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6 Tips To Handle People Who Stab You in the Back

6 Tips To Handle People Who Stab You in the Back

For the full original unedited article, visit Celestine’s blog, Personal Excellence.
Recently I learned that a “friend” stabbed me behind my back by badmouthing me in a pretty malicious way. It wasn’t just your innocuous, everyday gossip either—it consisted of pretty vindictive statements which cast doubt on my character and my integrity.

Tips To Handle People Who Stab You in the Back

    When I heard it, I was infuriated of course. What kind of “friend” speaks of friends like this behind their backs? How about the values of loyalty, trust, and respect for others? Have they been thrown out of the window in this time and age?

    However, as with every unpleasantry in life, I began to turn it around through the six steps below.

    #1 Cut this person away

    For me personally, there is no place for hypocrisy in my life. I had more than my fair share of hypocrisy when I was in primary school (a separate story for a separate day), which is why I decided that I’m done as far as unauthenticity and shadiness of character are concerned. Whenever I meet someone whom I feel is unauthentic, I would cut the person from my life because I have no wish to deal with misgivings, distrust, disloyalty, etc.

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    So I cut this person away. It was depressing enough to be backstabbed by someone whom I thought was a trusted comrade, much less learn about the depressing opinions this person had been harboring against me. I felt like I had been totally wrong in my judgment and the friendship was never what I thought it was; it was just an illusion in my mind. I felt I was infected by a virus in my soul and I needed to cut it away, pronto.

    If you have been backstabbed by a “friend”, evaluate (a) how important the friendship is to you and (b) whether the offending act is forgivable or not. If it’s a highly important friendship and if the offending act is something you can overlook, then air the grievance to that friend, trash things out, and give the friendship another go. If the friendship isn’t of much weight to you and the offending act is not something you can overlook, then perhaps cutting the person away is the best course of action.

    #2 Do damage control

    Then, I did damage control by rectifying the statements which had been made. I shared my side of the story to whoever they were aired to. While it was still up to the party to make his/her conclusion, at least I got to say my piece in this situation, rather than leave things hanging.

    If you have been backstabbed, take a step back and evaluate your situation. Has there been any “damage” done? Yes? No? If yes, what is this damage? Is it damage to your reputation? Damage in terms of potential business deals? Damage in terms of relationships? For the damage rendered, what can you do to reverse it? Address the damage as best as you can within your locus of control, and then…

    #3 …Let go

    One of my biggest qualms is that people might have bought into what the badmouther said and used those words to formulate their impressions of me, thereby making it impossible for me to ever form a true, authentic relationship with any of them. My life mission is to connect with everyone in the world, and to know that some people might have closed their hearts from me because of certain comments made by another is truly devastating.

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    Where damage control is concerned, I can rectify the statements made to people I knew the statements were aired to, but I don’t know if the statements were made to anyone else. These people might well have passed on the comments to people they know, of which the latter group might have done the same thing, thereby making it an irrevocable damage.

    To address this, I simply learned to… let go. Sometimes you can’t control everything, and the only way to be “in control” (read: staying calm and happy) is to be okay with not being in control. Rather than obsess about something I cannot effect, I would do better by letting that go and focusing on the things I can effect. (Read the next tip.)

    #4 Correct false perceptions through concrete actions

    Actions will always speak louder than words. I can explain my side of the story all I want but at the end of the day, it will simply be one person’s words against another. Who’s to say one is more right than another? Everyone always has his/her side of the story, and both parties will always be right in their own world.

    So, I decided to correct the false picture not through words, but actions. How? By ensuring my behavior is true to my five core values, something which I already strive to do every day.

    Recently I met an esteemed business investor and he told me, within our first few meetings, that he was very impressed by how I walk my talk, something which he doesn’t see often in other people, if at all. I thought it was a huge stamp of approval coming from him as he is already in his 60s, has set up and IPO-ed countless businesses, and has worked with countless people in the 40 over years he has spent in the business world.

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    His comment reminded me that as long as I do my thing and live true to my conscience, people will naturally know what I stand for as a person. You show people you are a good person not by saying you are one, but by taking actions consistent with what you define as being a good human being.

    At the end of the day even after you live true to yourself, people are still free to make their own conclusions. Some may choose the negative judgment despite everything you do. However, as long as you know your values and take actions consistent with those values, your actions will shine more brightly than whatever people try to say about you. Don’t serve to please others; live your life in the way you can be proud of.

    #5 Self-reflect

    I always believe there is something to learn from every situation. This incident is no different.

    From this episode, I learned quite a number of things about myself, surrounding my fears, my anxieties, and my treatment of friendships. I learned to be more appreciative of true friends who have always been there for me. I learned to be more sensitive to other people’s feelings. I also learned that I can be dead wrong in my judgment sometimes, and what I think is my intuition at work can just be a neurological dysfunction in my left brain.

    Above all, I learned to stick to my guns and stay true to what I stand for, instead of shirking myself out of fear of non-conformance with the world.

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    If you are serious about creating an impact, you are bound to ruffle some feathers here and there. Here’s what: ruffle those feathers anyway. Know that your job here in this world isn’t to please, but to stay true to your mission and create the largest, most positive impact to as many people as you can. Other people can put you down but you will always have your voice.

    #6 Look at the big picture

    While I was appalled when I found out about the “betrayal”, I got over it after a few hours. In light of the big picture of things, the incident was just totally insignificant. There are too many things I need to do, too many lives I need to get to, and too many goals I have to achieve, to be bogged down by one person’s petty vendetta.

    For example, we have a meteorite that just hit Russiainjuring over 1,000 people. Up north, we haveNorth Korea doing secret nuclear tests. Down south, kids in South Africa are dying every day due to famine and diseases. Then over in America, fundamental social issues beg looking into. The number of homeless people in New York City continues to rise every year. Schools in U.Scontinue to be plagued by shootings, now becoming an almost weekly occurrence.

    I reckon if you just found out that you got “betrayed”, you must feel pretty miffed. Shocked. Surprised. Angry. Livid. Feel those emotions, vent to your friends if you have to, then get over it. There are so many other things to concern yourself in life. Why let yourself be bothered by something as tiny as this?

    Rather than harp on the negative, why not divert your energy to the positive things in your life and build on them? What are your long-term goals? What are your short-term goals? What do you want to achieve this year/month? What are your Quadrant 2 items which you have been procrastinating on? How about getting started on them right this moment?

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    Celestine Chua

    Life Coach, Blogger

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    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    No!

    It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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    But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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    What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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    But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

    1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
    2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
    3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
    4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
    5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
    6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
    7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
    8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
    9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
    10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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