move to maintain their façade.  

They see criticism as ego-threatening, a characteristic associated with narcissism dynamics

A person with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) has an inflated sense of self-worth. They easily feel threatened — even by the smallest critique.

You might notice them painting themselves as perpetual victims or misunderstood geniuses.

This helps them sidestep accountability and reinforces their self-created narrative of superiority or victimhood. Sound familiar?

Once you recognize the pattern, it’s difficult to unsee it. But it mightn’t be obvious from the get-go.

Speaking of hidden patterns.

2) The chameleon: Personality shifts

The chameleon-like behavior of inauthentic people goes beyond mere social adaptability. 

It also depends on setting.

In a group setting, they might align their opinions with those of the most influential person present. 

It’s a subtle and tactical maneuver to climb the social ladder.

The same story might change drastically depending on the audience. To one group, they might portray themselves as the hero, to another, or even the victim. 

They tend to mold the narrative to garner the most sympathy or admiration.

This manipulation is quite a sophisticated art. It’s certainly cunning, anyway. 

It reveals a deep understanding of social dynamics, yet a lack of genuine self-identity.

This absence of a ‘real’ personality can pose particular problems when it comes to building meaningful relationships with others. Let’s look at how this happens.  

3) Shallow relationships

Inauthentic people often view relationships through a transactional lens. They tend to form connections that serve a specific purpose.

They might befriend people with high social status to climb the social ladder and enhance their own social status.

These relationships lack depth and are often short-lived. They tend to dissolve once their utility wanes. These individuals rarely engage in conversations that require vulnerability or genuine emotional exchange.

They steer clear of topics that might reveal their true selves, preferring surface-level interactions. It’s not uncommon for them to have a wide circle of acquaintances, yet very few, if any, close friends.

Moreover, their interactions often involve subtle forms of name-dropping or highlighting connections to influential people. It’s a way of indirectly asserting their own importance.

These namedrops are often vague or embellished, and their stories, upon closer examination, reveal inconsistencies – a sign that these relationships might be more imagined than real.

As with most of these behaviors, it is difficult to separate fact from fiction. These tales require a closer look before they become…well…tall. 

Nothing is ever quite what it seems.

4) False modesty

False modesty, a tactic often employed by inauthentic individuals, is an intriguing paradox. Their declarations of humility are frequently laced with an underlying self-aggrandizement.

For example, they might talk about an achievement in a dismissive tone, yet provide enough detail to ensure the listener understands its significance.

This behavior extends to their portrayal of challenges. They often describe difficulties in a manner that highlights their resilience or capability, rather than focusing on the struggle itself.

It’s a narrative technique that serves two purposes: it elicits admiration while maintaining an appearance of humility.

This tactic, while seemingly benign, is a calculated effort to manipulate the perception of others while safeguarding their constructed self-image.

On this note, let’s extend the line of inquiry and talk about false empathy.

5) Conditional empathy

People who lack empathy frequently say these phrases without realizing their impact 7 things fake people do that show a lack of authenticity

The selective application of empathy by inauthentic individuals is a complex psychological maneuver. It can involve:

  • Lack of genuine concern in situations with no personal gain
  • Empathetic responses being strategic, not heartfelt

When empathy serves their purpose, they can appear remarkably understanding and compassionate.

However, this empathy dissipates quickly when there’s nothing for them to gain. This conditional empathy is particularly evident in professional settings.

They might express concern or understanding when they perceive a direct benefit, such as gaining favor with superiors or enhancing their reputation. 

When empathy is doled out on a selective basis, you might start to question whether it can truly be there in the first place. Indicators of inauthenticity have been linked to narcissism before.

Additionally, lack of empathy is one of the main characteristics of the condition according to the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders).

This selective empathy not only reveals a lack of genuine compassion but also highlights their strategic social navigation.

The sheer adaptive power that an inauthentic person has to allow them to slide seamlessly into a myriad of social situations is almost admirable. 

Another means through which they may showcase this adaptation are their personal values. 

6) Flexible values

The fluidity of values in inauthentic individuals can be particularly striking. Their principles and beliefs seem to change with the wind, aligning with whatever is most beneficial at the moment. 

One day, they might express strong convictions about a topic, and the next, they take a completely opposite stance if it suits their current situation.

For example, imagine a group of work colleagues. Imagine you feel like one of them acts a little fake sometimes.

The group goes out for drinks one night, where the talk turns to politics. In general, this group is right-leaning and so the discussion is held from this perspective.

The week after, the group goes out for a meal with the department head. Again, the talk turns to politics. Turns out that the head is left-leaning. Guess who suddenly is as well.

This inconsistency in values is not about growth or a change of heart; it’s about convenience and opportunism. It’s as if their moral compass is governed not by a set of internal principles, but by external circumstances and the potential for personal gain.

This behavior is disconcerting because it undermines the trust and reliability one expects in genuine relationships and interactions. 

How can you count on someone who constantly changes the principles they live by?

Likewise, how can you count on someone who hides their true selves –– someone who wears the proverbial mask?

7) The mirage of perfection

The pursuit of a façade of perfection is a behavior that can be frequently observed in inauthentic individuals. Their life, as presented to the world, often resembles a carefully curated gallery where each aspect seems flawlessly arranged. 

The inauthentic person arranges things like so:

  • Curates a flawless personal or social media image
  • Hides imperfections and shortcomings
  • Maintains an idealized façade, leading to stress and strained relationships

On social media, for instance, their posts may depict an idealized version of their life – exotic vacations, impeccable homes, or a seemingly flawless personal life. 

It’s interesting to note that the process of using social media is already considered inauthentic, being a tool that we use to escape from basic human emotions.

In face-to-face interactions, inauthentic people are often meticulous about their appearance and how they present their achievements and lifestyle.

This obsession with appearing perfect goes beyond normal self-presentation. It’s a relentless effort to hide any imperfections, driven by a fear that revealing their true selves, with all its flaws and shortcomings, would lead to rejection or judgment.

They are like directors of their own life’s movie, always on the lookout for any scene or character that might disrupt the narrative of perfection they wish to project.

Wrapping up

In exploring these seven behaviors, we uncover a pattern of strategic self-presentation and manipulation that characterizes inauthentic individuals.

Their actions and reactions are not spontaneous expressions of their true selves but carefully orchestrated moves on the social chessboard.

It’s important to remember that these behaviors are often deeply ingrained and may be rooted in underlying insecurities or a desire for acceptance. 

Understanding these traits is not about judgment but about gaining insight into the complex dynamics of human interaction.

Picture of Isabella Chase

Isabella Chase

Isabella Chase, a New York City native, writes about the complexities of modern life and relationships. Her articles draw from her experiences navigating the vibrant and diverse social landscape of the city. Isabella’s insights are about finding harmony in the chaos and building strong, authentic connections in a fast-paced world.

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