17 Actions That Reveal a Person’s True Character

A lot of the time, people don’t need to tell you who they are because they show you through their actions. You can judge a person’s character by what they do, how they speak, and how they make you feel. We’ve listed 20 actions that you can observe to understand a person’s true character.

How They Act When It Doesn’t Benefit Them

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For a truly empathetic person, the act of helping somebody else out is a reward in itself. If they’re willing to do something without expecting anything in return, they’re a good person. You can judge a lot about a person’s character by how they act when there is no benefit for them.

How They Treat Servers

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Servers are subject to a power imbalance when interacting with customers because they’re doing their jobs. If a customer is rude, entitled, arrogant, or aggressive towards servers, they likely have no patience and lack humility. This is called ‘The Waiter Rule,’ and, according to LifeHack, someone who mistreats servers is demonstrating that their kindness is conditional.

How They Speak About Their Friends

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If somebody often speaks badly of their other friends or gossips about them to you, there’s a high chance they speak similarly about you behind your back. A person who never has anything nice to say about others, especially those closest to them, likely always focuses on the negatives and can’t be trusted.

How They Converse

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Conversations rely on two-way communication, so they’re an easy way to judge a person’s character. If somebody constantly talks over you and ignores what you’re saying, they are likely self-absorbed and enjoy monopolizing conversations. By contrast, a person who listens intently and asks you questions is genuinely interested in what you’ve got to say.

How They Handle Conflict

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Conflict crops up in every area of life, but what’s important is how we handle it. A well-rounded person will be able to collect themselves, take a moment to calm down, and think before they continue. A person who instantly flips out and escalates the conflict lacks maturity and likely stores up their frustration until it explodes.

How They React to Setbacks

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It’s natural to get frustrated when things don’t go as planned, but you can tell a lot about a person’s character by how they react to setbacks. Someone with a positive attitude will be able to take a step back and evaluate the situation, whereas someone with a negative attitude might refuse to accept accountability or simply give up.

How They Act When Drunk

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There’s a popular saying, ‘drunk words are sober thoughts,’ and it’s a good way to judge a person’s character. People typically become louder and more sociable when drunk, but some people become nasty or confrontational, which can be scary. Research by Drinkaware shows that alcohol suppresses inhibition, which is why drunk people vocalize their true thoughts without a filter.

How They Treat Their Partner

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You can observe a lot about someone’s character by how they speak to and otherwise treat their partner in public. Are they affectionate? Are they irritable? Do they put their partner down? How do they converse? Someone who behaves badly towards their partner in public is likely even worse in private.

How They Receive Criticism

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Sometimes, criticism can be unfair or even cruel. However, constructive criticism is a natural and essential part of life that helps us grow as people. If somebody can take criticism on board with grace, they have good listening skills and are able to understand outsider perspectives. By comparison, people who instantly take criticism personally are thin-skinned.

How They Relay Events

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A person who compulsively lies about events, even very minor ones, feels the need to portray themselves in a more favorable light. According to PsychCentral, compulsive liars often have low self-esteem, so they fabricate things. A person who relays events to you accurately has nothing to hide and doesn’t need to manipulate events to improve their image.

How They Respond to Boundaries

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Having boundaries is healthy and normal, but some people struggle to accept when somebody says no to them. This is a huge red flag and indicates that such a person will continue to trample over your boundaries and disrespect you. Similarly, it’s a bad sign if somebody reacts angrily when you tell them they’ve violated your boundaries.

How They React to Your Success

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It can be hard to swallow someone else’s success when we’re struggling ourselves, but being gracious is an integral life skill. If someone is unable to be happy for your success, or even just accept it without becoming jealous or trying to bring you down, they are likely insecure and taking their feelings out on you.

How They Respond When You’re Struggling

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We all need support from those around us, especially when we’re struggling, and a good friend will always offer a shoulder to cry on and try to help however they can. A friend who brushes off your troubles likely lacks empathy, and a friend who takes pleasure in your struggles holds contempt for you.

How They Behave In Your Home

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Your home is your own space, so you want to surround yourself with people who respect that. According to House Beautiful, there are plenty of basic etiquette rules you should follow in someone else’s home, like taking off your shoes, not making a mess, and showing gratitude to the host. A person who behaves poorly in your home lacks manners.

How They Approach Political Discussions

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Political discussions are often tense and lead to disagreements, but they can be approached carefully to minimize conflict and avoid upsetting anybody. Someone who likes to dominate conversations and lacks tact will attempt to vocalize their own views and stop others from contributing in an effort to control the discussion and force their opinion.

How They Take a Joke

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Jokes at a person’s expense are mean-spirited and should never be entertained, but how someone reacts to an innocent joke in a social situation can be indicative of their personality. Can they laugh at themselves and trade a joke back? Or do they become defensive, snap, or say something cruel to hurt the other person?

How They Stand Up For Themselves

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Standing up for yourself is important because it means you won’t get walked all over. However, there are classy ways to defend yourself that don’t include spitefully putting the other person down or over-inflating your own ego. A self-aware person will care about how they appear and be able to stand up for themselves on their own merits.

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