• Resolving Problems

A friend who is spreading rumors

Published: February 5, 2016 | By | 18 Replies Continue Reading
A 70-year-old woman is upset over a friend spreading rumors about her.



I have had two very special friends for over ten years. One of them has lived in my housing development for more than five years. The other moved in two years ago with my help.

I manage rentals in this development. The second friend has spread horrible rumors, even trying to cause me to lose my part-time rental job.

Now her horrible lying rumors have caused issues with my old friend and the old friend doesn’t see it. We always did things together, now the other is involved, and special times have no longer been part of our daily routine because of this friend’s rumors.

What do I do? I’m 70 years old, too old for games, but never in my life have I ever encountered! Thank you for your direction!

Signed, Linda


Hi Linda,

Oh my. This sounds like such an upsetting situation. Whatever someone’s age, it’s difficult when long-term friendships falter, especially when you’re living in the same neighborhood and know people in common.

I would suggest that you have separate conversations with each of these friends:

  • Let the rumormonger know in no that you are unwilling to continue having a relationship with her under these circumstances. Perhaps, you’ll gain some insight into what’s motivating her, which may or may not be helpful in changing her behavior.
  • Let your other friend know that you want to remain friends with her but you don’t want to get together with a third person who has been acting with so much hostility towards you. Unfortunately, it sounds like this friend may be a “peacekeeper” who is uncomfortable “taking sides” or saying anything to upset the other woman.

There is a risk that you will wind up losing both friends but I don’t see any other way out of this distressing situation. Hopefully, your long-term friend will eventually see the other woman for what she is.

Hope this helps!

Best, Irene

Tags: , , , , , ,

Category: Neighbors, RESOLVING PROBLEMS

Comments (18)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Arlene says:

    You’re right…70 years old is no time for playing games and especially if your income is involved. Jealousy and being competitive is a terrible character flaw for some women to have and it seems when you kept number two friend out of your home area and place of business your life went well. I had a similar situation where I wanted to help a sister-in-law get a job and in summary, no good deed goes unpunished by these kind of women. Soon my office life was hell until I left and then she left. I would suggest you do your job well and be cordial, but cool with her until she moves on to some other victim or location. Perhaps you didn’t know her as well as you thought. Never reward bad behavior with good behavior and any nice contact with her is a reward which she does not deserve.

  2. Lisa says:

    With friends like this who needs enemies? I would walk away from them both. It is not worth upsetting yourself over these two who claimed to be friends. 70 is too old to still be playing these childish games. If they ever ask you why don’t you want to get together , then I would tell them both but, together so there is no room for additional gossip. I would even go as far as sending them a letter, this way you have your proof in writing, and you don’t need to see them. Why open the wounds ant further. Cut your losses and find TRUE friends. Best wishes to you.

  3. Maddie says:

    Hard to reply without knowing the specifics. If it’s some kind of libel or slander, have an attorney send a cease and desist letter. Stop speaking to her.

    Not nearly enough info.

  4. Dionne says:

    I think that’s a good idea, to get rid of the problem friend, then tell the other friend why you won’t be hanging out as a threesome anymore.

    And please be careful what you let the mutual friend know about your personal business. It could bring on further problems if the gossiper pumps the mutual friend for information. Or, since that friend seems to be at least somewhat going along with all this, just back off from her for a while, too. Hopefully, that cuts off the gossiper’s supply of information about you.

    It’s a shame to have a falling out with friends but I can’t see this being anything very nice for you lately anyway. Maybe you can join a meetup.com group and find a new pal or two.

    Also, if you think it’s worth it, especially since this might affect your job, it doesn’t cost that much to have an attorney send the malicious gossiper a cease and desist order. The possibility of being made to explain her behavior in front of a judge might might shut down all this nonsense right away. If she’s a renter, depending on what she said about you, maybe you can have the owner not renew her lease. I don’t know but maybe they wouldn’t expect you to work with someone who seems to be looking for ways to mess with you. I don’t know what all she did though so the letter and talk with your boss might be overkill.

    Good luck and sorry your friend has turned on you. I want to know what she said too!

  5. Salstarat says:

    The newly arrived gossiper is nothing more than a toxic, mean spirited gossiper who takes some type of perverted pleasure in TRYING to destroy other people’s lives. Mind you, the ONLY person who can destroy your self esteem, self respect and dignity is YOU … don’t do it! Stand proud! You have done nothing wrong. My suggestion is this: wait until the THREE of you get together and then, in front of your older friend, confront the gossiper with the question: “Why are you spreading the following malignant rumours about me (then go on and be specific about which rumours they are). These stories are LIES and you know it! What is your motive?” Like most cowardly, backbiting malicious slanderers, she will undoubtedly back off. I would then warn her: “Any relationship I have ever had with you has proven to be a terrible mistake of good judgement on my part, however, from this day on, I want you out of my life. I warn you, that if you continue down the path of malicious gossip against me, I shall sue you for slander!” After that, take a good long look at the reaction of your spineless “older” friend who didn’t even give you the benefit of the doubt, made no effort to defend you and ask yourself, “is she worth it?” – I would say not. Turn on your heel, walk away and NEVER LOOK BACK! If the sociopathic gossiper continues to degrade and defame you, make good your threat to sue her! You really do NOT need toxic people like this in your life at this time … surround yourself with upbeat, positive people who will enhance your life and make you feel good about yourself.

  6. Sarah T says:

    Oh man, how frustrating! Anyone who spreads rumors about you is not a friend, period.

    You can definitely tell the non gossiping friend that you enjoy spending time with her but it will have to be with boundaries. I wonder if this same friend (like Irene mentioned) is telling little miss gossip anything. Being a “peacemaker” is fine to a point. When you don’t stand up for yourself or stand up for people you care about (because they are being mistreated), then you are a doormat.

    All your other friend has to do is tell the gossiper that she doesn’t want to hear disparaging things about you from her because you are her friend. If your friend doesn’t see anything wrong with what Ms. Gossip is doing, then it is her with the problem and not you. Something to think about…

  7. Lyn says:


    What a distressing situation for you.

    Maybe you should distance yourself from these friends if they were true friend they would not treat you in this way.

    Why don’t you speak with each of them separately explain how this has upset you and ask them why their behaviour has changed towards you then you can make up your mind to stay friends or move on and find better friends.

    Hope this helps and good luck


  8. LauraSL says:

    Jr. High never ends! Friend stress at 70 . I’d drop the rumor spreader like a hot potato. Who needs a friend like that?

  9. Amy F says:

    Yikes, so much unnecessary drama. So sorry this has happened. I’d talk to the non rumor spreader, without denying the rumor or sounding defensive and say, “I’m hurt. I thought you knew me better than to believe ______ without talking to me first.” I’d gage her response to see whether I wanted to continue the relationship.

    The rumor spreader is not your friend. This is probably a life long pattern with her and the relationship isn’t worth salvaging, in my opinion. If you keep her as a friend, his will you ever be able to trust she won’t do it again.

    Good luck.

  10. Sandra says:

    One would hope that by the time we reach middle age, we’d all be playing fair and treating our friends like grown-ups. Sadly, this isn’t the case. I’m sorry you’re in this position, because the situation involves your job and isn’t something you can simply walk away from. It’s awkward.

    As the old saying goes, “With friends like that, who needs enemies?” If I were in your shoes, I would distance myself with as much dignity as possible, and let things cool.To be honest, I don’t think I would say anything right away — just step back and quietly go about your business. It will help clear your head if you step back, and remind yourself that you have a job, first and foremost. Hopefully, you have other friends outside the rental complex who will meet your needs for friendship.

    Once these two “friends” you’ve mentioned, including the rumormonger, realize that you’re stepping back and not engaging with them or playing this immature game, they might take notice. After a while, when things “cool down” — and if the right opportunity presents itself– you can maybe have a peaceful discussion on why you were upset by the rumor spreading and why you won’t tolerate it.

    Sometimes it’s hard to have close friendships when you’re the boss or working in some kind of leadership position. Some people cannot handle the “imbalance” of the situation. I always make a point of having a few close friends *outside* of my work. It helps when things get dicey on the job.

  11. Jared says:

    Dang! How can you complain about rumors without sharing the actual rumor? Was it extra juicy?

    My advice would be to start a rumor about the one who began the rumor about you!!! Make yours even better and more exciting.

    Just kidding, but I hope my humor made you laugh.

    • Salstarat says:

      Jared, your comment is in poor taste. The lady is upset, seeking advice and you are doing nothing but trivialising her problem by making silly jokes! Grow up!

      • Jared says:

        Sal, someone’s going to start a rumor about you if you’re not careful.

        • Salstarat says:

          Clearly, you are too flippant and immature to take participate in a forum such as this. Why do you bother?

          • Maddie says:

            This is very rude. You tend to call multiple people out for disagreeing with them. I don’t see people doing it to you. It’s an opinions forum.

            • Jared says:

              Thanks for sticking up for me, Maddie. I’ve noticed Sal does this to people who aren’t even addressing him (or her?) I just ignored it. This poster is often rude to others but always defends his vitriol.

  12. Ben says:

    I have had many people in my life, in the past for whatever reason start or disseminate false stories about me. For the life of me I still cannot figure out why. I also had someone I went to church with drag me into court without any proof I had done anything and I had the proof to disprove their false allegation. Even though I was totally in the right it was gut wrenching awful. The point is your pain is real. What’s also real is your own power over it. In the end if you have done nothing wrong/ nothing of importance will come of it except one good thing, you will become stronger for it. If any friend of mine sided with falsehood over truth and they ceased being a friend then it shows me they are and were no friend to begin with. Life has a funny way of culling out truth. I certainly know intimately the pain you are going through having been through it a number of times. I have less drama in my life today and I like it that way. This is going to sound very simplistic but it is very true, “what other people think of me is none of my business.”

Leave a Reply