What to do when someone spreads lies about you

sundershiner asks: This one girl hates me and won’t stop making up lies about me! How can I get through to her? I want her to stop. But I want to do it in a calm way.

Hi sundershiner –

You probably know me well enough by now to guess what I’d say, which is that you’ve got to find out why she’s doing this!  It makes no sense for anyone to hate anyone, or spread lies about them (which we know well is guaranteed to come back and bite her right below the tail one of these days), unless they have a very strong reason.

(Note: I didn’t say a very good reason; it might be completely stupid!  But it’s definitely a strong one.)

Now if someone hates someone for reasons that are really about that person being bad – say, if you hate someone for kicking dogs or stealing from children – you don’t need to lie about them.  All you want to do is to find a way for others to see them doing that awful thing.

But if someone’s lying about someone else, that must mean they hate them for a reason that they think other people won’t accept.  We see this all the time in politics: Politician A hates Politician B because A wants B’s job, so A makes up lies about B to get voters to vote against A and vote B into office.

As another example, most governments have “Truth In Advertising” laws, so that, for example, Pepsi can’t put ads out that lie that Coke is made out of cat vomit!  (Dogs don’t like colas… but I have to admit, that campaign might make me try Coke again!).

Anyway, I’m yowling on and on here.  My point is that this girl must hate something about you that she knows others wouldn’t hate.  So the only way to get her to stop spreading the lies is to find out what it is that she hates.  But that’s going to be hard, because she knows it’s not a legitimate reason to hate you!

Let me take a wild guess at the obvious.  Is it possible that she’s jealous of you?  Maybe you have more friends, or are better at some things, or she thinks you’re liked by someone she wants to especially like her?

If this is the case, she’s probably not going to admit it, to you or to anyone else.  But she might be very interested in becoming (crazy as it sounds) a better friend of yours.  If you’re the better student, maybe she’d like you better if you helped her with her work in a class.  And if she’s jealous of your popularity, maybe she’d like you better if you did something to make her more popular.

Jealousy is a really awful feeling.  It eats away at you like a cancer.  Now because we dogs live so much in the moment, our jealousies usually pass away very quickly (I see Handsome petting and hugging a dog, so I run up to that pooch, growl at her, get on top of her to remind her who’s boss… and I’m done.  Ready to be best friends).  Whereas you humans will hold onto it for weeks, months, years, even a lifetime.

So if that is the problem, you really want to change her mind as quickly as possible.

So here’s my suggestion.  First, ask around.  Ask a few of your mutual friends if they have any idea why she’d lie about you.  Don’t be angry or vengeful, just concerned and curious.  “I’d like her to be my friend, but she seems to just want to make me look bad.”

If that works, then great.  You can let me know what they say, and we can work on a plan from there.

But if not, if they don’t know, then I’m going to guess it’s jealousy.  So try to figure out why she might be jealous, and then do the exact opposite of what her jealousy says you’d do.  As I said above, help her to get more popular, dress cuter, understand math formulas better.  Whatever it is.

Then, see if she starts treating you better.  If so, then you’ve probably earned a friend for life.  But if not, her hurt and anger is deeper than you can fix.  So write me again, and we’ll discuss how you can work to prevent her from ruining your reputation.

Good Luck!




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