Social Question

harple's avatar

Who is the better friend - One who thinks badly of you for something but confronts you about it, or one who doesn't think those things in the first place?

Asked by harple (10427 points ) November 2nd, 2011

Sometimes we hear things about our friends from third parties that cast our friend in a bad light.

It is generally considered a sign of true friendship if you are able to talk to your friend about anything, even if they are the topic you wish to discuss…

But how good a friend are you if you hear someone saying something negative about your friend and give it any credence in the first place?

Is it one thing to tell your friend that you have heard something bad, but another to then quiz them on it?

Or, conversely, is it your duty to quiz them on it?

Where do you stand on this?

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17 Answers

boxer3's avatar

I generally stick up for people, to third parties that tend to try and discredit them, it doesn’t have to be a huge deal just usually something like,mehhh I dunno, so and so is one of my good friends, and really, it doesnt matter to me if they did xyz, they probably had a good reason- In a non attacking tone.

That being said I mean it all depends on the circumstance. I’m not affraid to tell my friends my real opinion of a situation in the sense if I think it’s in their best interest as an outside party looking in- however, my friends are their own people, and my friendship is for the most part unconditional- people make mistakes, and have different ways of life ya know..

SpatzieLover's avatar

I prefer confronters. I am bluntly honest and prefer my friends the same way.

I’m not into complacency.

marinelife's avatar

I would think it would be an act of friendship to let your friend know that someone is bad-mouthing them.

I would not accept something bad that I heard about a good friend.

Hibernate's avatar

Those that don’t think those things in the first place.
My 2 cents.

wonderingwhy's avatar

I think you’re discounting the fact that sometimes that bad light is deservedly cast. Regardless, I’d rather have friends willing to confront me when they find too much credence in what’s being said than turn a blind eye to everything.

Should you tell them or quiz them? As a friend you should know them well enough to answer the first as it varies from person to person. For myself, I really don’t care what others have to say behind my back but it’s always good to know who’s doing the talking. If you seriously think there is some valid issue at hand, then get it in the open – communication is a cornerstone in any relationship, friend or otherwise.

Meego's avatar

When I think about it my supposed “real” friends do not talk to me at all. They are not their for me, I continue to be there for them. Friends with no input suck.

I would rather have friends who give constructive criticism.

Coloma's avatar

Any relationship that is only about mirroring ones best self back to them is fraudulent.
Confrontation and honesty are the backbone of genuine relationships of all kinds.
We grow in intimacy through working through confrontation, not avoiding and sugar coating it.

Pandora's avatar

I don’t think either make a poor friend. The one who doubts probably is more realistic about people in their life. Which isn’t a bad quality. It means that they do their best to make sure they know who you really are. They are also most likely to be and unbiased sound board when you need one.
The other is perhaps too optimistic and less likely to ever offer sound advice. They may also be to desperate for your approval so they would never dream of critizing you.
Think of it this way. If you were sitting in a resturant and had sauce all over you mouth.
The first one would tell you to wipe it off. Maybe even joke about it.
The second one might try to wipe it for you so that would be awkward or maybe not say anything and hope you realize its there.

filmfann's avatar

I value the friends that can pull me aside, and say:“Wow, you were kind of a dick there…”

ddude1116's avatar

Do they not think bad of you because they condone whichever deed you’ve done? Then, they aren’t friends to keep, and will only get you deeper into shit. Assuming it’s anything to be concerned of.

dannyc's avatar

Neither. If you are their friend you will ignore their faults and focus on their good points.

zensky's avatar

The former. The latter sounds, well, dull. I don’t suffer fools gladly, let alone keep them as friends.

picante's avatar

Great question, Harple! I’m extremely conflicted on this matter, and as I’ve admitted in other threads, I’m unhappy with my own level of “dishonesty” in this regard. For me, it really depends on several factors. If the actions being reported are of little consequence to me, then I’ll likely just ignore the whole thing. Perhaps, at a point in the future, if the time and mood are just right, I might mention to my friend that I heard . . .

If the people who are reporting such actions of my friend strike me as silly or mean-spirited, I’ll likely try to call them out on it – challenge them around their statements. And I might tell my friend I did so.

If, on the other very uncomfortable hand, the reported actions seem awful to me and the statements seem legitimate, I’ll probably begin to distance myself from the friend. It’s the coward’s way out. But I’ve spent too much of my life trying to mold my friends into the likeness I’d like to have, and I’m simply worn out.

Coloma's avatar

@picante

You can also look at it as I do. We all get a 6th sense about whether someone is capable of having an “adult” conversation and whether or not they have the emotional maturity to “own” their less than perfect behaviors.

I have let go of two longterm friends in the last year when I could no longer ignore how their issues and behaviors were effecting me.

It became obvious the moment I spoke up to them that I was dealing with their wounded child and not the adult. Protecting their fragile egos took precedence over any desire for a healthy resolution to the issues.

“Game” over.

I am a direct and honest type that prefers to deal with like minded peeps that have the self esteem to self reflect, but, I am also discerning and if I discern, through diplomatic confrontation, that I am dealing with a child on an emotional level, well…..I don’t waste my energy attempting to be emotionally honest with those that have shown me they are incapable of the same.

When it comes to certain “types”, it’s going to be a lose/lose situation and you are better off just letting them go rather than setting yourself up for the wrath of the wounded child.

picante's avatar

@Coloma, you’re spot on with your comments. One of my frailties/faults, and I’m fully cognizant of it, is my childlike “hiding” when it comes to interpersonal conflict. My own wounded inner child was taught to live quietly, in fear. And she rears her tiny, trembing head when faced with the prospect of intense, emotional encounters.

On the other hand, the larval adult in me craves intense, emotionial encounters; and I probably seek those in all the wrong ways.

I am a very direct person in my professional life, and with my immediate family, I’m pretty outspoken; but I’m a coward through-and-through with my close friends. I want all the intensity to be on the exciting end of the spectrum.

I’m broken, I know it, and I hope to God I can overcome it someday. I’ve probably inflicted the wrath of my wounded child on those closest to me; and I’ve probably kept the beauty of my fully-actualized self hidden from those with whom I’d like to be closer.

Maybe I can be just like you when I grow up ;-)

Coloma's avatar

@picante

Hey, it’s not always easy and I’m still a work in progress as well.
We all have had our moments, especially in close relationships.
As long as we catch ourselves and take responsibility when needed, that’s all we can do.

However, there is a big dif. between an occasional moment and those that have more serious personality dysfunctions.

I am not a manipulative type, I am not passive aggressive nor dishonest, nor do I play “games” or use people. These are my biggest deal breakers.

Sheesh, it’s just not that hard to be “normal.” lol

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