When You Hear About Friends Who Talk Behind Your Back

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What happens when your friends talk behind your back. When you know they’re talkin’ some no-goodness about you, well, for one, we are officially sorry that you are experiencing a pretty poopy feeling at this moment. It’s happened to all of us and none of us has particularly liked it.

Anyway, let’s figure this out. Basically, there are three reasons this might be happening.

1. Perhaps your friends are evil sociopaths. Maybe they just told a bunch of lies about you, using you as pawns in their weird game of social chess and they don’t feel even a little bit bad about it. Maybe they would even feel happy if they knew how hurt you feel right now. Maybe they are also planning a mass murder, and they torture animals for fun on weekends, and some day they hope to commit genocide. Sociopaths are actually EXTREMELY RARE, and your friends are probably not sociopaths. But if they tell lies about you behind your back and then five minutes later act like your bestie, AND they torture animals, then…

What can you do about it?

  • Not a darn thing except stay far away and find new friends, with whom you will be three thousand percent better off.

2. Perhaps your friends aren’t evil, but they’re not very good friends. Maybe they were feeling insecure and trying to impress someone and gossip was the best way to do it. They didn’t think, they forgot to have some empathy for how it might affect you, and they temporarily forgot to mention all of the things that they really like about you while pointing out your flaws/mistakes. And now they’re ashamed that they said those things, which keeps them from pulling you aside and saying, “Hey, I accidentally said a bunch of horrible, not even really true stuff about you to what’s-her-face because I was feeling insecure and it was stupid and I feel awful about it and what would you like me to do to make it up to you?” I mean, that’s a really hard thing for a person to admit. Imagine if you had to admit that.

What can you do about it?

  • You can try to talk to them about it. If you can do so at a time when you’re both feeling pretty calm and happy, and if you can start off by letting them know that everyone makes mistakes and you’re not perfect either, it may help them admit what happened and apologize. BUT: only do this if you think you could accept a sincere apology from them. Otherwise:
  • You can decide you’re not really going to be able to trust those friends anymore, and turn your focus to new/different friends.

3. Perhaps your friends have a hard time saying what’s on their mind, and they were just working it out, out loud, with each other. Have you ever done that? You probably have… most humans have. Maybe they never learned how to be assertive because in their families no one says anything to each other’s faces and everyone just talks around each other. Or maybe they’re afraid of your reaction, because you haven’t responded well to criticism before – maybe you got really sad, or really angry, and they want to avoid either one. Or maybe they’re just trying to figure out what exactly they want to say to you and whether they even have any right to say it to you and they can’t figure it out alone and so they turned to each other.

What can you do about it?

  • You can do something really nice for yourself – a bubble bath, a good cuddle with a fuzzy animal – and remind yourself of all the really, genuinely good times with these friends so that you feel calm and motivated to work this out.
  • You can let them know that you found out what they said and that it really hurt and that you want to talk about it.
  • You can help them admit what happened by acknowledging that you’re not perfect and sometimes you’ve talked “around” people instead of talking to people, but that it’s not how you want to do things anymore.
  • You can look inside your heart and be ready to accept their sincere apologies if they offer them.
  • And you can be ready to accept some constructive criticism from them, or to agree to disagree about something, as calmly as possible so that they know they’ll be able to talk to you directly in the future.
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