Discovering that someone is being mean behind our backs can make us feel hurt and betrayed. Find out how to deal with it…
Finding out that our trust has been betrayed or abused by a person we felt we could rely on is extremely hurtful. It can be especially distressing to discover that a friend has been saying mean or untrue things behind our back. There’s a lot to unpack here, so let’s take it step by step…
- First, make sure you have all the information before confronting your friend. It could be a nasty rumour or someone trying to stir up trouble between the two of you. Make sure you have all the facts before you make your next move.
- You’re probably asking yourself why your friend might have acted in this way. People talk about other people for all sorts of reasons – it could be down to jealousy, envy or a desire to ‘get back at you’ in some way. Your friend might have talked you down to others as a way to make themselves ‘fit in’.
- To fully understand why your friend has acted in this way, you need to talk to them. Choose a moment when you have their full attention and there are little distractions. Try to enter the conversation calmly – you might want to take a few deep breaths to steady your nerves and mind.
- Calmly and clearly explain the situation, letting them know that you’re aware of the things they’ve been saying about you. Let them know how hurt you are and ask for an explanation.
- Be prepared for a negative reaction. Your friend may feel cornered and react defensively. They might refuse to talk or deny everything. If your friend is unwilling to discuss the issue it might be time to walk away from the friendship and move on with your life.
- Hopefully, your friend will be prepared to explain their actions, open and honestly. They may feel a degree of guilt and be apologetic for the things they’ve said, keen to try and make amends and promising that they’ll change.
- Throughout your conversation, you might discover the reasons behind their actions. These reasons might make you feel sorry for your friend or could make you feel angrier, depending on what they are. Ultimately, it’s up to you at this point whether or not you want to continue the friendship.
- Consider and weigh up your options. Does your friend seem genuinely sorry? Do you feel like you can trust them in future? If the answer is ‘yes’, you can move on to building a better friendship. If the answer is ‘no’, you may want to walk away. Check out our Friend or Foe? article to help you make your decision.
- Moving on can be tricky as you try to rebuild the trust that has been damaged. You can take a break from the friendship for a while to give yourself some thinking space and time to evaluate what you want to do. You can also set clear boundaries about the types of behaviour you won’t accept from your friend. If they are genuinely committed to doing whatever it takes to save your friendship, then they will respect these boundaries.
- Lastly, make sure to get support throughout this whole process. Talk to another friend or family member about how you’re feeling. It can be emotionally draining and very upsetting to go through a fall-out with a friend so you’ll need all the support you can get.