Talking about someone behind their back is one of the shadiest things that a person can do. Normally, this is rooted in insecurity and the things being said are rarely true. Unfortunately, that doesn't make things easier on the person that is the victim of the gossip.
Let's take a look at some stories of men that should keep their heads up and find new friends.
All posts have been edited for clarity.
"I moved abroad to work in a field I had never worked in before. When looking for rooms, I messaged another person who was on the same project but started a week before me. I talked to her because everything was so new to me, and I simply didn't know anyone else.
When I finally moved, we met once when she invited me out for a drink with other people. I asked her for some help with my phone and maybe messaged her once or twice more but it was always to ask about the work. I'm a planner type of person so I wanted to make sure that I stayed on top of everything.
Sometime later, I got together with one of her friends and she randomly asked me one day if I had really been hitting on that woman and stalking her.
I'm glad that her friend brought it up to me rather than letting it continue behind my back but it made me really annoyed. I knew she was basically telling that to everyone as the group we hung out together with was very gossipy. I had zero interest in her romantically and can't imagine what made her think I was hitting on her at all."
"There was a girl I was seeing that I was head over heels for. I thought she was perfect. Time went on and we were an official couple.
Then out of nowhere, she started to distance herself from me like we were just random people talking and she was trying to get out of the conversation. Everything seemed fine, then suddenly one day the way she messaged me changed like someone flipped a light switch. I was definitely into her more than she was me, but initially, I wouldn’t have thought that. I wasn’t super pushy to hang out, but I certainly made an effort when I was free.
I didn't want to push too much but I asked her about it and told her that I would be happy to listen if there was something she felt like she needed to talk through. She told me everything was fine. However, she never wanted to hang out anymore and when she did, she was really closed off. I asked her what I could do to help her through whatever she was dealing with but she wouldn’t give me any hint of what was going on with her.
I knew her best friend prior, so I asked her if we could hang out when I was visiting her town and maybe talk about the situation because I was nervous that she wasn’t interested anymore.
We got to talking and she showed me some texts that the girl had sent to her about me. My friend felt awful after I explained my side. The girl I was dating made me out to be horrible and I had no idea because I wanted to be the perfect guy for her.
In one of the messages, the girl told her, 'There’s a show he’s been wanting to go to with me. I’m going to quit responding, go to the show, then send him pictures of me at the show and see how he reacts.'
That among other things. She was going out of her way to be completely cruel to me knowing how I felt about her. That hurt me more than words could describe and messed me up for a long time. I couldn't believe she would say those things about me behind my back and frame me up to be horrible.
As time went on, I learned that other people in her family handled relationships the same way so I didn't take it personally."
"One day, I overheard my mother-in-law talking with her sister about how much she was dreading me going out to dinner with them that night.
I felt awful that I was making her feel like that and crushed that she didn’t like me.
I didn’t have a family of my own and I guess I was hoping I could be a part of my wife’s family. I don’t really have much hope for that anymore but I sometimes wonder where I went wrong or what I should have done better."
"We moved around a lot when I was young so my sisters and I were always the new kids. That meant we were subject to all the teasing and drama that went along with that.
It was too stressful one day and I broke down at home around bedtime at the thought of having to go back to school the next morning.
My dad and I had a long talk about it. I felt better, loved, and safe. He turned out the lights and went back to the kitchen to join my mom.
I remembered something I wanted to tell him and went out to the kitchen. I overheard him talking to my mom. He was either actually worried about or making fun of the fact that I was a boy and still crying in the third grade. He told her that I needed to toughen up.
That was the last time I shed a tear for over thirty years because I thought that crying was a sign of weakness."
"A few years ago, I attended a conference where I was invited to give a plenary address and receive an award. After I gave my speech, my wife and I mingled among the attendees. We exchanged pleasantries with the association president and a few board members. A school friend found me and we spent the time catching up.
Over the course of the conversation, we overheard the board vice-president and two board members making some demeaning comments about me and my work.
They said things like I was only there to fulfill a diversity quota, who cares about underserved communities, etc. Then they complained that they couldn’t give the award to a better person or they would be accused of wrongdoing. Worst of all, the vice-president claimed that the president also shared those views.
While I was trying to process what was said, my wife and friend stormed over to the other group and read them the riot act. I got my wits back and pulled my friend and wife away from the group. We retired for the night.
The next day, I went to the board president and explained to him that I was leaving the conference without the award. I further explained I could not remain in an association where I was not welcome or treated with a modicum of respect from the leadership. I left that association and have never looked back."
"I was not a good student. I wasn’t a trouble maker either, just your typical underachiever. Except for history, I freaking excelled in history. I was getting hundreds on tests with little or no studying and really enjoyed the subject, to the point where I was considering going into teaching.
Unfortunately, I got hit by a car ditching school in high school junior year. Right in front of the school.
A week or so after the accident I was back in school and went to a silent auction in the library. It was crowded and the lighting was turned down. At one point I ended up behind my honors US history teacher who was talking to someone else. I really respected her and genuinely enjoyed her class. Just as I was about to tap her on the shoulder, I heard my name.
She was telling the person she was with about the accident, and how I was an idiot who was destined to be a loser. I was the best student in my grade, I thought we had a good relationship, but that was a smack of epic proportions. I walked out of the library and went home. I never engaged with that teacher again the rest of the year.
I still put in the effort and still got an A, but I checked out. It got so bad that during tests I would just bust through them in ten or fifteen minutes and leave which caused her to accuse me of cheating once. She made me come in on a Saturday with herself and another proctor. They gave me a freshly made multiple-choice test, which I completed in twenty minutes and got a one hundred on. I never heard anything from her about cheating again.
I basically checked out the rest of high school. I never took any AP tests and just coasted. All because I took what she said so personally. Thanks, Mrs. Clown."
"I was forty-two, had kids, had been married and divorced. I was a full-time, stay-at-home, single parent.
I met a woman post-divorce. She was amazing out of the box. Perfect. Almost too perfect. I tried to take it slow because surely, she couldn't be that perfect for me. Well over the course of a year, we both fell madly in love. During that time, my walls came down and I really got to know her and love her deeply. We talked about maybe getting married one day but we both had small children and that made things a bit complicated. We loved one another enough to wait as long as it took to get married and there was no rush.
Eventually, I decided to propose. Being that that was my second go around, I wanted to do everything right that time. I did a lot of thinking and was just very careful to make the right choices with her. I talked with my parents looking for their blessing to re-marry. I spoke with her father and hinted that I wanted to marry his daughter one day. I discussed it with my kids. Everyone was on board. So when I popped the question, she emphatically said yes. It was by far the happiest I had ever been. I guess relief was the best word to describe it. I had finally met my match and for the first time, I was truly in love.
From there, things were incredible. I had never felt happier or more secure in my life. It felt like all the turbulence I had experienced in the past was being rewarded with some good karma. Life just felt like it was in this perfect groove and it went on for almost three years.
Well, it was three years later, and I had been a full-time parent for about six months at that point. We had a rare, much-needed, long weekend together without kids. I couldn't wait. I made reservations at our favorite Italian restaurant, got some drinks and cheese for us to enjoy. Flowers, the whole thing. She arrived to a freshly poured glass, gave me the biggest hug and kiss, and we both had the most genuine smiles on our faces. She still needed to fix her hair and makeup before we headed out for dinner and her pop socket had broken on her phone so she asked me if I could put the new one on for her while she ran upstairs to finish getting ready. Of course, I said it was no problem and gave her another kiss before she went upstairs.
So I removed the old pop socket and applied the new one. I then decided to grab some Windex and clean her phone for her so it was all nice and smudge-free. She was never the type to have a passcode on her phone. So upon wiping the phone down, I activated the home screen along with the iMessage app. I didn't think anything of it, we both trusted each other and it was never a big deal because we wouldn't care if the other used our phone. So I saw the messaging app was open and the last text received was from a guy named Paul."
"I knew Paul, he was an acquaintance of mine and he went to high school with her. However, the last message received a red heart emoji. So, I tapped on the message only to find the most inappropriate conversation you could imagine.
I was overcome with feelings. Mainly shock and denial. I quickly snapped to, closed the message, returned to the home screen, and turned off the display. When she came downstairs, I just smiled and asked her if she was ready to go. We went out and had a really nice evening. It was great and I didn't really think about what I had seen.
The next morning I woke up early to pure anxiety. I laid in bed and stewed for a couple of hours. She woke up, we made love and I went downstairs to make coffee. She got dressed, packed up her things, and headed back to her place to shower. Once she left, I remembered that she had an account on my MacBook. I knew the password because I set it for her, so I went and logged in. I opened up her messages and started digging. The messages she had sent to the guy were unbelievable. She was sending him the same nudes she had sent to me. Whatever. The thing that just crushed me, was that she was whining to the guy about how I was this or I was that and how I was so boring and she didn't get any inspiration from our relationship and how she was working on a way to leave me.
So I called her and asked her if she really loved me. Of course, she said yes one hundred percent. Eventually, she caught on that I knew something.
So I asked her, 'Do you know why I'm upset?'
She responded, 'Those silly text messages?'
I responded, 'Yeah those silly text messages.'
She tried to laugh it off and said it was just for fun. Then she was shocked when I asked for the engagement ring back. She couldn't believe I would let that ruin our relationship. All I could think about was the things she said about me to the dude. There I was, bleeding my soul into this woman and she's instantly turning into this horrible liar right before my eyes.
Anyways, we broke up, she quickly moved on and re-married soon after. I am still completely messed up over it to this very second. It's really hard for me to trust anyone anymore."
"I was dating this girl for about nine months and had planned on going out of state to visit my family for the holidays before we even got together. I asked her to come with me and meet my family because I knew she had a very rocky relationship with her own family and didn't want her to be alone for the holiday.
A couple of days before we were going to leave, I went and visited her at work to bring her some coffee. I noticed her employees that were usually really nice were being really weird and cold around me, and when I asked her about it she said it was just stress from the season.
As I left one of the guys that I knew pretty well pulled me aside and finally told me what was going on. Apparently, she had gone around and told everyone that I was trying to force her to move away with me and that I was going to make her leave everyone she cared about and that she was really scared because she didn't want to be taken away from everyone she cared about.
I was furious. So I went back inside and called her out on her lies in front of everyone. I showed them all the texts I got from her talking about how excited she was to go, how she couldn't wait to meet my family, and how she was looking forward to the trip and some time together. I left and never called her again.
Three months later she got fired for stealing from her job then got arrested for shoplifting and possession so in a way, her psychotic lies saved me a lot of issues in the future."
"I had a group of friends that I was sort of an outsider in. Two were my cousins and the other friends were friends of my cousins. I just sort of jumped in on the friend group given that my cousins and I were very close. Essentially the friends of my cousins weren't big fans of mine but were polite enough to my face that we got along.
I'm a very social person with multiple social circles and didn't put much stock into that circle in particular but enjoyed everyone's company and sharing hobbies with everyone. Conversely, this was some of the others' only circle of friends. That being said, I thought of myself as a very friendly, funny guy who got along with mostly everyone and haven't ever had trouble making friends. However, that came across as arrogant and stuck up, I believe given the fact that some of the group members were quite the opposite.
We had a group chat and as all group chats go, there were offshoot group chats of the main group chat. Well, they had one without me, which was natural given that I was really the outsider of the group. Basically, the one with me was sort of an offshoot. One of my cousins somewhat randomly added me to this group and no one else noticed.
Well, I definitely saw some things that raised eyebrows. Knowing some of the guys were pretty dramatic and with a feeling of how they viewed me, I decided to go through the history of the chat. I saw some pretty hurtful things to read, nothing hateful but definitely some ganging up on me and such.
I wasn't super bothered by it but I did have my one cousin who stood up for me quite a bit and quite often. I decided to send him a thank you and let him know I appreciated him for it. I didn't mention anything to anyone else about it, but all in all, something that could have left me with a bad taste in my mouth left me feeling pretty good knowing I had a good friend in my cousin."
"My younger sister failed out of her freshman year of college. She has a straight zero GPA through both semesters and was kicked out. My parents took out over forty thousand dollars in loans in their name for her for the year. She proceeded to only get a part-time job at a coffee shop and got fired three months later. They bought her an early Christmas gift of a new MacBook Pro because she stepped on the Air they bought her for college eighteen months prior.
When I was discussing coming back to visit, my father asked if I wanted a gift that year and what my opinion was on what to get my sister for Christmas.
I said I thought some shirts would be fine or a framed jersey to hang on my wall would be great. I also made a comment that my sister got an expensive laptop but isn’t even going to college so maybe tough love was what she needed to get going to do something. Especially since she still didn't have a full-time job and forty thousand dollars in loans to pay back starting in January.
He said okay. He had thought he had hung up and I heard him over the speaker relay that information to my mother.
He also said that they would upgrade my sister's car for Christmas, instead of tough love, and they agreed that I was twenty-three and not worth getting the jersey I asked for."
"I was dating a girl for four years, and she was the love of my life. I was about five years older than her, and I met her in my senior year of grad school. I loved that girl so much, and we would constantly talk about our future together, where we would want to live, what kind of house we were going to buy, etc. I even bought a ring.
It was about two months before she graduated and I should have been at work but was home to surprise her for her birthday. I saw her pull in with her best friend in the passenger seat, and the bedroom window was open so I heard them talking on the way in. To this day, I don't know why I stayed upstairs and eavesdropped, but I'm glad I did.
I learned a few things that day.
She had found the ring I had hidden, she was absolutely mortified that I was planning to propose, and she needed advice from her friend because in her words, 'I really never expected it to go this long. I was just planning on letting him pay my bills for a little while, but it gets nice not having to work, ya know?'
She had lived with me rent and expense-free for four years while she finished school, and never really loved me. She used me to take care of her while she secretly saved her money from her part-time job, and had plans to leave me as soon as she graduated school."
"My first job out of college was for a small marketing company. I got the interview because a girl, 'Sarah,' who had a crush on me in college worked there. I had turned her down before and thought she was just inviting me because I was a good fit. I got the role and shortly after, started dating my now-wife.
After I let slip at work that I was seeing someone, Sarah became incredibly cold and standoffish to me. I would come into meeting rooms and hushed conversations between her and one of the other people in our department would suddenly stop. I noticed her and the rest of the team giggling at messages that weren't making it my way.
One day I was working late and noticed Sarah left her computer unlocked so, against my better judgment, I looked and learned that after I started dating someone, Sarah created a dedicated chat just for talking bad about me. It hurt, even more so because I learned my boss at the time was basically in on it, and that everyone had been making a concerted effort to avoid eating lunch with me or talking to me.
I was lucky that I had already started interviewing at other jobs and accepted an offer the next week.
The words that hurt the most were ones sent when my co-workers snuck out to lunch at a restaurant without me.
'Run John, run,' one of them wrote, encouraging a co-worker I thought was okay to get out without me noticing. I noticed."