Advertising
Advertising

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.

    Advertising

    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.

    Advertising

    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.

    Advertising

    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.

    Advertising

    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?

    More by this author

    Celestine Chua

    Life Coach, Blogger

    13 Bad Habits You Need to Quit Right Away 42 Practical Ways To Improve Yourself How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck 6 Proven Ways To Make New Habits Stick 20 Quick Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

    Trending in Communication

    1 Signs Of Low Self-Esteem And The Root Causes You Might Not Know 2 How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship 3 How to Live in the Moment and Stop Worrying About the Past or Future 4 19 Golden Pieces of Relationship Advice From the Experts 5 This Is What Happens When You Move Out Of the Comfort Zone

    Read Next

    Advertising
    Advertising
    Advertising

    Last Updated on May 21, 2019

    How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

    How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

    For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

    If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

    Example 1

    You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

    You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

    In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

    Example 2

    You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

    People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

    You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

    Example 3

    You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

    Advertising

    The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

    Example 4

    You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

    Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

    If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

    Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

    • Understand your own communication style
    • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
    • Communicate with precision and care
    • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

    1. Understand Your Communication Style

    To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

    In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

    Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

    2. Learn Others Communication Styles

    Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

    Advertising

    If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

    “How do you prefer to receive information?”

    This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

    To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

    3. Exercise Precision and Care

    A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

    On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

    Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

    I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

    I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

    Advertising

    In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

    The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

    Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

    4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

    Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

    In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

    “Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

    Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

    Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

    It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

    Advertising

    It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

    It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

    Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

    Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

    The Bottom Line

    When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

    I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

    More Articles About Effective Communication

    Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

    Reference

    Read Next