Why We Should Stop Calling People “Real”

Alright, I admit it. I did write an article in the past titled “10 Ways To Know You’re Dating A Real Man.” Shortly after, as you can see, I changed the title because I didn’t really like the sound of it.

I admit I’d fallen into the trap of endless memes and articles online about what a “real man” or a “real woman” does. I understand what people are trying to say with these concepts, but I believe the logic behind the use of the word is flawed and can be easily improved upon.

How do you really know if you’re a real person? Well, if you exist, your chances are pretty good.


But what does the interweb mean when it says real? It means someone who has integrity. Who is genuine. Trustworthy. Honest. Respectable. Dignified.

To say that someone is real because they fit into a certain set of arbitrary requirements put forth by a source-less series of words on a quasi-inspirational photo, is to miss the point of true human depth. It is to be intellectually lazy when defining what constitutes living a good life and building healthy relationships with those around us.

Pop culture and music have chiseled down the vastness of our consciousness into small categories like “real” or “fake.” You are seen as one or the other depending on the content of your character. Are we going to let billions of years of biological evolution and countless individual personalities be defined by two little four letter words that have no intrinsic meaning? I think not.

I am real, you are real, every person who reads this (and every person who doesn’t) is real. We are also many other things that more accurately describe us. Where is the societal praise for those qualities? To say “you’re the realest person I’ve ever met” to someone, in my opinion, is a lazy compliment.

Maybe I’m being a language snob. Maybe I should just loosen my tie and take the idea for what it’s supposed to mean, but we can do better than this.

We can get to know people on a deeper level and recognize them for who they are, and who they strive to be. We can feel a person’s being and allow it to inspire and profoundly change us. We can grow both individually and in relationships if we represent others in our own minds better.


The people in your life are worth more than a categorization. They are fantastically complex. They exist, and they are much more than just “real.”

I challenge you to challenge yourself. Add more depth to your thoughts and relationships – and you will add more depth to your life.

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9 thoughts on “Why We Should Stop Calling People “Real”

  1. Reblogged this on Danz Social Blog and commented:
    Changes of attitudes and behavior in human beings requires to update our comments towards the concept of human nature. Sometimes, defining what “real” means can be challenging. People change, hence, our content should change accordingly

  2. I remember that posting of yours! I don’t think it’s being a language slob at all. Words and language (at least to me) are incredibly powerful and I really appreciate when someone retracts or restates something because the meaning was not conveyed as it should be. Bravo for helping me become more introspective on my blog as well. Even humor needs careful consideration in this regard.

  3. The people in our lives ARE worth more than a categorization. Unfortunately too many people forget that we really do have the power to choose who is a part of our life.

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