When Your Friend Talks Behind Your Back

When Your Friend Talks Behind Your Back
We all engage in a bit of celebrity gossip; we watch it on TV and read all about it in magazines and newspapers - the more shocking the story, the better. However, when the story line concerns us common folk, we have a different standard, feeling hurt when we discover that a friend has gossiped about us, or revealed our secret which she swore she would keep.

In fact, men shudder when their girlfriend or spouse gets together with her girlfriends and spills the intimate details of their relationship. Of course, alliances change and girlfriends might come and go – but then there is all this confidential information out there.

Why your friends talk behind your back

It’s not always a bad thing when others speak about you behind your back. On the positive side you are a fascinating person, unconventional, or lively. People delight in tapping into your good energy even when you are not there, invoking your name, deeds or remarks. Keep in mind that gossiping is a form of social grooming. To achieve importance or contribute to a conversation the gossiper speaks about you. This is not a betrayal, but an attempt to use your social status to augment theirs.

But what if they don’t say nice things?

This is a good time to objectify the scenario and take a personal inventory:
  • Are you feeling insecure, sensitive and suspicious? Is there evidence that others are talking about you?
  • Is what they are saying about you true? Can you improve?
  • Might the discussion be a preliminary to an intervention – to get more people on board to help you?
  • Is the story line harmful and hurtful?
If the gossip has been damaging, then schedule a face to face meeting with the source. Proceed from a point of compassion like this person might be depressed, insecure or jealous to spread such unkind words. Possibly feeling lonely, the gossiper wanted to elevate her status to share a so-called juicy story. Explain without anger in your voice and without harsh words that you would appreciate comments made to your face not behind your back. Give the gossiper a way out in order to save face; perhaps he or she did not realize that the comments would hurt your feelings, or that the information was inaccurate.

In an age of Selfies, Facebook postings and Twitter, we have started to behave like celebrities. Celebrities expect gossip and know that they can’t stop it. Instead, they move on to the next accomplishment. If you have buried treasure, choose your confidante wisely.
For more information on managing your stress and reclaiming your life read my book, Addicted to Stress: A Woman's 7 Step Program to Reclaim Joy and Spontaneity in Life. To listen to archived radio shows with guest experts visit Turn On Your Inner Light Radio Show

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