Admitting to your wrongdoings is hard.
No one wants to look like the bad guy, and everyone sees the situation differently. You may have heard that there are three sides to every story, but truthfully, there are infinite. Everyone has an opinion as to who started it and who is to blame.
Then, there are those times where it seems everyone and their mother sees the same issue with the same person; in a close group of friends, this can be a toxic problem (also known as a gas-lighter), but every once in a while, we come across a complete stranger who's on a mission to boost him or herself up by any means possible.
Let me give you an example.
Recently, I attended a concert at a bar packed with dozens of other college students. It was brought to my attention that a girl who was interested in my boyfriend addressed him and referred to me as "the ugly bitch following [him] around."
Now, I was always taught not to start fights but to finish them in the most civil way possible. I know an insecure mean girl when I see one (cold stare, superficial demeanor, failure to make eye contact with those who actually defend themselves), and I'm sure I wasn't the first "new" girlfriend she had ever talked poorly about out of jealousy. Most girls who make nasty comments about people they don't even know cower at the thought of saying it to their faces. This simple fact of life was the only thing I needed on my side.
I decided to confront her.
She was at a table with another girl and a group of guys that were paying her no mind. I could tell she was still staring and whispering to her friend, so I turned around and said with a friendly smile, "Excuse me, I just wanted to make sure you knew that I don't need a face full of makeup to feel secure or get a man."
As I walked away with the same amount of confidence I usually have, I pondered if I was wrong for confronting her or if I had stooped to her level.
A minute or two passed, and then she followed me-- and she brought her friend.
Suddenly, I "had it all wrong."
She claimed to have no idea what I was talking about, telling me she didn't even know anyone in the area. I nodded as she continued to spew lies and make it look like I was in the wrong for defending myself. As they turned to walk away, her friend yelled another nasty comment at me over her shoulder, but the fact that she mentioned his name when I hadn't gave them away. I raised a brow, shook my head, and continued on with my night.
Her stares had gone from vicious to insecure.
At first, I felt a little bad about what I said, but I soon realized it was likely the wake up call she needed. There's truth in the timeless theory that people are mean because of their own insecurities, and it's sad that bullies aren't confronted or called out on their bullshit more often. Some people disagree with the eye-for-an-eye method of solving problems, but in some cases a simple taste of one's own medicine is enough for a mean-spirited person to realize, "Oh, maybe I shouldn't treat people this way."
Unfortunately, this is usually a temporary 'band-aid' fix. People who say or do things out of spite aren't likely to give an apology and are even less likely to change. There's also the possibility that saying something could make the situation worse.
Every situation is different, so just be sure to use your best judgement.
I'm sure some people would cheer me on for what I said, and others would tell me I was wrong for stooping to her level. You can't please everyone, and I know that whether I had defended myself or not wouldn't lessen my self-confidence just as it shouldn't yours.
Regardless, the best way to combat a denier is to shake your head and laugh it off because pity parties and excuses will only get them so far.