I have always wondered about the intent of those who gleefully inform you that others have been talking about you. I have had it happen on occasion, and it is always embarrassing, humiliating and hurtful. Often the information is passed onto you with a smile, as though this is quite an enjoyable activity. The problem is that you don’t know the context in which the person was talking about you. Was your name brought up in conversation, and then something was said in passing? Were they tired, depressed, had too much to drink or angry at the time? We all slip up and say things in the heat of the moment. I would be more wary of the person who passes this information onto you. What good does it do? It can break friendships apart and cause you to retreat into yourself. It certainly doesn’t make you feel great. I don’t buy that you are informed for your benefit.
When somebody tells me something in confidence, it is kept private. That person may be having issues with a mutual friend, and I will try to help iron out a resolution. Imagine if I went to the other person and informed them that X said Y? Not only would it inflame matters, but it wouldn’t leave anyone feeling great. Discretion is necessary in friendships. I believe we all have a pretty good instinct as to whom is in our court, and who isn’t. We don’t need to hear this extraneous stuff from a third party. I have seen many friendship groups fall apart for this reason. If I ever hear stuff about a person, it dies when it hits my ears, and is never repeated from my lips. Life is challenging enough, without engaging in gossip!
People come to you with their own baggage. Imagine if someone has a terror of rejection, and you are flat-out at work at a certain point in time. They may complain that you aren’t there for them to someone else, or that you haven’t seen them. If this is relayed back to you, you may become angry at their lack of understanding of how hectic your life is. If left alone, you get in touch when you can, and have a delightful catch-up with this friend. It isn’t our job to run around informing others as to what was said in the heat of the moment. It’s schoolyard shenanigans, not befitting grown-ups.
You don’t diminish in worth by hearing that someone has said something mean about you, and you don’t increase in worth by hearing that someone approves of you. What you think about yourself is what matters. Remember, what others say about you is none of your business, and perhaps gently inform the gossiper of the same.