This fight goes 15 rounds. And it's bloody. Only you can decide if both sides win.
But what if it's true?
You've been hearing about your friend and what they did or said and all the reasons why for a while now. You refused to believe it. You took the high road and gave someone close to you the benefit of the doubt. And then you found out it was true all along.
There's a certain sick feeling that comes when all your good faith disintegrates at once. Yes, that's usually how it works, too. 100% of your faith disintegrates and nothing is left behind to capture your friend's fallen reputation. But does it have to be that way? I think that many times it doesn't.
One thing that has helped me is to place myself in the position of the person who let you down. I know that sounds like fortune cookie wisdom, but really think about this. What if everyone repeated the things that I said when I had a bad day, or drastically misunderstood someone else's actions, or felt lonely, or singled out, or ashamed, or any of those things that affect our thoughts and words so easily? I've been angry with my family. I've been angry with my best friends. I've been angry with you. And as a result, I've said and done some things that I regret.
A lot of times those things haven't been done in a crowd, though sometimes they have. Occasionally they even go around the rumor mill and get twisted and inflated (as always). But what if the standard of judgment was really for the things I've said and done, regardless of mood, circumstance, misunderstanding? This is important because that's the part people never include in the gossip!
Along with that, if you really knew the ugly things I've said or thought behind closed doors and judged me by them, you probably wouldn't want to be around me. And I imagine I could say the same thing about you. What's the greater sin? The number of people you made laugh at your friend's expense? Or tried to impress with your shallow and thoughtless deeds? Or...
Is it the pride on the inside? The hatred you hold in your heart? The bitterness you feel not for anything anyone else has done, but because of your own insecurities?
What if we were judged by those last three? What if it was about what really is going on in my life instead of a conversation that someone just happened to overhear? I'm afraid the playing field would be leveled--and real quickly. It's so much easier to just judge people by the hearsay. Because then I don't have to look inside. How much better off is the man who is willing to see deeply, think deeply and love deeply and do all in his power to hold on to a friend?
So be merciful to the people in your life. They might have just been having a bad day. And on that bad day the wrong person might have heard them or seen them and it somehow got back to you. Really, that may be all there is to it.
Of course, there is a time to part ways, but in my observation, relationships that end like this usually end too soon, with too much anger and with not nearly good enough reasons.