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How to fight bad gossip

Dear Cary,

A few months ago, I got a new supervisor at work.  I was excited because this is someone I’ve known for years, and have even considered a mentor in the past.  Unfortunately, I had a string of personal losses in the past few months — deaths and major illnesses of loved ones, that sort of thing — and I recently realized I was skating the edges of depression and taking it out on my supervisor.  I’ve been working to repair the damage I did, since even though it was inadvertent, it was clearly my doing.  So I was feeling pretty good about that, but then I learned that my supervisor, who is not on Facebook, has been told by others that I’m saying nasty things about her there.  I have no way to determine whether these folks are being willfully malicious, generically shit-stirring, or just very foolish, but in any case, I haven’t said anything at all, bad or good.  So I’m doubly hurt by this, first that some unknown entity would either lie or egregiously misinterpret and assume the worst, and second that my old mentor would choose to believe these stories without even questioning me.  In my head, I’ve run through various scenarios, including printing out my entire Facebook history to show her, and, well, things that are even less sane.  I want to do the sensible, straightforward thing and just tell her it isn’t true, but I’m worried that she won’t believe me or I’ll get defensive and set the relationship back again.  What can I do?

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