The Best Ways to React to Slander From a Friend

It is hurtful when a friend says bad things about you behind your back.
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When a friend spreads rumors and tells lies behind your back, it hurts. When the comments are false and harm your reputation, it is slander. Slander is similar to libel, which is when false comments are published. An example of slander would be if your friend sees you hug an old guy friend, and then tells everyone you are cheating on your boyfriend. Your integrity is called into question and the relationship is in trouble. Slander can be difficult to prove and often turns into a "he said, she said" disagreement. If you are the victim of slander, it is important to cool down and consider your options.

1 The Underlying Reason

Why would a so-called "friend" spread lies about you? Has there been a recent rift in your friendship? Could he be jealous of your success or a new girlfriend? Did he misinterpret something you said or did? Try to approach him to learn his motivation. Stay calm and listen to his explanation. Keep an open mind and try to see things from his point of view. Whatever the outcome, you need to decide if the friendship is worth keeping.

2 Take Action

When you first get the inkling that your friend is saying things behind your back, approach her and ask her to stop immediately. Don't put your head in the sand and pretend nothing is happening. The sooner you put a stop to gossip, the better. Remember that stories tend to get bigger and juicier each time they are repeated. Slander can potentially hurt your chance for a promotion at work or cause friction in relationships.

3 The High Road

Resist the urge to get your friend back by gossiping about him or making threats. Never make derogatory comments about him on social media or send harassing texts. The last thing you want to do is give him ammunition to play the victim or even press charges. Sometimes, just by diverting your attention elsewhere, he will find other trouble to stir up that doesn't involve you.

4 Legal Weight

If you are unable to stop the slander or it has caused significant harm to your reputation, consider getting legal help. Show your attorney records you have kept about the slanderous behavior, screen shots of texts or internet postings and names of witnesses. Your attorney can prepare a letter asking your friend to cease and desist and retract all public comments. Your attorney will know if additional legal action is warranted.

Sharon O'Neil has been writing professionally since 2008. Her work has been published on various websites, including Walden University's Think+Up. She has worked in international business and is a licensed customs broker. She is currently a supervisor with a social service agency that works with families to prevent child abuse and neglect. She obtained a Bachelor of Science in business from Indiana University.