How to recognize and protect yourself from hypocritical people


Kevin Mangelschots

If there’s one common thing most people detest, it’s hypocritical people. And for good reason. People don’t like being lied to because it makes them feel disrespected, furthermore, it makes the liar untrustworthy to us and other people.

Yet, they often disguise themselves as being good and virtuous people.

That’s why you need to know how to recognize and protect yourself from hypocritical people

How to recognize hypocritical people

Not true to their word


Image of the words “walk the talk” written on a black background.

Hypocritical people are often not true to their word.

They will frequently say good, seemingly virtuous things in order to make them seem good and friendly. But in reality, they rarely execute said high and lofty ideals and ideas.

Don’t adhere to their own standards

One of the best ways to recognize hypocritical individuals is that their own standards seemingly don’t apply to themselves.

Insincere people are typically insecure people. As a result, they regularly have to boast about themselves.

An important question people can ask themselves in order to spot a hypocritical person is the following: “if you are truly confident and not ashamed of what you are saying/doing, then why do you feel the need to lie and deceive people?”

Ulterior motives

A person holding a question mark in front of their face.

Some people might be deceived when a phony does something good and virtuous for them or for another person. Because in their eyes, that person did so because they are nice and want to truly help that person.

In reality, however, they have an ulterior motive for lending a helping hand. It might be to improve their own status, or because they want to be perceived as being kind, or with the preconceived notion that they can start asking that person for favors somewhere in the near future.

They rarely show their true self

Important to remember is that we humans rarely tell our darkest, deepest secrets and our ulterior motives to everyone.

As such, we should expect that a lot of us might have some kind of secret agenda we are operating on, unknown to others.

How do we protect ourselves from a hypocritical person?

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Recognize the threat

The first thing we should always remember in order to protect ourselves from a hypocritical person is that we have to recognize the “threat” before we can undertake effective action to protect ourselves from harmful people.

Cut them out of your life/distance yourself

When we recognize a dishonest individual, or any other harmful person for that matter, the solution is rather simple. Cut them out of your life.

Although a simple and straight forward solution, this might be particularly hard if we previously considered that person dear and close to us.

Furthermore, they might say exactly the right things, the right words that you so desperately want to hear and which makes it even harder to cut them out of your life as a consequence.

But consider this, if they are being insincere, and thus, lying and being disrespectful to you, then do you really want such a person in your life?

A person that lies to other people, portrays the image of having high, virtuous standards only to betray his own and other people’s trust? Sometimes, it’s kill or be killed. And you should always preserve your own safety/health.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

What is hypocrisy?

Image of what a hypocrite means.

Hypocrisy can be defined as claiming to have higher standards and more virtuous qualities, principles, and religious and moral beliefs than is truly the case in reality.
It can also be considered the false pretense to be something what one does not believe him/herself to be. As a consequence, the resulting behavior contradicts the claims that person puts forward.

Why hypocritical people sometimes do good, virtuous things

Like already briefly mentioned before, hypocritical people sometimes do kind and virtuous things not out of the good of their heart, but rather out of ulterior motives that are far darker and self-serving than they would lead you to believe.

As already explained in a previous blog post, if you can’t figure out the reason, the intention for a particular exhibited behavior, look at the results, the consequences that behavior is leading to.

Chances are you’ll find out that there’s a whole variety of other reasons that person is acting in that particular way.

People often try to portray themselves in the best possible way to make them look better, more virtuous and superior to whom they are in reality.

Why is being a hypocritical person bad

The word “why” written multiple times on a blue background with question marks surrounding it.

Breaks relationships

We often interact with others over a long period of time. Meaning, we have to establish and maintain a relationship of mutual respect that survives the test of time.

Betrays trust

In other words, being a hypocritical person is bad because if one is untrue to their word, the other parties’ trust is effectively betrayed.

When that person finds out, it’s now suddenly very difficult if not, impossible to trust the hypocritical person because: “well, you lied to me once, how do I know you haven’t lied to me about other things in the past or will continue to lie about things in the future?”

Furthermore, the popular quote: “Be the change you want to see in the world” is particularly true in this case as well. Ultimately, the only person we truly have control over is ourselves. And even then, it’s still ridiculously hard to change and better ourselves. We can only try to inspire other people to improve, but we can’t force them. No matter how much we sometimes desire to.

The only thing we can do is treat other people like we would like to be treated ourselves. As long as we do that, even if we happen to make a mistake or change our mindset in the future about something or things we did in the past, we’ll have peace of mind. That’s because we did it with the best possible intentions.

Example of a hypocrite

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A good example of a hypocrite might be someone who is constantly saying that our environment is getting polluted by our own careless human behavior. The insincere person in question detests other people who throw away their garbage without sorting and are against using airplanes because of their emissions.

However, that same person who holds other people to that high standard doesn’t do it him/herself. They pollute the environment due to littering, use airplanes to travel despite berating other people for using it as a means of transport, and refuse to sort their garbage properly.

So, in other words, this example of an individual that’s dishonest shows that the hypocrite in question doesn’t uphold the same standards and values that he/she places and expects of other people.

Another word for hypocrite

Another word for hypocrite can be one of the following list:

  • Phony
  • Bigot
  • Charlatan
  • Crook
  • Imposter
  • Trickster


Image of the word, “conclusions” written on a black backboard with white chalk.

Hopefully this post gave a bit of useful information about how to recognize and protect yourself from hypocritical people

They’re not fun to be around. They are liars and are disrespectful to other people as a result of not upholding the standards themselves that they impose on other people.

The worst kind of pretenders are those who are aware that they are being dishonest, but do it anyway. If they are unaware of their lies and deceits, which is sometimes possible, then a case for forgiveness could be made because “they don’t know any better.”

If you spot such a deceitful person, or multiple deceitful people in your life, then my best advice would be to stay clear of them. You can try to change them, but ultimately, that is not your concern, and only they decide if they want to change in the end.