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“Is he a good person?” 

“Can I trust her?”

Consciously or unconsciously, these are the kind of questions we ask ourselves when we meet people every day. Sometimes we hesitate to transact business with them, go on a date, accept that first kiss, or become friends because we keep wondering.

To satisfy our curiosity, we start to read body language, ask questions, and make assumptions. We’re either looking out for signs of integrity and honesty or an indicator of a phony.

Experts argue that character traits play a key role in our success in life and this goes to say that we have the power to choose how successful we become, based on our character and personality.

A person’s true character will always surface if you observe them long enough. But knowing what to look out for is essential. Here are some tips.

1. The signs of integrity

Anybody with a good character must exhibit signs of integrity. Of course, you can’t tell immediately if a person has integrity just by looking at them or having a brief conversation, but some elements are easy to spot.

Respect is one of the big ones. You can tell if a person respects others from how they talk about them, especially in their absence, and how they treat people who appear below them in status (like the waiter at the restaurant).

Do they show kindness in their words and actions? Do they show signs of impatience and overreact over minor mistakes?

If they are speaking to an employee, for example, do they belittle them, or are they considerate of them as another human being who deserves to be treated with dignity?

Integrity encompasses a lot of traits that can be identified if you look out for them. Someone with a good character embodies these traits; they do not pretend; it is just part of who they are.

Related: 6 Small Things That Say A Lot About Someone’s Character

2. How they talk about themselves

Sometimes you meet people, and within minutes you feel like you’ve met someone who is the antagonist and protagonist of their own story.

In their presence, it seems everyone else is insignificant because they talk only about themselves, their accomplishments, and all the amazing things happening around them.

It is essential to listen to other people and ask them questions about themselves. If you’re with someone who never stops talking about themselves to hear about you, it’s a bad character.

Usually, such people have a way of steering every conversation back to them if anyone tries to change the topic.

Listen to how people talk about themselves. It will tell you a lot about them.

A person with good character actively listens to others, maintains direct eye contact, and does not scroll mindlessly on their phone when speaking to other people.

It is a mark of concern for things other than yourself because you recognize that life is bigger than just you.

3. How they talk about other people

Closely connected to the previous point, watch out for people who never have a kind word to say about other people.

If someone talks trash about others to you, be rest assured they talk about you the same way to other people. This trait should tell you that you can never trust this person.

Besides that, research reveals that what you say about others says a lot more about you. Psychologists call this “Projection” — someone trash-talking others may just be projecting their insecurities on another person.

In essence, how someone talks about others says so much more about themselves than they realize.

One with decent behavior will use their words to build up rather than tear down other people. They will not engage in gossip or slander of any form.

Interesting: 5 Signs You Have a Strong, Intimidating Personality

4. Taking responsibility

It is bad behavior to constantly blame other people for our actions or inactions; it points to a broader issue of the lack of accountability.

Taking responsibility implies being able to admit to other people for wrongdoings and be willing to make up for them.

If someone always blames another person for their actions or lack thereof, it is a sign of bad behavior. Nothing is ever their fault; there is no apology or commitment to change.

It takes someone with a decent character to own up to their mistakes. Even if nobody is watching, they know they need to be accountable to themselves, as they would expect others to do the right thing even if no one is watching.

5. Showing appreciation

Showing appreciation and gratitude is a thing some people take for granted. Thus, when someone praises others and says a heartfelt “thank you”, it is a huge sign of good character.

Experts say that most people remember criticisms more than praise due to negativity bias. If this is true, it’s more reason why praise should be given where it is due.

A sign of good character is when someone intentionally showers words of gratitude and appreciation when things are well done just as quickly as they would have criticized where something had gone wrong.

No man is an island; we need each other to survive. Do not take it for granted when someone renders services to you or goes out of their way to help you.

6. Loyalty

Everyone hopes to have at least one person in their life that they can call on through the storms and happy times.

Ride-or-die has become a catchphrase for a reason. Loyalty is a coveted attribute.

You can spot loyalty in a person from the way they respond to the people in their lives. Are they there when people need them, or do they only show up when it’s time to reap the rewards?

Can you stand steadfast and consistent? Anyone can be there for you when times are good, or they can come once in a while when you need help, but loyalty is when they are always there for you.

Loyal people are also honest with you, and we know what they say about honesty; it is the best policy.

Loyalty is important; however, knowing when to walk out of a toxic relationship or friendship is crucial. Loyalty is not a call to stay in situations that might literally kill you.

Related: 6 Signs Someone Has Authentic Confidence

7. Self-control

Exercising self-control is crucial as we deal with people every day.

Sometimes we lose our temper and act inappropriately, only to regret it later.

You may be out on a fun night, and rather than exercising self-control, you misbehave, drink too much, or engage in inappropriate behavior.

These are traits that a person with good behavior will not exhibit.

You can often tell when someone is exercising restraint also from how they speak and choose their words. They think through what they want to say and find the best way to say it.

This ability to make good choices about what we will or will not do is a mark of a good character.

It is acceptable to live your life fully and authentically without letting others hold you back, but you can do this within reason; you should not intentionally hurt others in your bid to live freely.

8. The little things

They say it’s the little foxes that spoil the vine.

A combination of so-called little things can show us if someone is of good character or not.

Do they try to remember the names of people they meet? Remembering names tells the other person that you were paying attention to them when they introduced themselves.

Names are personal, and it is disrespectful to other people if they constantly have to remind you of their names.

Another thing that might seem like a small gesture is; how do you make requests?

It is rude to request something from someone in a disrespectful or entitled manner, even if they are your employee.

Finally, someone with good character gives others the benefit of the doubt. They know that things are not always how they appear and thus give others the chance to explain themselves.

It is easy to be misunderstood, and some people jump to conclusions without other points of view. Not a person with good character.

Final words

Maya Angelou says when people show you who they are, believe them the first time. The behavior of people tells us if they have good or bad character. As I said in the beginning, character cannot be hidden.

No matter how long people try to hide their true character, it will show up at some point.

If you want to learn these character traits to become a better person, start by being honest with yourself.

Being of good behavior is not about perfection, it is about attempting to be a decent human being every day. There are still many good people in this world and if you can’t find one, be one.

Also read: 6 Signs Someone is a Narcissist

Yvonne Peters-Adzimah

Yvonne is passionate about ensuring that people live purposeful lives. She writes on topics of love, spirituality, healing from trauma, and personal growth. Yvonne holds a BA in Linguistics and an MA in Gender and Development. She loves to travel and spend time with her family.

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