Unless used creatively, name-calling is not acceptable for cultured adults. As many people react emotionally to such behavior, the pretender gets away with murdering the truth about him or herself in the meantime. Name-calling is a fabulous distraction and a definite red flag.
6. Dropping Names
People who have nothing to say make sure others know who they know. It’s a popular way to make an impression, but if it happens often, you might just deal with a pretender.
7. Belittling Others
Pretenders belittle others to reinforce the hierarchy. While some nasty people take pleasure in condescension, which too is an unacceptable disgrace, a pretender resorts to such behavior when feeling threatened. Beware!
All people need to be acknowledged for their good actions, but pretenders must make up for the fact that good actions are few and far between. Self-praise makes up for it, especially when they:
What of a pretender is not exaggerated? Their behavior drips with grandiose assertions and ornamental embellishments. If they had gold, they would pour gold over their words.
10. Offering Little Substance
Pretenders do not know the details and complexities. If they did, they would not be pretenders.
11. Contradicting Themselves
Pretenders do not only tell lies, but they also embody them. They might say they are rational, but act erratically and instinctively. They do not display competence but talk about it all the time. They might demand loyalty while cheating. If it weren’t so harmful, it would be funny.
12. Little Time for Others
Pretenders have all the answers; questions would give them away. Many people lack the ability to listen—see also Listen to Me! But for the pretender, listening is a weakness, which must be avoided.
Timid pretenders exist, but most must aggressively defend the fantasy to keep up appearances. What better way to do so than to attack a person who might expose them? Hostility is also a way to distract from lacking the asset in question.
Also, when everything fails, the pretender projects his or her hostility onto the other. It is your job not to identify with the projection.
14. Disliking of Experts
The number one enemy of the pretender is the expert. A person dashing truly competent or blessed people may just be incompetent, feeling empty and devoid.
These clues are not meant to help judge others prematurely, but to notice patterns. To be happy, it is important to relate to people with an open and kind heart. But not to fantasies, especially when they are meant to make you feel inferior.
© 2019 Andrea F. Polard, PsyD. All Rights Reserved.
1) Andrea F. Polard (2012). A Unified Theory of Happiness: An East-Meets-West Approach to Fully Loving Your Life. Chapter Seven: Confidence, pp. 125-152.
Written By Andrea F. Polard Originally Appeared In Psychology Today