No matter who you are or how nice you are, some people won’t like you. That’s a fact we all have to live with. Even worse, people we thought were friends can turn on us. And sometimes we may become the victim of unhappy people who enjoy talking rudely about others.
Know the meaning of “trashed”
You are being trashed if someone is making harmful statements about you with intent of damaging your friendships and reputation — or at least not caring if the negative talk hurts you. The truth of the statements is not the issue because your detractor believes them to be true because of her perspective. If you are being slandered, that is a different issue requiring legal advice beyond the scope of this post.
Being trashed hurts
We may be unaware that we’re being trashed behind our backs. Or, a good friend may clue us in. This knowledge will hurt. Grief, denial, upset, and anger aretypical reactions, followed by a strong desire to defend ourselves. I recommend not giving in to that desire.
I realize this is, as the cliche goes, easier said than done. Chances are good that you don’t deserve the bad things being said about you. The urge to tell your side of the story is reasonable. But unless not defending yourself will result in direct and certain harm, I recommend staying quiet.
Don’t enter the fray
Why? Because defending yourself will force your friend to take sides. She may not side with you after all. And with good intentions, your friend may try to act as peacemaker, which can backfire. Also, if your detractor discovers you have entered the fray, he may escalate the number and intensity of comments, resulting in a feud that could be worse than the initial comments.
Slay the beast
I have found that the fewer times complaints and accusations are verbalized, the better. Let harmful comments die the early death they deserve.
Don’t be a bore
Another good reason to stay quiet is to keep from becoming a bore. Share what’s happened with a trusted confidante to help you gain perspective. But stop after that. Most people are willing to offer sympathy after one or two accounts of terrible treatment, but no one wants to hear the litany again and again. And every time you complain, you are keeping the comments alive and reliving your own negative emotions.
Pity your attacker
It’s sad when someone has nothing better to do, or derives a strange pleasure from, trashing others. Trashing others is also a way of getting attention and sympathy. The person may feel victorious if she causes you to lose a friend. Friends who let trash talk cause them to abandon you have tenuous ties to you at best. Let them go. And consider the tragedy of lives controlled by negative talk.
Be wise yet harmless
If you are clued in about someone’s true character and feelings about you, be grateful to have the knowledge. Then you can then be as wise a a serpent but as harmless as a dove, to cite advice the Lord gave His disciples.
Continue to live a life of integrity, with dignity. You can and will rise above negativity.
If you knew your friend was being trashed, would you tell him? Why or why not?
Have you been trashed? What did you do?
What is your favorite advice for those dealing with negative rumors?