Ending relationships; gossip about you

Hi Mary Jo,

How do I help my good friends know when it’s time to let go of a relationship?

Thank you, Meoka

Meoka,

Most people know when it’s time to leave a relationship. Honestly, telling them they should leave is not as effective as showing them you care with your actions. A primary reason people don’t leave a bad relationship is due to fear. Taking time to sit and listen to them, giving them a safe place to talk about how they feel without judgment, and encouraging them by bringing up other times they were courageous can help them feel supported and confident to make a move. If you become more concerned about your friend and the relationship they’re in, be direct and suggest a counselor for them. Offer to go with them if they need additional support. Good friends don’t give advice, they give their time and express their concern with their presence.

Hi Mary Jo,

How do you respond when you overhear people gossiping about you?

Thank you, Jamareya

Dear Jamareya,

I usually recommend ignoring overheard gossip, recognizing that it’s a petty thing people do as a way of bonding and feeling better about themselves. The best tactic is to gossip-proof yourself so you never hurt others or lose your integrity. You gossip proof yourself by doing these three things:

  1. Stay away from exclusive cliques, groups, and friends. People who need exclusivity need security.
  2. When you hear people talking negative about others, walk away - even though you may feel an ego boost that you were included. You can distract yourself with your phone or work. Vent to your partner, your therapist or your dog. They’re good listeners, and you’ll feel better about yourself.
  3. Take every opportunity in life to communicate directly and openly. The goal in life isn’t to be “liked;” it’s to live your life with integrity and self-respect. Staying away from gossip helps you achieve both.
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