Hypocritical people can be infuriating and frustrating to deal with, especially when they criticize the way you conduct your life!
Few people want to be told what to do or how to do it. And even fewer than that want to be told what to do by someone who doesn’t practice what they preach. It’s hard to look at that person as someone trustworthy or speaking with your well-being in mind.
However, sometimes a person you perceive as being a hypocrite may have a streak of truth in what they have to say. The truth is that there is not a single person on this planet who can completely and totally act in line with their personal beliefs.
In fact, there may be times when that actually isn’t the right thing to do!
Consider a leader, like a politician. They may not personally believe in a particular ideal, but still, they follow through with that ideal because it’s what their constituents want.
On the one hand, people can point at that politician and call them a hypocrite because they are, in that situation. On the other hand, they’re also acting in a way that is consistent with democracy. Their job isn’t to do what they personally feel is best. Their job is to uphold the will of the voters.
Of course, life doesn’t always work out that way, but it’s not so easy to simply say hypocrites are always bad. They’re not. Sometimes they are doing or saying what they feel is best, regardless of their own personal experiences and beliefs.
How you handle a hypocrite will depend on what kind of influence they are having in your life. Here are some key pieces of advice.
1. Listen to what they have to say.
Be open-minded and listen to what the person has to say. You may not agree with it, but you can take the time to hear what they have to say to see whether or not they have any useful insights into your situation.
Maybe they do, maybe they don’t. Either way, you won’t know unless you take a few minutes to hear what they have to say.
2. Determine the intent behind the words.
The intent behind the words is important. Consider a long-time alcoholic sitting down to tell you that you really need to consider getting sober now instead of waiting until your life falls apart.
He may be able to tell you in-depth how alcohol has ruined his life, cost him his marriage, a relationship with his kids, and jobs, all the while polishing off a can of beer.
Is that man a hypocrite? Yes.
Is he wrong? No.
The truth of the matter is that it is difficult to get sober, and he may have tried several times. That advice is solid, even though it’s coming from someone who isn’t practicing what he preaches. The intent behind his words is to save you the suffering of his life.
On the other hand, maybe you have a judgmental parent who is quick to say how wrong you live your life. They may know you as your parent, but they may not necessarily have your best interests in mind if they aren’t a healthy person.
Maybe they’re trying to coerce you down a path they want you on or that they think applies to you, rather than what is actually best for you. The parent may not know you well enough as an adult to make that kind of judgment call.
Intent matters behind the advice that a person gives.
3. Consider whether or not they have a valid point.
How valid is their criticism? Is it something that might help you? Does it not fit you or your life at all?
If the point is valid and the person isn’t trying to harm you with their advice, it might help to have a conversation with them to figure out where they’re coming from. Their experience or knowledge may be something that you need in order to get through a situation in your own life.
If they genuinely care about you and your well-being, this should be an okay conversation to have, and they will likely want to talk it out with you further. Approach the conversation from a neutral stance to best facilitate communication.
But maybe they don’t have a valid point. Maybe they’re just talking because they like to gossip or tell other people what to do with their life. In which case, continue with step 4.
4. Set a firm boundary.
You’ll need to set a firm boundary without throwing gasoline on the flames of an argument. Do not approach the person with anger, or you will end up in an easily avoidable conflict.
Instead, inform them that you’ve heard what they have to say, but you don’t agree, and their suggestion is not what you want to do. You’re not open to discussing it further and want the subject to be dropped.
This should be enough if they are a reasonable person and generally care about you. If they’re not, then you’re just going to have to take things further and implement step 5.
5. Reduce contact and ignore their advice.
Simply put, you can’t control the actions of other people. The only thing you can really do with that situation is not to get involved.
If they insist on criticizing you and your life, then you’ll just need to reduce contact with the person and let their advice slide off your back.
Confronting and arguing with the person is rarely a good idea. That usually just causes the person to dig in and defend themselves harder. In many cases, it’s a pointless waste of time and just an easy way for you to blow a lot of emotional energy for no real gain.
Dealing with a hypocrite is frustrating, but you can’t really control their thoughts or what they choose to do. All you get to control is how you respond to it.
Don’t waste your anger on it. If anything, be bored with it. Just shrug and say, “Yeah, whatever.” And then get on with your life. You don’t have to care what the hypocrite in your life thinks about you.
You may also like:
- How To Stop Being A Hypocrite: 6 Highly Effective Tips
- How To Handle Constructive Criticism And Be Receptive To Feedback
- How To Deal With Emotionally Unintelligent People
- How To Deal With Arrogant People: 7 No Bullsh*t Tips!
- 9 No Bullsh*t Ways To Deal With The Know-it-alls In Your Life