Do you have a shallow person in your life? If that question gives you pause, we don't blame you: It can be hard to distinguish between people who like the occasional slice of office gossip (don't we all?) and people who are truly obsessed with superficial things and lack emotional or intellectual depth.
While having a shallow person in your life isn't necessarily detrimental to your own person growth, it can be if you spend too much time with them or start to pick up some of their habits.
With that in mind, here's what it actually means to be a shallow person, the tops signs that you might be dealing with one, and what to do about it.
What Does It Mean to Be a Shallow Person?
A shallow person is typically obsessed with the superficial and doesn't think about the deeper aspects of life. Surface-level things are their topics of choice, and they tend to seek attention and care a lot about the opinions of others.
Being shallow isn't necessarily a bad thing, but if you're someone who's focused on personal growth and changing for the better (as many Silk + Sonder members are!), spending time with a shallow person probably doesn't align with your core values, and it may be important for you to distance yourself from that person.
11 Signs You're Dealing With a Shallow Person
With that in mind, how can you actually identify a shallow person? The truth is that shallowness can be quite subtle, so here are 11 signs to look out for.
1. You have a suspicion they're not listening to you
Shallow people tend to be poor listeners, because they're usually thinking about themselves or hyper-focused on the superficial, like how they look that day or how others are perceiving them.
To figure out whether your friend or acquaintance is a good listener, ask yourself:
- Do they remember what you tell them, or do you find that you're constantly having to repeat yourself?
- Do they ask about things you're going through that might be difficult?
- When you're talking to them, do they keep looking at their phones or have difficult maintaining eye contact?
- Do they change the subject a lot?
- Do they talk over you?
If any of these sound familiar, you may be dealing with a shallow person.
2. They don't seem to have any genuine connections
Most of us have at least one close friend or family member who we tell everything to. These are people we aren't afraid to be vulnerable with, and people who are genuinely invested in our personal growth.
If someone in your life is constantly picking up a new "best friend" who seems suspiciously linked to improving their social status, that person is likely very shallow and not invested in creating actual lasting connections.
3. They don't have deep conversations
If you're constantly trying to talk to a friend or family member about some of the deeper parts of your life—think an issue with your kids, a problem at work, your core values or a topic related to your own personal growth journey—and just can't get them to focus on it, they're likely shallow.
Shallow people tend to like to talk about celebrity gossip (or gossip about anything, really), or material things like clothes or different hairstyles almost constantly. Deep topics are not their forte.
Shallow people have a hard time talking about non-superficial things.
4. They never ask you how you are
On top of not being great listeners, shallow people tend to be more self-obsessed. Because they have few or no genuine connections, they're not great at understanding what goes into maintaining close relationships; one of those being focusing less on themselves and more on the person in front of them.
5. They're obsessed with how they're perceived on social media
We all enjoy "doin' it for the 'gram" every now and then.
But if someone in your life seems totally obsessed with their online presence, constantly taking selfies and even going to certain restaurants or coffee shops so they can take photos and rack up the likes, they could be an influencer—or they could just be shallow. Hey, there's a difference!
6. They focus a lot on physical appearances
As the saying goes, beauty is only skin-deep.
So it probably doesn't come as a surprise that shallow people tend to not just care about their physical appearance or the physical appearances of others, but put it above just about everything else.
A shallow person may put tons of money toward clothes, new makeup, and different pampering procedures to make themselves looks better—and notice more than the average person when others are doing this, too.
7. They're judgmental
As mentioned above, shallow people tend to pay a lot of attention to the superficial elements of others.
So, they may be very judgmental when it comes to other people's clothes, how they decorate their homes, how much money they have, or even whether they have a chipped manicure.
And if you hear someone in your life making judgmental statements about others, you can probably bet that they're saying things behind your back, too.
8. They love gossip
People have been gossiping since the beginning of time, and while it's not a great habit, we're all guilty of it from time to time. But if it seems like all a person can do is gossip and you can't steer them toward other, deeper topics, they're probably shallow.
9. They tend to betray people
While every shallow person won't betray you, if you notice that a friend seems to betray all of their other friends—either by spilling their secrets or going after something they have or want—they aren't just shallow, they'll probably do that to you eventually, too.
It's important to seriously distance yourself or cut ties from this version of a shallow person, because this kind of behavior is extremely hurtful and harmful.
Shallow people often betray others.
10. They always paint themselves as the victim
Shallow people tend to be self-centered, and they have a hard time clearly seeing what kind of role they played in a disagreement or falling out with someone else. If you have a friend who is constantly harping on how they were "wronged" or blaming you for things, they're likely pretty shallow.
11. They don't care about the suffering of others
While spending too much time reading or watching the news can be harmful to our mental health, there's a difference between someone who avoids the news because it makes them sad or anxious and someone who genuinely doesn't care or isn't interested. A sure sign of a shallow (and even narcissistic) person is someone who doesn't care about the suffering or difficulties of others.
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