How to Handle Hypocrites at Work

A few ways you can handle hypocrisy among colleagues.

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Andrew G.R.

At some point or another, we all go back on something we've said.  Does that makes us "bad" people?  No.  But it does make us hypocrites. A hypocrite, according to Webster's Dictionary, is a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings.


I've always had a hard time with hypocrites.  Perhaps it's because I hold myself to a ridiculously unachievable standard.  Whatever the case, I know I'm not the only one gets ticked off when people go back on their word and step all over a previous sentiment.  Just glance around the office and I'm sure you'll see plenty of offenders.

Take Joan, for example. She always got along with her cubemate Tammy.  But last month they started to experience a lot of tension. Joan ended up distancing herself a bit and started having lunch with Margaret. One random day, Joan and Tammy met up accidentally in the office cafeteria and exchanged a few laughs. At the time, Margaret happened to be strolling by. She was mad! After all of the smack Joan had talked about Tammy, how could she laugh with her and just "let it all slide?"

Now Margaret thinks Joan is a hypocrite and is distancing herself.

This minor example probably sounds familiar.  Human nature has given us the innate desire to want and expect the truth. If someone doesn't put an end to the cycle, we'll all be distancing ourselves from one another! Rather then write others off as bad people, let's see what we can do to deal with the office hypocrite.

You do it too: Don't judge too harshly, as there will be times in your life you change your mind on something you once said.  Not only is life a long and unexpected journey, but it is your right to change your mind.  These are your feelings and you are entitled to them, no matter what they are.

Call them out: No one likes being called a hypocrite, so be sure to have well thought-out evidence as to why their actions upset you.  There is a possibility the person doesn't realize how foolish it looks until they hear an outsider's perspective. Urge Compassion:  When someone is chewing your ear off about how so and so is a hypocrite, remind them that gossiping about it benefits no one. Why relive the annoyance of other people's actions?

Ice them out: If the person gets under your skin in an extreme way you can always choose not to socialize with them. This tactic is not recommended, but you need to do what is best for you.  Do not allow yourself to get too wrapped up in the affairs of others.

Worry about yourself:  If they want to be hypocritical, they will have to live with the consequences.

So am I alone, or are you surrounded by hypocrites too? After holding down various media jobs, including stops at MTV Networks and Fox News, Andrew G.R. was completely discouraged—not only about his own career but also about the lack of job resources that truly spoke to him. Enter Jobacle, the employment blog and podcast designed to Make Work Better.

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