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Awkward! I Feel Guilty For Believing Hateful Gossip

Thanks to a reader with an issue (sorry, reader!), we have an awkward scenario for you that she needs you to weigh in on.

"I recently discovered that a friend had been lying and conning me for about eight years. As the friendship dissolved, I realized she'd played everyone in her life against the others, to the point of telling people I had been abusing her daughter.

During the friendship, she told me horror stories about a friend that I met through her. As with most con artists, her lies were based on readily available information, making them seem very plausible. Because of this, I told the mutual friend I thought she was neglecting her son and being a bad parent. Now that I don't believe a word this con artist has ever told me, I feel a tremendous amount of guilt and regret having accused and lectured the mutual friend.

This mutual friend (who is still friends with the con artist) cut off all ties with me, but should I reach out to her and explain everything or let it rest? The ex-friend has been telling terrible lies about me since I stopped talking to the mutual friend."

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a-million-suns a-million-suns 8 years
I agree with kia. Offer your apology and then get the hell out of there.
youbetcha youbetcha 8 years
I agree with Tidalwave. Your friend may be a pathological liar but you are very much guilty of passing judgment based on a malicious gossip, and actually accusing someone of being a bad parent. Even if she were, is it really up to you to lecture her? In fact, it seems like your mutual friend is as guilty of believing in malicious gossip (about you) and taking things at face value. Still, I think you should do your bit and apologise, whether she accepts it or not. Maybe one day she will figure out on her own that your friend is a liar. I feel strongly about this because I am a 'victim' of my sister's vicious, outlandish lies about me which some people were only too willing to believe without ever questioning the truth, while others were incredulous and wouldn't believe in those stories. At times like this, you get to know who your real friends are. Sadly, there are always some who just seem to WANT to believe in the worst without ever questioning it and spreads the gossip like poison.
totygoliguez totygoliguez 8 years
I agree with TidaleWave. You can not just go and confront other people that directly about something you heart. Before you make an accusation you have to make sure that at least you have proofs to believe that story. I don't think there is a point on talking to the mutual friend, my advice is to move on.
Dragonflye Dragonflye 8 years
It's not hateful gossip and lies so much as this woman is a pathological liar, making up stories and lies about everyone all around her and watching the fall-out from far away. The beauty about pathological liars is that they will eventually get caught up in all the lies and deceit. After a while, their stories will seem so outlandish and ridiculous that no one will believe them. At this point, it will be more than evident where the source of the misinformation came from. I have met two pathological liars in my life. Both times, these women had the most incredulous stories about their lives, their experiences and the experiences of those around them. After a while, you start to doubt the "testing for brain cancer" stories and the "I was absent from work because I had to help a friend who just had their leg amputated..." After a while, this person will move on to new subjects, new people and probably new victims. There isn't anything you can do but feel sorry for them...
TidalWave TidalWave 8 years
Learn your lesson! I absolutely hate people like you (yes, i mean that). If i am told something about another person, I will not pass judgement unless I have heard it from that person's mouth! I often confront people if I am genuinely concerned about gossip I have heard about the person. I won't say "is it true that....?" or "I heard from so and so that you...." I'll just try to bring it up, "How's everything with....?" or "Have you ever.....?" Because you know why, you come off extremely idiotic believing every little thing you say and it is extremely hurtful to the person! I totally cut off all ties to a friend when he called me up yelling, "Why did you tell so and so that I hate my job?" Well, I didn't. And the fact that my friend believed someone else even though he knew i would never go around gossiping about him -- and he didn't just directly ask me "hey, have you mentioned to anyone about my job situation?" It's just rude to accuse me of gossiping. So now I hope you learned your lesson! Don't be disrespectful to your friends!
kia kia 8 years
I would call to offer an apology and brief explanation. Other than that I would get away from this toxic situation ASAP. Perhaps I would also evaluate why I was involved in a circle of friends with this person as well.
Azurefire Azurefire 8 years
I'd call(or e-mail if you don't dare call) and simply offer an apology. You might offer a brief explnation, but keep it simple as saying too much, or bashing the ex-friend, might seem like your trying too hard to make excuses. From there, just see what she does. If she accepts your apology, you will probably be able to explain the current situation in more detail in due time. If not, at least you made an effort to make amends.
Gdeeaz Gdeeaz 8 years
mama i don't think the mutual friend is telling lies about her i think it is only the ex-friend who is. If the only reason your friendship with the mutual friend ended is because of you accusing her of neglecting her son than I personally would tell the mutual friend about the things the ex-friend said, but I wouldn't expect her to just believe me right away.
Autumns_Elegy Autumns_Elegy 8 years
I suppose the lesson here is to take gossip with a grain of salt.
PinkNC PinkNC 8 years
I completely agree with *mama*. She could not have said it any better. Let them go and move on. Trying to become friends with even one of them would start more drama that you don't need in your life. Keep being the mature on here and just move on to gaining other TRUE friends.
mamasitamalita mamasitamalita 8 years
you don't want either of these people in your life. let the bad friend go, and let the ex-friend remain an ex friend. I'm sure you're not the only person to realize that these two tell lies, so just try and be a more open minded and honest person, and let those two behave the way they will.
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