Two-faced people are more common than you might realize, and learning how to manage your relationships with them can be tricky.
Taking into consideration the nature of your relationship, you may consider moving on from it all together. When that does not feel like a viable option, what are you left with?
Do not allow yourself to believe that your only option is to ignore the behavior and settle for it simply because of who the person is. It is quite impossible to remain silent and smile through conflict, not to mention that it can take a strong toll on your own mental health.
Choosing your words and actions carefully is a smart strategy because it is also assumed that there is a slight breakdown in trust between you and the people you are dealing with.
Remind yourself that their behavior belongs to them and that all you can manage is your side of the conflict. Such people are typically low in emotional intelligence.
They lack the capacity to have the introspection needed to meet you halfway, but that does not mean that you should carry their load.
Two-faced people struggle to use the mirror. Essentially, this means that there is an inability to come to terms with the suggestion that they might be the source of their own issue.
Unfortunately, when someone has two faces, they are committed to that role, even when they do not realize it. They use a chameleon-like mentality to deal with each situation that occurs.
Understand the Meaning and Cause
Let’s take a deep dive into what it exactly means to be a two-faced person. If a person has two faces, it means that they act and speak in an inauthentic manner, dependent upon their audience.
In some cases, this is done to gain the approval or allegiance of the audience. While in other cases, it can be a result of a self-esteem issue within the person, where their self-worth prevents them from being able to behave and speak in a manner that is rooted in truth.
Self-esteem and Self-identity
When someone struggles with their own self-identity, this can often lead to a life of bad qualities, even unintentionally.
Showing these types of people empathy for their own inner struggles is a sign of strength on your end, but again, do not allow that to manifest itself into accepting behavior from them that compromises your own integrity.
Be aware as well that it is not your job to diagnose or treat someone else’s issue. Rather, learn what that means for how you will troubleshoot the relationship you hold with them.
People who lack the courage to be their true selves often default to the behaviors of a two-faced person. This can occur in both personal and professional settings.
Sometimes, people are too intimidated by a superior to stand up for their version of the truth at work. They are opting instead for words and actions that they know will appease their boss.
This is a great example of why people are commonly encouraged to keep relationships with a colleague at work to a surface level. Even if your coworker is also your best friend, a distinct separation is often in your best interest.
While we are all accountable for our own behaviors, words, and actions, in some cases, we are led to these choices by an outside source. People who have relationship trust issues, and are in general highly guarded, tend to allow that to influence how they interact with most people.
A lack of trust can provoke people to simply agree, smile, and nod through conversations even though they hold a different opinion or have communicated alternate feelings to a different party. While this type of person firmly believes they are being careful, they are actually being two-faced.
Spot the Signs of Two Faced People
Sometimes you will find out about two-faced people through the grapevine, but other times you will have to learn how to pinpoint these people yourself.
A person will never admit that they are two-faced, so you need to learn to trust your gut.
Here are a few key indicators that someone in your circle might be working as a double agent:
- Gossiping: If they gossip about other people in front of you, they will more than likely also gossip about you. It is incredibly rare for a leopard to change its spots, so take note if someone is engaging in negative gossip about someone else with you.
- Disrespect: If they disrespect your time and point of view. People who have no regard for the rest of the world in terms of people’s time and personal lives are examples of people who play both sides of the fence.
- Jealousy: This selfish trait is directly in line with two-faced people. Knocking someone else down in their absence to win affections from their current audience is textbook.
- Bullying: This is quite often a mask for insecurity and one thing that can quickly show you someone’s true colors.
How to Avoid Disaster
Resist the urge to label these people as a type of enemy. If you allow hate to take over, you will create a ripple effect that can be difficult to recover from, especially if this experience is a one-off situation and not typical of someone’s usual actions.
Plotting revenge against someone who has double-crossed you is hardly the greatest way to confront someone’s character.
When the content of someone’s character is wearing on you, it is time to act. After you have identified the signs, you should align your process with that information. If you decide that a conversation needs to happen, keep it private.
However, if this person is a colleague, consider briefing your HR department to assist in mediation and ensure you are in line with corporate policy.
Get Your Stories Straight
If this has been brought to your attention by a third party, make sure that all the dots line up. The last thing you want to do is destroy a relationship based on lies.
Put your hatred for the situation aside and think pragmatically. Before you arrange an encounter with the two-faced individual in question, arm yourself with facts, and do your best to eliminate emotion from the equation.
In the moment, it can be tempting to try and deal with multiple things at one time, and it can be easy to get carried away in the heat of the moment. Try to remain as calm and direct as possible.
This will also create an environment that encourages the other side to participate in a solution rather than throw their guard up. Here are few examples of how to stick to the topic at hand:
- Be prepared with written notes that you took independently from this meeting
- Take a deep breath when you feel anger or an emotional flare-up coming on
- Keep your language and tone respectful
Find a Solution
When two sides that are opposite can come together and find an agreeable solution to a problem that is called growing, dealing with your shared issue as a team can help you both find the peace needed to move forward.
Pretending that this conflict will resolve itself does not suffice as a solution. Dissect what happened, and listen as much as you talk. Whatever events occurred should not hold as much weight as the solution should.
Be advised that an immediate response might not be on the cards. Sometimes it takes multiple attempts to truly and completely resolve conflict.
This is a good example of why some people advocate for the term ‘slow and steady wins the race.’ It should matter more to you that a resolution feels satisfactory and genuine than the speed at which it was reached.
Avoid the impulse to fault find in areas that are not applicable. Using ‘you’ verbiage instead of ‘I’ tones can create confusion in the intent of your message.
Multi-faced people are often great at compartmentalizing emotions and can shut off their willingness to solve the issue if they perceive it as an attack on who they are.
Wearing the struggle of two-faced people is not your burden to bear, and the only thing you can control is yourself. Of course, you also cannot pretend that you have not encountered issues due to their choices.
Create a blueprint for dealing with friends that have left you wondering what went wrong. Get an idea of the who, what, when, where, and why, understand that each situation is unique, and try not to group a series of events together.
Although these occurrences, in the beginning, are frustrating, they can, in the end, be quite interesting because you get the benefit of the full picture.
Now, as you move ahead, with or without this person in your life, you are armed with tools for dealing with a world that includes two-faced people.
Additionally, you know the scope of the trait in general and how to identify it. The rest of your life does not have to rest on one person’s wrongdoing, but that is up to you to not allow that to happen.
This can be great motivation for finding gratitude for those in your life that do not cause you this type of hardship. Cherishing the loyal, honest, and genuine people both inside and outside your presence will help you identify what being a friend means to you.
These are the ones who do not leave you to worry and wonder if your confidence will be broken or force you to wear a mask around them as emotional protection.
When all is said and done, look in the mirror and celebrate your inner strength and convictions and the fact that you can trust your own head, accept that people are not perfect, and proceed on your journey.