By Kristen Donia

We’ve all had it happen. You find out there’s smack being thrown around with your name on it. Immediately you’re filled with a mix of emotions – rage, sadness, and disappointment. Why would they say these hurtful things? You thought you were friends! How could they do this to you? Inevitably, hearing this has you stepping back and reconsidering your friendship with this person. If they are going to turn around and say unkind things, it’s natural to evaluate the importance of investing time in this friendship any longer. But before you go writing someone off, consider these steps before you do something you might regret.

Don’t Assume

First things first, amongst the sadness and rage, find solid ground. Often what we hear is not the full truth. As the old adage goes, “You can’t believe everything you hear,” you don’t know for certain what has been said about you.

Have you ever played the game “Telephone”? A group of people sit in a circle and one person thinks of a sentence. Then they relay this sentence to the person next to them, who passes it along to the next, and so on around the circle. The last person in the circle then announces out loud, what they believe the sentence is. The whole room erupts in laughter as everyone realizes they all heard something completely different. Such a fun game and also when applied to real life situations, not that fun at all. It’s important not to jump to conclusions before you have all the facts because what you heard may have been taken out of context or exaggerated. If you do, it could potentially ruin a friendship. Get all the facts, then decide how you want to handle it.

Go to the Source

While not the most popular option, definitely one of the most effective and easily overlooked. Confrontation isn’t always easy and also isn’t as hard as we all make it out to be. It’s all in the way you go about it. Look at it as a conversation between friends. Remember, you’re assuming positive intent because you don’t have all the facts. You could speak to your friend and simply say, “I was told unkind things were said about me and I wanted to talk with you about it because I value our friendship.” In doing this, you are not only being a grown-up about the situation but you are taking the high road. The road more of us could take when given the opportunity. It could have easily been a big misunderstanding and you don’t want to throw away a special friendship without having all of the information first.

Let Go

What if your friend admits to having said incredibly hurtful things about you? If that person went behind your back and said distasteful things about you, you probably don’t need them in your life, it’s as simple as that. A ‘so-called friend who would throw you under the bus to anyone who will listen is in fact not your friend at all. They certainly do not have your best interest at heart and although it may be hard, it’s time to move on. There are many supportive, loving, kind people in this world and you deserve to be friends with any and all of them. No more tolerating a charade of negativity and meanness. Move on girl, you’re so much better than that.

Life is too short to put up with gossip and pettiness. Investigate before you jump to conclusions and you could save yourself a lot of heartache and hurt. Find people who lift you up, not tear you down. Life is a journey; choose considerate, genuine, humans as your companions for the wonderful adventures ahead.