You're Letting Your Hypocritical Friends Walk All Over You
Thankfully, they don't do it subtly.
I'm the survivor of a hypocritical friendship.
I got out of the friendship before I too turned into someone I didn't like or couldn't respect. And I exited once all my faith this person cared about had vanished beyond return.
The problem with hypocritical professionals, I so torturously found out, is they are very good at being hypocrites. It's like they've taken some course on how to say one thing and do another.
They're so damn good at it sometimes, they have even the savviest of people readers completely fooled.
I once thought I was good at reading people by the way, but my ex-best friend put my skills to the test in the worst possible way. It's never nice being the guinea pig in this situation.
I've always said no one could break my heart more than she has. With every fibre of my being, I cared so much for her.
Yet, she made sure, through her series of hypocritical actions, to make sure I could never fully invest in a friendship like hers ever again. Thanks for that, Julie (my ex-BFF's name).
What this failed relationship taught me was everything I can warn you about hypocrites that they think, and often are, getting away with.
I hope it saves you from the heartache I felt.
Let's establish the primary quality of hypocrites
To spot a hypocrite, you need to understand their one goal in life. It's to take and never to return.
Hypocrites are emotional hoarders. They store up everything they need from people with zero intention of giving it back.
They keep score, they keep making sure the balance of friendship power is on their side. Hypocrites are always working at keeping the relationship uneven.
Hypocrites have a payroll, and you're on it.
1. They ask for things they're incapable of delivering
In my books, relationships don't have rules. Hypocrites seem to believe the opposite. They have rules for how you're meant to behave and for what is acceptable in your friendship.
They demand you meet the rules but harbour zero intentions of doing the same in return for you.
It's the definition of being a hypocrite, not playing by the rules you expect everyone else to follow. But in friendships, more so than romantic relationships and everyday life, hypocrites turn the volume up on these rules.
Here are the most common rules they set they have no intention of keeping:
- You can't cry - But they can shed a tear at any given moment. Julie's sensitivity infuriated most of the people around us, but I felt like it made her more real to talk to. Sometimes it was like being on an emotional rollercoaster. Yet when she was up, we all had to be up. When she was down, blacked out in the nightclub bathrooms, sobbing, we had to be there. Reverse the roles and she was nowhere to be seen.
- You can't vent - But they're allowed to express their frustrations. I got sacked from my job and didn't know how I would pay my bills. Julie didn't care and told me straight away to stop talking about it. Yet, she didn't make it into her dream course at university and spent a week at my house, unable to reconcile her future.
- You can't have a problem - But they're allowed to go through hard times in their life. When Julie's grandfather passed away, I rallied around her. Two years later, her grandmother died, I annoyed my then-boss by insisting I attend the funeral. When I needed my gall bladder removed, she wasn't anywhere. When I was suffering from an eating disorder as a result of my lacking organ, she told me I was too hard to be friends with.
2. They keep tabs on your attendance
If hypocrites were professional people in your life, they would be your teacher. Because they always keep an attendance sheet of when you were there and when you weren't.
Not at work by the way, or any setting where having your attendance is part of doing your job or attending school.
No, this is social attendance.
Why do they do this? It's another way they keep the balance of power in their favour.
They can use your lack of being there against you, to ensure you look like the bad person in the situation. It's easier for them to take if it shows you never return. Demonstrating you're not there is evidence of you not returning.
Here's how it will feel for you / what to look out for:
- They keep bringing up the times you weren't there - Every time you see them, they tell a story that reminds you of a time you missed.
- They keep "forgetting" all the time you were there - They tell people you weren't at an event when you were.
- You will feel like you haven't been there for them even when you know you have - The emotion and facts won't meet.
- You find yourself deliberately avoiding seeing them because you always feel like you're having your efforts and attendance tallied - You start to feel a pang of resentment and retaliation, and you might not know why at first.
- You find out it's not the only thing they're keeping tabs on - They tally when you didn't return a phone call, text message, an email, etc. They always know what you're doing more than what you do.
- They keep tabs on your behaviour - They know how many times you've made a mistake, annoyed a friend, or committed a relationship crime.
Julie knew everything about me and loved to make sure I knew my attendance record. Poor.
If she could give me a grade, it would be a D+, needs vast improvement to stay in the friendship.
The worst is when she spoke for someone else, a mutual friend, and my attendance at this friend's engagement party. "Sarah is so upset you didn't make it to her party."
I never told Sarah I could attend the party as I had clashing events. Sarah never said this to my face, so taking her feelings with a grain of salt.
And what about what I was doing? Does that not matter?
3. The voices on the street don't meet up
Let's be realistic about our friendships; everyone talks about everyone. There are no angels and demons in this scenario.
If anyone ever tells you they never speak about their friends outside of their direct communication with said friend, they are lying.
It's not always bad things either. It can be telling positive things about them, or things only they should know.
This doesn't mean everyone is a hypocrite. We need to establish this. That's not what you should worry about.
Hypocrites talk a little more than your average friend. When they speak with others, they don't talk a lot about the general world. They hone in on the specifics of the people they know.
It's like they're professional friends; if this was an episode of Mastermind, their friendships would be their special subject.
What they say about their friends isn't always nice but it isn't always mean either. That can be the part that blinds other people to their hypocritical ways.
Sometimes, it can seem like storytelling. What's so wrong with that?
For you though, what they say about your friendship is almost always the opposite of what you know to be true of your friendship with them.
Here's how to spot this trait in your hypocritical friend:
- You always have rumours about you - You wonder if you're a celebrity because your friends and family seem to know so much about you. Some of it is right, most is wrong, as rumours tend to be. I'm not saying they are the ones spreading the rumour, but they aren't exactly stopping them, either.
- Your friend doesn't clarify rumours about you - They know the rumour isn't true, being so close to you, but they don't tell the truth. They let the wrong information spread.
- Your friend doesn't stick up for you in social circles when they know better - When you're in need of a friend to stand by you in social settings, they don't. They let you get emotionally attacked, encouraging it with their silence.
- People know things before you tell them - You go to tell one of your friends a story about you but your friend already knows the story. Or something about the story. It indicates someone is speaking on your behalf.
- People don't know the full story - And if the friend knows the story, what they know is wrong. It's missing crucial elements that explain your emotions, your point of view or what really happened.
When hypocrites are about to exit
Hypocritical friends can stick with you for a lifetime. If you keep the imbalance as it is, they will always be there. They have no qualms as long as the balance of power is on their side.
But most people reach a moment in their life when they become takers rather than givers. They need more from people than they can give it out.
It's not a permanent switch. The following are scenarios when people can't give as much as they take:
- When someone is really sick and need help from others to get better/get to appointments/recover
- When someone dies and they're dealing with everything that comes with grief
- When someone is experiencing a break-up/divorce/emotional love rollercoaster
- When someone has a newborn and their time is now shortened as they become accustomed to their new situation.
These are normal, almost predictable life occurrences that happen. Most mature people understand when this happens the balance in a friendship can change. It's not a bad thing.
But when this happens to a hypocritical friend, when they have to relent and give a little to you, it feels like they've sacrificed everything to help you.
When this happens, your hypocritical friend will often:
- Become absent in your life when you need them most - They're not idiots, by the way. They know you're hurting. You've said it in a million different ways and you're not acting yourself, and they keep their distance from you.
- Stand you up - They make plans but fail to show. It causes you frustration, which is retaliation for what you've done to them.
- Find reasons to pick a fight with you - They're annoyed and they will do anything to 'scream and yell' at you.
- Bring up old beef between you - If they don't have anything to argue about with you, they will dig something up from the past.
- Become evasive and defensive when you call them out - They possess zero recognition of their behaviour.
- Cut you off - Ghosting is very much in the hypocrite's wheelhouse.
What hypocrites respond to / how to catch a hypocrite
Ok, so you could do the following things to catch a hypocrite. You could:
- Keep your own attendance record
- Spread rumours about them
- Become absent when they need you most
But do you really want to indulge in hypocritical behaviour?
Hypocrites don't care about you. They don't love you as you love them.
They don't want the best for you, unlike the way you want the best for them. They couldn't care about losing your friendship. They're fine to throw it away.
And that's what happened to me and Julie. She, in the most hurtful and hypocritical manner, told me she was ending the friendship because I was too hard to be friends with.
Too. Hard. Like relationships were meant to be easy.
But that's what hypocrites ultimately believe. Relationships should be for them. That's the imbalance they seek.
In my scorned and biased opinion, hypocritical relationships aren't worth holding onto or fixing.
You can't take this belief about other people away from hypocrites. They need to find a way to resolve their imbalanced approach to relationships for themselves.
Yet, this is your life and your relationships. If you want to stay, go for it. But remember your worth. Don't put up with people that make you feel like you're never enough.
Because you are enough.
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