17 Ways You Can Tell a Good Person from A Bad Person

Being a “good” or “bad” person means different things to different people, so there is no absolute consensus on how you can tell one from the other. However, there are many traits that most people agree are typical of good-natured, upstanding individuals. Based on these qualities, let’s take a look at 17 ways you can usually tell a good person from a bad person.

Consistency in Words and Actions

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Good people understand the importance of aligning their values and promises with their actions. For this reason, they will often display healthy levels of reliability, honesty, and consistency in everything they do. This helps people trust them, their intentions, and their decisions.

Empathy Toward Others

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Most of us will agree that empathy is an undoubtedly positive quality that helps us connect with others and maintain healthy relationships. Empathetic individuals are less likely to be selfish and more likely to show concern and care for others without expecting something in return. What’s more, research shows that empathy is the most important leadership skill.

Accountability for Mistakes

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Ethical individuals know that while it’s okay to make mistakes sometimes, it’s not okay to shift the blame and fail to take ownership of one’s own shortcomings. This is why most good people show a willingness to take accountability and apologize for their mistakes.

Respect for Boundaries

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Unfortunately, some malicious and ignorant individuals out there have no issue with overstepping the boundaries of others for their own personal gain. On the other hand, good people understand the importance of respecting people’s boundaries and will not pressure or guilt others into doing things they don’t want to do.

Genuine Acts of Kindness

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Some manipulative individuals will show selective and ingenuine kindness to others in the hopes of getting what they want. You can tell when someone is truly being good and kind when they act kindly, regardless of whether they will get any kind of attention or reward as a result.

Transparency in Intentions

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Good people are always as transparent as possible when it comes to their motives and intentions. Conversely, as noted by Psychology Today, manipulators will often intentionally hide their darker motives to achieve their aims.

Respectful Communication

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Respectful communication means listening actively and without interruption, as well as avoiding insulting, belittling, or demeaning language. Good people are usually highly capable in this area, helping those around them feel respected and heard.


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Upstanding individuals can be depended upon for support and advice in times of need. They will also be more likely to follow through on their promises and commitments, building a healthy sense of trust and dependability.


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Good people strike an admirable balance between recognizing their own strengths and achievements while also acknowledging their limitations and areas for improvement. This means they rarely let their egos get in the way of their growth and connections with others.

Compassion for the Less Fortunate

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Rather than belittling those less fortunate than themselves for being weak, inferior, or inadequate, good people will show compassion and understanding for their struggles. This will often manifest through an engagement in social justice or volunteer work.

Integrity in Difficult Situations

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Challenging situations are a good test of whether someone will stick to their values when the going gets rough. If someone chooses to remain good and do the right thing even when making a different decision would be easier or more beneficial for them, they’re probably a good person.

Active Listening Skills

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Active listening displays a genuine interest in the thoughts and feelings of others, as well as a healthy level of respect for them and what they have to say. On the other hand, frequent interruptions and a failure to listen can reflect self-absorption and a lack of respect. Mind Tools asserts that active listening can also help us to avoid misunderstandings and conflicts.

Fairness in Judgment

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It’s easy to become biased when those close to you are involved. However, good people are usually able to remain fair in their judgment regardless of how much they may personally like or dislike the people involved.

Generosity Without Expectation

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If someone is willing to share their time, resources, and energy with others without expecting anything in return, it’s likely that they are a good person. Generosity typically indicates an unselfish, kind, and caring nature free from malicious intentions.

Valuing Privacy and Confidentiality

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Good people recognize the importance of respecting the privacy and confidentiality of others. For this reason, they will refrain from sharing personal information or secrets with others without their consent.

Encouraging and Supportive

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Good-natured individuals usually display a willingness to offer their encouragement and support to others. It’s normal to have feelings of insecurity and jealousy sometimes, but good people are able to put these feelings aside when it counts, allowing them to remain positive and supportive even in difficult situations.

Respect for Diversity and Difference

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As noted by Stop Hate UK, discrimination can lead to feelings of low confidence and low self-esteem, as well as affecting the victim’s financial, social, and professional prospects. Good people understand this and will make sure to treat everyone around them with respect and kindness, regardless of their background, race, gender, or sexuality.

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