Being lied about is upsetting. Our instincts are to defend ourselves from the slander. But is that really the best way to deal with it?
As Taylor Swift wrote in her brilliant song – Shake it Off, people who hate you will lie about you in an attempt to get others to hate you too. And she knows what she’s talking about. She has been through it. Most well known artists have.
So, how do you deal effectively with someone lying about you? Ms. Swift is correct – you need to shake it off. Often, the best response is to not respond.
I am a professional woman. I run my own business. I am active in several non-profit organizations and sit on the board of 2 of them. And occasionally, I’ve had people lie about me. In one case, it was because they were blaming me for their screw ups. In another, I’m not sure. You can actually go and read a nasty review about my bullying book by one of them on amazon. They are anonymous. I have an idea of who it may be, but I’m not entirely sure.
None of the lies that have been told about me over the years, from when I was young, to when I was a teenager, to my early working years to now. I have had some pretty crazy lies told about me by various people who decided they didn’t like me for whatever reason they had.
In reality, I am a very nice person. Most of the time anyway. We all have our moments.
The reason my reputation is so good, despite all the attacks is because – I don’t fight back. I don’t defend myself. I don’t think I need to. The people who know, know. The people who matter to me, know the truth.
Yes, there will always be some people who believe the lies. But … there are also people who reach out specifically to support you – even though they don’t know you. Trust that good people can see through the nonsense. They can. I am living proof that they can. Taylor Swift, is living proof that they can.
The more you respond to negativity with grace and dignity, the more obvious the lies about you become.
Is this easy to do? No. It takes practice. It takes shutting down you defense mechanisms that scream at you to respond. Don’t. If someone is lying, they don’t deserve your time and energy. And that is what they want. They want you to respond. Don’t give them the what they want. If you respond, you validate their framing of you.
What happens when you don’t respond? Well, in my experience they start recruiting surrogates they think you will respond to. Ignore them to. If they lie, just – smile and walk away. Don’t take the bait. If you are asked about the lies, just smile and say, yeah, that’s so weird. And make it clear you aren’t bothered by it and aren’t paying attention to it.
The best way to not pay attention to it? Get on with your life. Get on with doing the good deeds you like doing. Get one with helping other people when you can. Get on with being a good person. The more good you do, the more the liars lies become obvious.
Is this easy to do in the moment? Oh heck no it is not. It may take every ounce of self control you have to not lash out. But if you lash out – you verify the lies about you – so don’t do that. If you need to vent, find a safe person you can trust to vent to. I have family members I can whine and cry to when things get bad. I also have friends in totally different fields of work that I can vent to. Just don’t do it publicly and you will be fine.
The best antidote to being lied about, is proving the lies wrong. You can’t do that with your words. You can only do it with your deeds. So – take Ms. Swift’s advice and Shake it Off!!! Oh and in case you were wondering, yes, this approach is also validated by the science. If you want to learn more about that – get my book or take one of the online classes.