We’ve all done it before. Gossip about people we know and even love. The truth is gossiping comes natural to us. However, it can lead to harmful rumors that spread, grow, and many times take on lives of their own.
There’s no doubt, insidious rumors can negatively affect relationships, straining ties and trust between those who originate them, spread them and those who are targeted by them. But how do you restore a relationship that’s been damaged by gossip? Cotton Candy contributor and relationship expert Irina Firstein tackles this sensitive topic. Firstein spells out how to mend relationships between friends and even couples who’ve been affected by fabricated rumors.
Lucid and honest communication is key to fixing a friendship affected by gossip. First, discuss – in a calm manner – exactly what was said in the rumors. Be open, honest and as vulnerable as you can possibly be. These conversations are likely to be emotional or have a lot of charge to them. It is devastating when emotional outbursts become an obstacle to a crucial conversation or an inhibitor to getting through a crisis. But talking about the rumors will help you both be on the same page.
You must also get to the truth of the issue. Truth and clarity are the cornerstones of growth and healing. Go beyond the gossip and determine what is the truth and what is simply fallacy.
Consider the source of the rumor. Evaluate that source. Determine if this person has good intentions toward the both of you. If possible, sit down with the person who started the rumors. Calmly talking to the source can help to move things to a favorable resolution. Also important in this situation is to learn from this experience and vow not to let a rumor get in the middle of a good friendship – especially without verifying what was said, who said it and what the real truth is.
The same principles apply to a couple since friendship is the basis of true love. In a romantic relationship, there are additional issues at hand: jealousy, insecurity, trust, and so forth. In this situation, it is also helpful to seek out counseling from a couples therapist and explore feelings triggered by the rumor. You don’t want feelings to fester. Harboring negative feelings can poison any relationship. But going to counseling can help the couple sift through and eventually heal hurt emotions.
For more than 20 years Irina Firstein, LCSW, has worked with individuals and couples to help them find deeper and more satisfying connections with themselves and in their relationships. Along with being a contributing writer for numerous publications, Firstein has been featured on several broadcast networks, including CBS and NBC.