34 Clear Signs Of A Shallow Person & Coping Strategies (2024)

Want to know if you’re dealing with a shallow person.

Below, you’ll discover the telltale signs that a friend or acquaintance of yours is shallow.  

In my role as a life coach, I am often helping clients how to deal with difficult people in their lives.

That’s why I’m keen to share this guide with you. 

So, let’s dive in. 

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Signs Of A Shallow Person

What Does It Mean To Be Shallow?

If someone is described as ‘shallow’, it typically means they are lacking in emotional or intellectual depth. This is, of course, subjective.

Still, someone may be considered shallow if they are deemed to only be interested in basic surface level things. 

What Does Shallow Personality Mean?

If someone is considered to have a shallow personality, it is believed that their whole personality revolves around things that aren’t ultimately important in the eyes of others. If someone is materialistic, obsessed with their appearance, celebrities or pop culture, they might be deemed to have a shallow personality.

Opposite Of Shallow Person

The opposite of a shallow person is typically called a ‘deep person’. This is someone with a great interest in philosophy, science, politics, sociology, psychology, personal growth or other factors of life that can have a big impact on the future of the world. A deep person is often interested in making the world a better place, at least for themselves and those closest to them.

They typically have NO interest in topics which have no significant impact on the world, such as celebrity gossip, reality TV, fashion trends etc. 

What Is A Shallow Person Like? 

If you’re a shallow person yourself, you’ll probably get along really well with other shallow men and women, as you’ll have similar interests and values.

However, if you’re a ‘deep person’ or even halfway between these two polar opposites, you may become frustrated with a shallow person’s lack of interest in topics which you consider interesting and important. This lack of interest on their part may make it impossible to establish a deep emotional connection with this person.

Shallow Person
Photo By drobotdean On freepik

Signs Of A Shallow Person

Here are 34 signs of a shallow person. The more of these signs that match your friend’s personality, the more they fit this definition. 

1. They Thrive Off Gossip And Drama

A shallow person enjoys discussing other people’s dirty laundry. They love to share any rumors they hear about celebrities or their own acquaintances. This is just one example of ultimately unimportant topics that leave their lips.

2. They Are Deeply Materialistic 

It’s often in their nature to care more about the material things they have, rather than the experiences they enjoy or the relationships they cultivate. 

It’s deeply important for shallow people to have the latest gadget, wear the latest clothes or engage in the latest social media trend. They place a lot of importance on being ‘in style’.

4. They Follow The Crowd

A shallow person’s obsession with following trends is so intense that it’s blind. They will follow, even if they don’t particularly like the trend. 

5. Their Physical Appearance Is Incredibly Important

An obsession with their own appearance is another common trait of a shallow person. 

6. They Choose Partners Based On Their Appearance

Most people do this to some extent. But shallow people tend to be extremely superficial people, and will therefore place a lot more value on their partner’s appearance than deeper aspects of who they are as a human being. 

7. They Choose Peers Based On What They Look Like

Another example of a shallow person being a superficial person. They don’t only want to be considered ‘hot’, but also want to be seen as having a ‘hot’ friendship group. To shallow individuals, ugly people are often considered socially undesirable.

8. They Judge People Based On What They Look Like

The ‘Halo Effect’ – a psychological theory which suggests that good-looking people are viewed more favourably – might impact all of us to some degree. But it would appear to have a far bigger impact on a shallow person. These types of people are far quicker to judge others by their appearance.

9. They Compare Themelves To Other People 

Again, this is an error that plenty of people fall victim to. The difference is: shallow people tend to compare shallow things like beauty, material assets or Instagram followers. 

10. Their Relationships Are Based On What They Can Get

You’ll notice that shallow people often form social relationships with people who can get them stuff, rather than people who truly care about them. 

They’ll befriend the club promoter who can get them into VIP, or the Instagram model who can maybe help boost her clout. They’ll date the rich guy who can buy them a Gucci purse, even if this man is dating five other women. These are shallow relationships. 

11. They Will Disappear Once The Value Does

If the stuff that their lover or friend provides disappears, the shallow person will usually disappear from their life too. Shallow people lack empathy and aren’t the type to help others through tough times. 

12. They Have No Interest In Current Affairs

When you try to speak about politics, philosophy, history or other topics that are considered ‘deep’, they’ll often lose interest.

13. They Don’t Value People’s Personalities

They might value ‘fun’, but they’re not overly concerned with personality traits like intelligence, integrity, virtue or kindness. 

14. They Lack Intelligence Themselves

This is because they typically have little interest in deep intellectual topics. 

15. They Are Often Obsessed With Social Media

These apps present them a chance to curate the perfect self-image for others. Shallow men and women tend to place a lot of value on their amount of followers, likes and comments they receive. They also often use this to measure the value of the rest of society.     

16. Their Social Profiles Are Superficial 

If their profiles are nothing but adverts for how beautiful they are and how much stuff they have, there’s a good chance they’re a shallow and superficial person in real life too.

17. Their Online Dating Bio Reveals They’re A Superficial Person

You can usually learn a lot about how shallow someone is from their online dating bio. What do they write about themselves and who they’re looking for? Do they mention personality traits with depth, or only things like height, looks, status and money?

18. They’d Rather Hang Out At A ‘Cool’ Place Than A Fun Place 

That’s because being seen in a trendy spot is usually more important to them than genuinely enjoying themselves.

19. They’d Rather Hang Out With ‘Cool’ People Than Fun People

Again, their perceived social status is more important, especially in this age where we can snap and upload a photo within moments.

20. Their Heroes Are Superficial People

Who are the public figures they admire? Are they people with talent, intelligence and a history of overcoming adversity? Or are they rich and beautiful people with a lot of clout and a dream lifestyle?  

21. They Have Little Interest In Getting To Know Someone

Shallow people are often poor listeners. They’re rarely keen to get to know people or even listen to the words they say. It’s in their nature to be more interested in the superficial things they have. 

It’s the opposite for deep people. For this reason, many will get frustrated at their inability to develop a deep relationship with a shallow person.

22. They Surround Themselves With Other Shallow People

This is mostly because these are the only types of people they get along with. 

23. They Want To Go On Dates To Fancy Places 

That’s because a luxurious lifestyle is more important to them than getting to know someone and cultivating a meaningful relationship.

24. They Want To Show Off Their Social Experiences More Than Enjoy Them

If they’re filming an experience on their phone more than they’re actually enjoying the moment, that’s another surefire sign of a shallow person.

25. They’re Obsessed With Brands 

For a shallow person, the brand image is more important than the function of an item.

26. They Show Off Their Money 

A shallow person is the most likely to show off their riches to other people, and the least likely to be humble about how much money they have. 

27. They’re Obsessed What Other People Think Of Them

This might be a given, considering everything you’ve read so far. But it’s true, nevertheless. This unstoppable desire to impress other people often stems from a deep sense of low self-esteem.

28. They’re Obsessed With Clout And Online Followers

For the shallow and superficial person with low self-esteem, these social metrics serve as proof that they’re a worthy person. Not everyone needs these numbers, but shallow individuals can place their entire sense of self-worth on them. 

29. They Want To Be The Center Of Attention

While wanting to be the center of attention isn’t a defining trait of a shallow person, it is common for them to believe the world revolves around them. 

30. They Will Probably Betray You 

Shallow people are often disloyal. You’ll commonly witness them step over you if it means boosting their own status or clout.

31. They Will Bail On Plans If Something Better Comes Along

This is one of the most common ways that shallow individuals betray their friends and show a lack of loyalty.

32. They’re Hypergamous

This lack of loyalty extends to their long-term relationship too. If an opportunity to date  someone with more resources crops up, a shallow person is the most likely to ditch their partner and take that opportunity. 

33. They Won’t Do Anything That Doesn’t Benefit Them

Selfishness is one of the most common traits of shallow people. Their shallow desires come before anything else.

34. They Have No Deeper Purpose

A long-term life purpose is one of the most fulfilling things that human beings can find. Yet, shallow people often have no other concerns beyond looking cool, having fun and buying things. This might appear to be the sole aim of their lives.   

Related: Ways To Overcome Shallow Thinking

Frequently Asked Questions About Shallow People

Let’s round off the article with the answers to some frequently asked questions about shallow people.

Are Shallow People Bad?

There’s nothing inherently bad about shallow people. Most of the personality traits listed above don’t hurt anyone, although their lack of loyalty can be particularly frustrating.

If you don’t get along with a shallow person, don’t waste your energy on hating them or telling others how bad they are. Simply accept that you have different interests and move on with your own life.   

How To Deal With A Shallow Person

There’s no point trying to change a shallow person, as they most likely won’t want to change. If you don’t happen to enjoy your social interactions with them, your best course of action is to stop dealing with them altogether. If you don’t have to spend time with them, cut them out of your life. 

What To Say To A Shallow Person

If you want to befriend a shallow person or you have to deal with them, your best strategy is to let them talk and talk about topics that interest them. This is a classic tip from  ‘How To Win Friends And Influence People’ – and it works with deeper people too. If you want to have a deep conversation, find someone who is interested in doing that.

Is It Possible To Have A Healthy Relationship With A Shallow Person?

A lot of shallow people are self-centered and only interested in shallow aspects of other people’s personalities. As such, it’s tough to develop a relationship with emotional depth.

Does that mean it’s impossble to have a fulfilling friendship or relationship with shallow and superficial people? Perhaps not. It all depends on what you’re looking for from them. You might not see shallowness as a bad thing, and there’s nothing wrong with that. 

For my final thoughts on the topic, allow me to remind you that shallowness is subjective. You may well be deemed shallow by someone with incredible intellectual depth. The people that others consider shallow might be intellectually stimulating to you. It’s a matter of perspective.  

Any More Questions? 

Thanks for reading my article.

If you’d like to make a point or ask a question about this matter, feel free to leave a comment below. 

It would be great to talk further about this topic.

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About The Author

Bijan Kholghi is a certified life coach with the Milton Erickson Institute Heidelberg (Germany). He helps clients and couples reach breakthroughs in their lives by changing subconscious patterns. His solution-oriented approach is based on Systemic- and Hypnotherapy.