If you recognize these 11 signs, you’re dealing with a high-level hypocrite

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By definition, a hypocrite is someone who professes to have morals or principles that they don’t actually have.

So, if you know anyone who says one thing but does another, likes to make the rules without playing by them, and lives two separate lives publicly and privately, you may be dealing with a high-level hypocrite. 

Dishonesty is the hallmark of a hypocrite. They are such accomplished liars that they even lie to themselves successfully.

Sometimes people are unwittingly two-faced, but in most cases they’re perfectly aware of what they’re doing, which is manipulating the truth to deflect from embarrassment or compensate for faulty reasoning. 

Ring any bells? Like me, I’m sure you’ve dealt with your fair share of hypocrites. 

Anyway you slice it, hypocrites are fully cognizant of the truth but they fear revealing it could have negative repercussions so they defer to misleading people instead.

1) They are massive suck-ups

Hypocrites just love to suck up to those in authority. It’s enough to trigger your gag reflex. Odds are you’ve run into this phenomenon at work one time or another. 

You know the type. The same coworker who couldn’t be nicer to the boss is quick to look down their nose at anyone lower on the totem pole. 

A sincere person acts respectful and kind to everyone no matter their position or what they can do for them.

2) They’re self-absorbed and self-serving 

A hypocritical person’s first priority is always themselves. If they sense they could benefit from a situation, they’ll rush to the “rescue” fully expecting to be compensated one way or another.

Honest people help others because they have a real desire to. They don’t expect to get paid back or receive accolades. Instead, sincere folks find gratification helping out others in need.

Hypocrites always, and I mean always, have an ulterior motive.

3) Toot their own horn

When my Gram encountered a braggy blowhard, she always remarked that they loved to “toot their own horn,” and I think that’s a perfect description of what a hypocrite does. 

Do you know someone who brags all the time? Despite their outward show of bravado, this behavior stems from low self-esteem. The high-level hypocrite is working hard to project a fake image of themselves to impress others. 

Because hypocrites don’t have a core belief system of their own, their achievements mean nothing unless they garner the approval of others. 

People who are sincere don’t feel the need to boast about their successes. They don’t crave outside validation because their own approval is enough. 

4) Do as I say, not as I do

Hypocrites struggle with practicing what they preach. For them, it’s not about what they actually do, but rather what other people think they do.

For example, I have a friend who’s very vocal about their vegan philosophy and lifestyle. It’s a noble choice if you actually walk the walk. 

But my vegan friend takes several prescription medications that have been tested on animals. This doesn’t fit their chosen narrative so they live in denial about it.

5) A victim complex

A hypocrite’s bad behavior almost always has a sob story behind it. They’re jerky because of their upbringing or bad luck with relationships, not because of anything they may be lacking personally.

They profess to hate drama but somehow incite more needless drama than a red carpet catfight.

They loudly denounce excessive negativity while flinging bad vibes in every direction. 

It’s the very essence of hypocrisy. 

6) Gossip galore

I’m sure you know the type. This is someone who’ll be sweet as pie to your face but eviscerate you once your back is turned. The term “snake in the grass” springs to mind.

Research shows that people who like to gossip are generally unhappy with their lives and suffer with anxiety. 

So hypocrites gossip for the false sense of superiority. They have no problem tearing others down to lift themselves up, even if it’s only temporarily. 

7) All talk, zero action

Hypocrites love to over-hype and under-deliver. They’re full of promises, but usually they have no intention of following through. 

Or maybe they did intend to act before they realized how badly it would inconvenience them, so they blew you off instead of keeping their word. 

Remember, hypocrites are notoriously short on empathy and always put themselves first. 

On the other hand, a genuinely caring person understands the importance of a promise. They can put themselves in someone else’s shoes even if that means putting their own needs on the back burner.

8) Extreme attention seeking

If a hypocrite receives an accolade, you can bet the farm they’ll make sure everyone in a 100-mile radius knows about it.

This is because hypocrites crave attention and validation from others because they haven’t learned how to cultivate it for themselves. 

You see this behavior on social media all the time. You know what I mean – those “perfect” people showing off their IG-ready “perfect” lives, causing your eyes to involuntarily roll so far back in your head that you can see behind you.

It’s almost a given that behind every wanna-be influencer is someone who lacks all the self-assuredness they profess to possess.   

9) Expert table turner

High-level hypocrites wrote the book on deflection. Many of them have elevated the tactic to an art form.

For example, their incessant lying isn’t the issue. It’s all your fault for being petty by having the audacity to point out their lie. 

They’ll also be quick to remind you of your own past mistakes, hoping to prove that their dishonesty is nothing compared to whatever it is you did. Anything is better than having to own their bad behavior. 

10) A need to impress others 

There’s nothing inherently wrong with wanting to impress others. It’s a normal human urge. Problems begin when this is a way of life and not the occasional desire for validation.  

Hypocrites focus so much on what other people think that they lose touch with their own belief system. 

Their constant need for external approval fuels the hypocrite and all that they do. 

11) They’re hypercritical 

Hypocritical people are usually insecure people. They lack the self-confidence to sincerely compliment others. Instead, they’ll insult or demean anyone who threatens their already shaky self-esteem.  

These are the folks who will fall all over themselves gushing about your new hairstyle only to turn around and wonder aloud if you did it yourself in a dark room using a bowl and a steak knife.

Once you’re out of earshot, that is.

People who are genuine are confident enough in themselves that they can sincerely praise others without feeling it takes away from them.  

Final thoughts

None of us are perfect. We all have been hypocritical at one point or another. The problem is when hypocrisy is your main character trait and not the occasional aberration.

Hopefully this list will provide some insight into high-level hypocrites and how to recognize them. 

Kathleen Padden

Kathy Copeland Padden lives in a New England forest paradise with her cats, kid, and trusty laptop. She has been writing since age 8 and is such a pack rat she can back that up with physical evidence. Music is her solace and words are her drug, so her house is strewn with records and books. Watch your step.

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