We are surrounded by hypocrites and by people who tell others what to do and how to behave, but who do not do the same.
The worst thing about them is that we encounter them in all walks of life, from parents and teachers to politicians and policy makers.
During the lockdowns we could see some of the worst examples of this hypocrisy. When most people couldn’t even leave their homes, hypocritical politicians organized lavish parties.
But people who don’t practice what they preach are often easy to spot because they use certain expressions that expose their hypocrisy.
So let’s dive in and find out what they are.
1) “I had no choice”
When someone says this, he is trying to avoid responsibility for something that contradicts his usual position.
It can be as innocent as, “I know I said no more late night snacks, but I had no choice. The cookies were calling my name.”
But it can also be used to justify things that are clearly harmful and even against the law.
For example, many people explain their corruption by saying that if they hadn’t taken the money, someone else would have taken the loot anyway, so it might as well have been them.
Does this fool anyone? Of course not. It’s just mental gymnastics that helps them act immorally.
And don’t be surprised if they act holier than thou in your presence.
2) “Times have changed”
Times are always changing, but for some they change when the wind blows. That is why people who do not practice what they preach, when caught red-handed, will simply mutter that times have changed and think that justifies their behavior.
This is a simple excuse to change their behavior or beliefs. It’s like saying, “I used to say no to junk food, but now I say times have changed and I’m indulging.”
They also fail to see how this relates to other things they preach, which is why they continue to sit on their moral high horse and tell others what is right and wrong.
3) “You have to be flexible”
This is a way of saying that it’s okay to bend the rules, even though they usually preach strict obedience.
It’s like someone advocating for a budget, but then saying, “You need to be flexible” when spending too much money.
Like many other phrases on this list, they won’t say them unless they’re caught red-handed.
Until then, they will not turn a blind eye and will continue to do what they want, even if it goes against what they preach to others.
4) “Next time I will do better”
This is a promise to improve, but it’s often said when someone realizes they haven’t followed their own advice.
Once again, a preacher has been caught with his hand in the cookie jar, and now that he’s faced with the consequences, he’s vowing not to do it again.
But can you really trust them in the future? It depends. Many people have a complete lack of control over their actionsyet they will tell you what, when and how to do without seeing the irony.
5) “It’s complicated”
Life is complicated, right? We all know that. That’s one of the reasons I don’t like telling people what to do, especially if I don’t know what their situation is like.
I can recommend or tell you something I would do in their shoes, but that’s it.
But when someone says, “It’s complicated,” he’s trying to make an excuse for doing something he normally advises against.
It’s like saying, “I know I’ve always said you have to be on time, but this time it’s complicated.”
6) “I am an exception”
Too many people think they can do whatever they want, regardless of how their actions harm others.
Again, they will tell you what to do and even get angry if you don’t listen to their often bad advice.
When they claim that they are the exception, but that you still have to do something, they are claiming that their situation is special and that the usual rules do not apply to them.
It’s like someone preaching about saving money, but then saying, ‘I’m an exception; I had to spend money on this.”
Or when your doctor tells you to quit smoking, but you see him outside doing just that.
7) “You don’t understand my situation”
This is an attempt to justify actions by suggesting that their circumstances are so unique that others would not understand.
It’s like saying, ‘I know I said no more shopping, but you don’t understand my situation; I needed those shoes.”
But the thing is, they have no problem telling you what to do even if they don’t fully understand your situation, right?
I’ve learned that many people like to stick their nose where it shouldn’t be. They simply think they have more knowledge than you about everything.
And while wisdom is great and you should listen to wise people, remember that not everyone older than you is wise or even wiser than you.
8) “I was just kidding”
This is a way of taking back something they said or did that contradicts their usual perspective.
It’s like someone advocating for kindness, but then makes a snide comment and says, “I was just kidding.”
For many people who don’t practice what they preach, it’s their get-out-of-jail-free card. They think that by saying this they will be excused.
But that is of course not the case. Or at least it shouldn’t be.
9) “Don’t judge me”
When someone says this, he is trying to avoid criticism for not following his own advice.
It seems that people who preach to others fail to realize that everyone is different and that things that work for them may not work for others.
They will also not hesitate to judge others for even the smallest things that they think you have done wrong.
I have heard people ask others not to judge them after they have done something that was downright harmful to their relationship, children, family, etc.
I see this as a paparazzi asking for privacy when all they’re doing is harassing others and taking pictures.
10) “You gotta do what you gotta do”
This argues for practicalities over principles. Imagine if a student who emphasizes academic honesty is caught cheating on a test.
They then say to you, “I know I said always do your own work, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do to succeed.”
That’s practical, but terrible.
From that point on, you can’t trust anything they say or do because you now know that they will justify their egregious behavior in any way they want.
11) “I changed my mind”
I have no problem with people changing their minds. I mean, I do it regularly, and I’m pretty sure you do too.
In fact, it would be stupid not to change your mind about something as soon as you get new information about it.
But if you change your mind back and forth or use it to justify harmful behavior, you are a hypocrite.
12) “Life is too short”
Life really is incredibly short, but this expression is used to justify doing something fun, even if it goes against their usual principles.
It’s like someone preaching about saving money, but then saying, ‘Life is too short; I treated myself to a Mercedes.”
What can you say to that person if, for example, he or she keeps telling you not to eat avocado toast or drink Starbucks?
There is no other option than to summon them.
I wanted to add a few more sentences like, “Do as I say, not as I do,” “I have my reasons,” or “It’s not the right time,” but I think you get the point.
People who like to preach to others are extremely annoying because you just know that they themselves are not not doing what they tell others to do.
Too often, authority figures have been caught red-handed doing egregious things while ordering others to do the exact opposite.
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