A friend comes to you and explains that a mutual friend of yours has been calling you names, spreading rumors or gossiping about personal matters. A friend speaking negatively about you can amount to a hurtful betrayal. While you may not be able to get your friend to stop, you can take steps to protect yourself and cope with the behavior.

Planning Ahead

Maybe a mutual friend told you about other friends who said something negative about you, or you overheard your friends spreading the gossip yourself. If you did not hear the gossip firsthand, consider your source first. Does this person like to cause trouble or have something to gain by getting you into an argument with your friends? Confiding in someone else you trust, such as a family member or counselor, can also give you the confidence and tools you need to confront this negative behavior, according to TeensHealth.org.

Confronting Your Friends

Arrange a time to talk when you and your friends are feeling calm. It may be ideal to talk to each person individually, according to "When Friends Fight: Think About It" on the PBS Kids website. You might open the conversation by saying "I feel hurt because I heard that you blamed me for your breakup. Is this true?" Giving each friend the chance to explain the situation may give you new insight. If the conversation gets heated, or your friend seems eager to start a fight, disengage by saying that you can discuss the matter at another time. If your friend apologizes, consider accepting it if this is a first offense.

After the Confrontation

If your friend apologizes, leave the argument in the past -- don't bring it up when you are upset later. In the meantime, take note of whether your friends continue to speak negatively of you. If you are frequently hearing about negative gossip from your friends, it may be a sign that they are never going to change the way they communicate, or how they feel about you. If you pick up on other passive-aggressive behavior, such as friends rolling their eyes after you speak, you should confront the behavior calmly, firmly and directly, according to licensed social worker Signe Whitson, writing for "Psychology Today." You might say "it seems to me that you are unhappy about what I had to say."

Getting Help

Negative talk from friends can leave you feeling poorly about yourself and clinging to friendships that may not be worth your time, according to PBS Kids. If your friendships leave you feeling emotionally drained and defensive, it may be time to move on. Having no friends at all is better than having friends who will continually put you down. Speaking to a counselor or therapist can also help you get perspective on the situation and how to move forward.