People love to talk, and whether they have a reason or not, some people are bound to talk negatively about you. And, it’s not just rude, but it’s actually hurtful! We can try to pretend it doesn’t bother us, but the truth is that most of us feel confused, frustrated, and betrayed… so many emotions that we’d rather not feel. Whether it’s a stranger or your best friend, sometimes it feels like one of the worst things someone can do is talk bad about you. 

Here’s the thing: you can’t control what others say about you, but you can decide how you respond. You have the power to choose how you react, including whether to react at all. If you’re not sure what to say when someone talks bad about you, we got you! Keep reading for some great ways to respond anytime someone talks smack. 

Woman looking sad looking out a window

What To Say When Someone Talks Bad About You

Consider your source.

Before you start thinking about how to respond to the person who is supposedly talking bad about you, consider the person who shared the information with you. Do you trust them? Could they have some sort of ulterior motive? 

Some people just love to stir up drama, often for their own entertainment. They could have twisted someone’s words to make them fit their own agenda or made the whole thing up. 

Confront them.

If you think there’s any possibility they might have said it, confront them. Now, don’t be coming in hot and make things way worse. Be the bigger person and start just by asking a question. Something like, “Hey, I heard you said this about me, is that true?” Then, let them talk. Try to listen and hear them out. Once you have their side of things, decide your next steps. 

Hopefully, it was a misunderstanding. But, if it wasn’t and they double-down on the sh*t talking, it might be a good time to get a couple other trusted friends involved and approach that person again. If they still DGF then it’s probably time to move on from that toxic friend. (Here’s more on saying no to toxic friendships from Mona Vand of Mona-Vated!) 

Set some boundaries.

If you feel like the friendship can be salvaged, it’s time to set some boundaries. This isn’t just about what they specifically said, it’s the fact that they thought it was okay to talk sh*t at all. So, make it clear to them that you won’t have any of that in your friendship. If they want to keep you around, they come to you if they have a problem—PERIOD. Remember that you’re worth healthy friendships! 

When you do set a boundary, hold to your end of things, too. Make sure that you’re not talking crap and ensure that you’re emotionally ready to handle things if a friend does come to you with a problem. For help with this, listen to the episode of Him & Her called How To Set Boundaries & Find Peace, A Guide To Reclaiming Yourself!

Lean on your support system.

Chances are, you have plenty of healthy people in your circle outside this potentially toxic friend. Lean on them to speak truth back into your life! If your so-called-friend straight-up lied about your or at least passed an inaccurate judgment, it’s seriously SO easy to believe whatever they said. You’ll be asking, Am I annoying? Do I come off needy? Am I really selfish? Do I actually dress that provocatively? 

Even if you’re normally pretty confident, it’s easy for insecurities to swirl when someone you trusted shatters your view of yourself. So, lean on your friends to remind you of what’s true! And, hey, there might be some things you need to work on, but they’ll be right there to remind you of all your AMAZING qualities! (If you’re unsure who are your solid friends and who aren’t, learn about friendships red flags and green flags.) 

Get a confidence boost from your honorary besties at Dear Media, too! We have a lot of great confidence boosting podcast episodes, but here are some of our recent faves:

Don’t respond.

Sometimes it’s best just to avoid justifying their actions with a response. They may be totally looking to rile you up! You can either decide to keep them as a friend and move on unbothered or to cut them out without discussion. You don’t owe them a response! It can honestly feel empowering to brush it off, deal with it on your own, and invest more in your healthy friendships. 

That whole idea of becoming unbothered is kind of wild. We’re primed to really care what people think of us! Luckily, there is an entire Dear Media podcast dedicated to the empowering movement of literally not caring. It’s called Trying Not to Care and a great place to start is with the episode Learning to Become Unbothered

Remember what you know is true. 

At the end of the day, you have to know who you are. If you have a strong sense of self, then what other people say can shake you down. When dealing with other women, rejection and judgment is sometimes inevitable (it’s one of the reasons girl friendships are SO hard!), but what others think of you doesn’t have to be your business. Their opinions don’t define you. 

This process takes time, but if you’re ready to develop your self-worth and be the independent baddie you were born to be, listen to these women leaders and what they have to say about you and your self-worth through adversity: 

List of things to do when someone talks bad about you.

People are going to talk bad about you, but you have the power to choose how you respond.

People talk bad about you sometimes. No matter what, it always hurts. However, the best way to handle it and grow as a person is to consider carefully how you respond. There is no sense stirring up drama like we’re in high school or on a reality show. Be an adult, respond wisely, and know you’re amazing by remembering all your great qualities and rocking this Good as Gold sweatshirt or this Celebrate Your Wins tee. Don’t let anyone get you down, guys!

Two women having a deep conversation on a couch