Which would hurt your feelings more?

I had this little thought experiment going on in my head and I was wondering how other people would feel.

Say you had this really close friend and for some reason they began to think you were a loser and weren’t going to amount to anything or something you fear yourself, but didn’t want to hear. Would it hurt you more if that person said it straight to your face or if you heard it second-hand from a mutual acquaintance? What would be more damaging to your psyche? This person coming right out and telling you or finding out that the close friend was saying this to other people but hadn’t told you yet?

And no, this is NOT a real life example, I was just wondering for other purposes…

Honesty wins, every time.

Hearing it second-hand would hurt just a little bit more, I think. Knowing that this friend felt that way and talked about it without my knowing would add another dimension of shame and pain.


It would definately hurt worse to hear it from someone else. If the friend is telling you directly, it may be because they want to help you. If you hear it from someone else, then it basically feels like they’re just saying it to make fun of you.

If I heard from someone else that a particular “friend” said something like that about me, I would promptly and without fanfare drop that person as a friend.

I have no time for a person like that. Why would I want to be “friends” with someone who thinks that about me?

If the person spoke to me directly about it, I might think differently. That would seem more like the friend wants to help me solve a problem and get my life back on track.

Direct honesty is always the best policy. I’d be really hurt if I found out a friend was talking behind my back, and that would end or at least severely damage the friendship.

It’s a tough one. On one hand, I always fear there’s some major flaw with me but people are too polite to say. On the other hand, I think it would be devastating to hear it directly. I’ll have to say that being told to my face would be more damaging. There’s no way it would be some sort of desire to help – if the person had a desire to help, they would have told me before it got to that stage. There’s no nice, helpful way to say “you’re a loser and I’m tired of you.”


I’d rather hear the truth from the horse’s mouth - any day. I believe talking about someone behind their back is indicative that the offender isn’t worth having as a friend. YMMV.

Shalom aleichem - Jesse.

Okay, now my motive for asking this question.

I am working on a screenplay and I wanted to know what would be more emotionally devastating to a person.

Thanks for the input so far.

G’morning Shawn!

I hope the perp in your play is a proverbial bad guy because whichever way he chooses to hurt someone else is going to make him a bad guy in the eyes of your audience. (I’m an author too and have been for - since the ark set sail.) They aren’t going to forgive him for it. Perhaps they should, but they won’t, and that’s just how it goes. :wink: - Jess.

I’d rather hear it second-hand, because then I could pretend that the hearer wasn’t telling the exact truth of what my friend said. Plus, it would give me time to think it over and confront the friend.

So directly would be worse.

“Dude…you’re the one hanging out with me.”