14 Surprising Signs You’re Dealing With An Inauthentic Person

14 Surprising Signs You’re Dealing With An Inauthentic Person

It’s not always easy to spot, but some people just don’t come across as genuine. They might be charming, charismatic, or seem incredibly confident, but underneath, there are signs that they’re not being real with you or even themselves. From their over-the-top flattery to their tendency to always play the victim, these behaviors can be subtle but revealing. Here are some behaviors that are common in inauthentic people so you can recognize them when they pop up.

1. They go over the top with flattery.

You know those people who always lay it on thick with compliments? It might seem nice at first, but if it’s excessive, it can be a red flag. Inauthentic people often use flattery as a tool to get what they want or to keep you on their side. It’s less about making you feel good and more about serving their purposes. Real compliments are great, but when it’s overdone, it can feel insincere and manipulative.

2. They agree with everyone all the time.

Ever noticed someone who’s a chameleon in conversations, always agreeing with whoever they’re talking to? It might look like flexibility, but often, it’s a sign of inauthenticity. They think that being a people pleaser will make them more likable but in the end, it always backfires. These people typically avoid taking a stand on anything because they want to be liked by everyone. They might be saying ‘yes’ to you now, but who knows what they’re saying to others. Genuine people aren’t afraid to have their own opinions, even if it means disagreeing sometimes.

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4. They never open up about themselves or their life.

It’s one thing to be private, but it’s another to be a closed book. Inauthentic people often keep things super vague about their lives. They rarely share personal stories or open up about their feelings. This lack of openness can be a strategy to keep a distance or to create a certain image of themselves that might not be entirely true. Real connections are built on sharing and vulnerability, which these people tend to avoid.

5. They’re arrogant and really full of themselves.

There’s confidence, and then there’s arrogance. Inauthentic people often fall into the latter category. They brag a lot and always seem to turn the conversation back to themselves. Their stories are more about impressing you than sharing with you. It’s like they’re constantly performing. Genuine confidence is quiet and doesn’t need constant validation or a spotlight.

6. They play the victim.

Ever come across someone who seems to always have something bad happening to them? It’s like they’re perpetually the victim in every situation. Inauthentic people often play this card to gain sympathy or evade responsibility. It’s a way of manipulating situations to their advantage. Genuine people acknowledge their role in problems and don’t constantly seek pity.

7. They’re always involved in some kind of drama.

If there’s always a crisis or conflict surrounding someone, that’s a warning sign. Inauthentic people often thrive on drama because it keeps the attention on them and often deflects deeper scrutiny. It can be exhausting to be around because there’s always some new story or issue. Authentic people tend to seek harmony and straightforward relationships.

8. They’re very materialistic.

Notice if someone is overly focused on material things—brands, possessions, showing off their wealth or acquisitions. This obsession can be a cover for a lack of depth or an attempt to create a certain image. While it’s fine to enjoy nice things, inauthentic people often use material possessions to define their worth or to impress people.

9. They’re desperate for attention.

Constantly seeking the spotlight is another trait of inauthentic people. They may do outrageous things or constantly post on social media for validation and attention. Their self-esteem seems to rely heavily on being noticed and applauded. This contrasts with genuine people who are comfortable with who they are, whether they’re in the limelight or not.

10. They make promises they don’t keep.

Inauthentic people often make grand promises they have no intention of keeping. It’s like they say what you want to hear in the moment, but their follow-through is nonexistent. This behavior can be really frustrating and disappointing. It’s a sign that their words are more about manipulation or creating a certain impression than about genuine commitment or reliability.

11. They’re inconsistent in their behaviors, opinions, etc.

You might notice that these people change the things they think, do, or say depending on who they’re with or what they think they can gain. It’s hard to pin down what they truly believe or feel. This inconsistency is often because they’re more concerned with pleasing others or fitting in than being true to themselves. Authentic people, on the other hand, are pretty consistent; what you see is generally what you get.

12. Their stories are inconsistent and often unbelievable.

Ever hear someone whose stories just don’t add up or seem a bit too outlandish? Inauthentic people often fabricate or exaggerate stories to make themselves look better or to gain attention. Over time, these stories can change or contradict each other. It’s a sign that they’re more interested in the effect of their words than the truth behind them.

13. They drop friends quickly and easily.

If someone seems to cycle through friends at an alarming rate, that’s a red flag. Inauthentic people often use others for their own gain and then discard them when they’re no longer useful. Their relationships are more about what they can get out of them than genuine connection or loyalty. True friendships, in contrast, are valued and nurtured by authentic people.

14. They find it hard to be “in the moment.”

You might notice that inauthentic people often seem distracted or disengaged, even when they’re in a social setting. It’s like their mind is always elsewhere, maybe plotting their next move or thinking about how they can benefit from the situation. This inability to be present can make conversations with them feel superficial or unsatisfying. They’re not really there with you; they’re just going through the motions. Authentic people, in contrast, give their full attention to the here and now, making interactions more meaningful.

15. They’re extremely judgmental.

Inauthentic people often have a habit of passing harsh judgment on others. It might be a way for them to feel superior or to deflect attention from their own flaws. Their criticisms can be sharp and unrelenting, and they often focus on superficial aspects like appearance, status, or possessions. This judgmental attitude is in stark contrast to authentic people, who tend to be more accepting and focus on character rather than externals.

Sinead Cafferty is a writer who has authored four collections of poetry: "Dust Settling" (2012); "The Space Between" (2014); "Under, Under, Over" (2016); and "What You Can't Have" (2020). She's currently working on her first novel, a dystopian romance set in the 22nd Century, that's due out in 2024.

Sinead has an MFA in creative writing from NYU and has had residencies with the Vermont Studio Center and the National Center for Writing.