I just got an(other) email from a teen being tormented by rumors. This stuff makes me angry and frustrated and sad. I have a pretty clear sense of how it makes the kids who’ve been targeted feel…. in a word, powerless! And while it’s true no one has the power to un-do a rumor that’s out there, if you or someone you know is suffering from the damage of a rumor, please read on. You are not powerless.
There are people spreading rumours at my school saying I had sex with my boyfriend behind the building. I don’t know how it started, and it’s not true! This is horrible and it’s hurting me and my boyfriend a lot! I am getting many harsh words and looks from people I don’t even know 🙁 What am I supposed to do ? Help me please!!!!!!
Lost and Hurting
Dear Lost and Hurting,
I’m really sorry people are being cruel to you and to your boyfriend. People who spread hurtful lies lack self-confidence and compassion. What can you do about what they’re saying? Well, unfortunately, you can’t un-do the rumor. It’s out there. You also can’t un-do any assumptions people have made about you and your boyfriend. What you CAN do is:
- Hold on to your self-respect.
- Hold your head high because you know that you’ve done nothing to be ashamed of.
- Try not to let them upset you with their “harsh words and looks.” I know that’s not always easy, but you impress me as a girl who is strong and self-confident, so work on staying in control of your emotions.
- Do not talk to anyone about the rumors or about the people who are spreading them. That would only increase the “warfare.” It’s not helpful. Don’t go there.
- If someone says something to you, look them in the eye and simply and calmly say, “That’s not true.” No yelling. No trying to convince anyone of anything. Just state the fact: “That’s not true.” Then end your part of the conversation.
Hopefully this “social garbage” (which is exactly what rumors are) will fade away soon. Your real friends will stick with you. If this garbage doesn’t fade away and you continue to be harassed, please talk with the school counselor and/or your parents.
I hope this helps.
Oh, and read this blog of mine about teen rumors.
She wrote right back:
Thank you so much Terra!!!! I’m really grateful! 🙂
Then so did I:
I’m glad to know that I’ve helped in some way. Enjoy the rest of your holiday weekend. And on Sunday night, re-read my email, especially the things you CAN do, so if the garbage rumors continue on Monday, you’ll know how to take care of yourself.
Ninety-nine percent of the time I get email about rumors, it’s from the person being victimized. But that’s just one side of the story, isn’t it? We all know that rumors go nowhere without many willing mouths (and fingers) to spread them. If you’ve spread a hurtful rumor, (whether you started it or not) and you now regret the pain you caused, that’s a good place to start thinking about rumors and all of this stuff. You can’t un-do what you did, but you’re not powerless. You can still make things better. Got some ideas how?