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Hypocrite - this concept has a very negative connotation, but do we really know what is behind it? Who do we call a hypocrite, and how is hypocrisy manifested? What conditions must be "met" in order to hear such a term in relation to oneself? Read who a hypocrite is and get the definition of hypocrisy!

Who is a hypocrite? Definition of hypocrisy

Hypocriteis a term that derives from the Greek language, in which "hypokrisis" means "to pretend". It is on pretending that hypocrisy is built.

In a hypocrite there is a discrepancy between the moral principles he proclaims, and obeying them in his own life. On the other hand, the hypocrite often acts like a flag in the wind - which way the wind blows, it will direct the hypocrite.

Such a person adjusts the theses he proclaims and his behavior to what the recipient expects from him. As a consequence, different people may think of the hypocrite that they are both a believer and an atheist, someone with right or left views, a movie buff, or a person who only reads books. The hypocrite acts in his own good interest: he wants to be liked and recognized as likeable, virtuous, noble. He doesn't work against some person, but for himself.

Common attitudes of a hypocrite

A hypocrite is a person who openly proclaims specific moral principles and breaks them at the same time.

Research by scientists from Yale University1proves that we don't like hypocrites not because they break certain moral principles, but for saying otherwise - for misrepresenting oneself in a better light than other people.

Researchers from Yale presented to the participants of the study the history of a man who appeared to be very environmentally friendly at work: he turned off unnecessary lights, disconnected devices from the power supply before leaving work, and wrote down data on both sides of the sheet so as not to waste paper.

It turned out, however, that he behaves completely differently in his home and that he is not that energy-saving at all. The people taking part in the experiment condemned the hero of this story not for the lack of concern for the environment, but for giving false signals to them, and turned out to be duplicitous.

This behavior is one of the main onessignals by which we recognize hypocrisy: a person is proclaiming a moral principle, and when those to whom it is introduced cannot see it, he or she does something else. For example, although he claims that he often plays sports, visits his sick grandmother in the hospital, works for a charity, the reality is completely different.

Other studies show, however, that although we often want to condemn hypocrisy in others, in fact many of us sometimes act like a hypocrite - and certainly when issues such as abortion, contraception, religion, addictions come to the fore, way of life.

Research by scientists from the University of Arizona2proved that in these situations we preach different moral principles than those we follow, because this type of conversation makes us feel uncomfortable, we prefer withdraw, not debate, especially if most of our interlocutors have different views. Such behavior, however, is not equivalent to the daily activities of the hypocrite in many areas.

Read also: Persuasion: what is it and what are the techniques of persuasion? Persuasion and manipulation

A hypocrite instructs others on points he himself does not follow

Hypocrite is not always good enough to present yourself in a good light, he may begin to criticize others for their life choices, although he does the same. For example, a hypocrite condemns his friend for divorcing his wife, and cheats on his own.

He claims that people who do not go to church should not be able to baptize a child, and he makes such efforts, although he has not visited this place for a long time or he does not like that someone wants to send his child to a private school, and he himself has a similar intention.

It is worth adding, however, that even when a hypocrite criticizes, his goal is to present himself in a better light, and not to harm the other person.

Read also: Manipulation methods - 5 techniques of influencing people

The hypocrite is always innocent

"It's not my fault" - such words can often be heard from the lips of a hypocrite. Even if he is caught spewing contradictory theories, he will stifle that he is morally superior after all.

When he tells one person that he will not visit a specific country because of the dangers lurking there, and in a conversation with another he says that he was there recently and that the expedition was very successful, he will claim that there are no contradictions in these sentences and while you wait will come up with some excuses.

A hypocrite may criticize divorced people, but when he is in a relationship with a married woman or a married man, he will excuse himself that "it is the will of both of them, notharm no one like divorced people "etc.

The hypocrite does not admit guilt or ignorance, ignoring reality and hard evidence to contradict what he is saying. He spends more time justifying his behavior than trying to improve it. If someone has accusations against a hypocrite, in his opinion, he is simply picking on because he has nothing to complain about.

The hypocrite feels moral superiority over others

Or at least that's what it looks like. A hypocritical person addresses others in a manner similar to the way a parent expresses his words to a child. When you talk to a hypocrite, you feel dumber, less emotionally mature, unread and insufficiently informed about the world. The hypocrite tries to treat your opinions and views as irrational, funny, unconfirmed.

Read also: Facial expressions - what can be read from the eyes, mouth, nose and forehead

The hypocrite loves gossip

How is hypocrisy? Also the fact that the hypocrite likes to know what is happening in his extended family, circle of friends and acquaintances, at his co-workers. She is the first person willing to comment on major changes in someone's life, and often functions as a person who knows a lot about what is going on in others and likes to talk about it.

Gossip, but also real stories, the hypocrite may later cite as arguments in his defense ("you accuse me of this and that, and then and then you did something") or to support some of your theses in the discussion.

Worth knowing

What are the benefits of hypocrisy?

Being a hypocrite is assessed as morally negative, but a hypocrite is so for a reason. So why is he doing this? First of all, for the so-called peace of mind - the hypocrite tells others what they want to hear, adjusts his actions to the other person to achieve his goal. He does not enter into open conflicts, avoids confrontation, so he lives a more comfortable life than others on a daily basis.

The hypocrite is liked by others who, due to the fact that he creates a stronghold of moral principles, see him as an example from imitation. Thanks to his "flexibility", a hypocrite can also achieve success at work - he is liked by the bosses with whom he always agrees (or so he claims). On the other hand, it may not be appreciated by superiors who value creativity and their own opinion.

A hypocrite often achieves success thanks to his duplicity. It is easy to notice in politics - very often we catch many politicians in hypocrisy, but before that happens, they will gain a lot of popularity. When the truth later comes out, the politician, instead of explaining himself, even morestrengthens his position and tries to diminish the other person in the eyes of others.


  1. Access to research at:
  2. Access to information about the study at:

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