How to Deal with Sycophants

Greetings readers, how has it been?

Perhaps you deal with this at work, but today I will be talking about the butt kisser, brown noser, bootlicker, yes-man, vampire, blood-sucker. No matter what you call them, they can be a problem when their behavior becomes more than a compliment.

In my work outside of work, I feel like I experience nothing but it. That is, I witness the unfettered flattery of people in power, not that I’m receiving it (ha ha). I can’t help but wonder if it’s because of where I live. There is a strong sense of the importance of money and so, just a dismissal of the inequalities, injustices, and outright immorality that that mentality can cause.

Obviously we all need it to live in this farkakte world, but incorporating greed and competitiveness into your values and worldview is a symptom of weak self-esteem. If you don’t or refuse to see reality, you are not putting in the effort of thinking critically, thereby making you vulnerable to relying on bias. You do not need to be greedy if you (1) really think you are living a modest life (2) have put in the reading or other time into learning that marginalized people aren’t a threat to your status or belongings. There’s no scarcity because of them; any resource shortage is due to hoarding by elites.

Photo by RODNAE Productions on

Unfortunately, it seems like my “community” is rife with these fake f*cks, as Jay-Z says. And honestly, I’m not sure how to deal with them. I’ve heard from people whose issues and impact reach more of the population that, “You don’t need everybody. You just need to find the people that are on your side.” But since our issues impact a much smaller population, I’m not sure this approach will work. But is it worth spending time on people who have no interest in your values? If they can actively harm you and your friends?

So I’m trying to look into how to deal with these people. Because it is incredibly depressing when, as I said, it seems like they’re all there is. This post will address the tips in this article which does take more workplace approach. Regardless of the tips, it has provided the interesting insight that such suck-uppery is toxic and leads to low productivity. In addition, the boss is put in the position of not receiving honest, valuable feedback.

Evoke Reactions

This tip just seems like it’s saying to test the sycophant. However, it again presents an idea for which I’m grateful: nip it in the bud! Buttkissers go beyond the compliment. Sid says they will appreciate the boss’s idea to no end, but I’d go further and say it’s about the boss. People in positions of power/status need to have the self-esteem to recognize it and not exploit it. Unfortunately, I don’t think we can count on them.

Stay Alert

This sounds like it’s saying that while sycophancy is broad, it’s also for specific reason– gain. They’re also gossips, so try to remain unemotional around them because they will use it.

Withhold Your Opinion

This is pretty straight-forward as a blood-sucker won’t know what to agree with if you or the boss don’t offer it first.

My Takeaway

This article offers two more tips, but they’re more applicable to the office. In my opinion, these tips would work for me better as simply (1) being aware and (2) stopping the behavior early. Under Being Aware, I’d say to consider any position/status you have and if people are simply leveraging their proximity to it. You honestly have no right to complain about people only wanting you for your statuses if you intentionally surround yourself with yes-men. Additionally, you can test for this kind of behavior, but if you suspect it, refrain from engaging too far or emotionally. Ideally, if you are in a leadership position, you can cut off the behavior.

It may seem rude or hypocritical of me to decide people are buttkissers. I’m not saying certain people are, but I’m sure we can all relate to thinking they are, no? As aforementioned, I am just trying to deal with it myself, and these are my notes and me trying to figure it out! I might read another article that makes more sense next month! Furthermore, I wonder if sycophancy may be related to the chameleon effect and/or trauma. This is another reason to try to remain unattached and objective to them, although, one’s past trauma does not excuse any they perpetuate onto others.

Thanks for reading,

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