How to Fight a Smear Campaign

5893263581_249e418b30_zSo someone has got it in for you….

They’re spreading rumors, telling others how bad you are and even reporting you to the authorities.

How best can you fight their campaign?

Let’s have a look at a story that took place in a beautiful little town nestled in the mountains of South Africa.

The town attracts artistic and unusual people who come to live there and find ways to make a living. This in turn attracts tourists…

About a year ago, someone I know well moved to this town.

She is vibrant, creative and energetic. Her restaurant reflects her personality – Delicious food is presented with exceptional flair. Her shop is stocked with quality, interesting and unusual artifacts – far from the usual tourist shop filled with “Made in China” trinkets.

A couple who owned another restaurant not far away (its a small town remember!) did not take kindly to this new intruder. Feeling threatened by the competition they decided to take it out!

An intense smear campaign ensued.

The newcomer was reported to the authorities – people eating at her restaurant supposedly suffered from diarrhoea and alien plants were growing in her garden.

Rumors were started by the couple that the newcomer was having an affair with one of the regular patrons of her restaurant.

An organization held a meeting at the other couple’s restaurant. The organization wanted to meet there regularly. They were told they were welcome – as long as they boycotted the newcomer – her restaurant and shop.

At  church, the couple used their position to influence more townspeople against the newcomer.

The smear campaign was in full force.

Y0u might be wondering

how the new restaurant owner fought back…..

She didn’t!

She used her own value system to guide her behavior. She served the best food; she focused on making her clients happy;  she was friendly and welcoming to anyone who walked into her restaurant. She even suggested the other couple’s restaurant when tourists were asking about places to visit….

Basically she focused on being her very best – and ignored the smear campaign.

3 things recently happened:

  • The townsfolk began supporting the newcomer more and more. Her restaurant is often filled with locals. They come there to buy gifts when needed. They pop in for a cup of the “best coffee”. They offer to do shopping for the owner when they drive over to the bigger town to get their supplies. (Think about it – would you support someone who was capable of a hectic smear campaign – after all – you could be next!)
  • The organization ignored the request of the other couple and decided to hold their monthly meetings at the newcomer’s restaurant instead.
  • Finally a delegation of dignitaries from the higher ranks of the couple’s church visited  them. They were hauled over the coals for their ungracious and destructive behaviors and told to mend their ways. They were asked to start conducting themselves in a manner befitting of the church.

The reality is that the smear campaign backfired. The couple have lost face and are the ones who look bad. The townsfolk don’t trust them anymore.

So if someone has got it in for you….

They’re spreading rumors, telling others how bad you are and even reporting you to the authorities.

How best can you fight their campaign?

The answer is DON’T.

Don’t fight!

Focus rather on being your very best. Hold onto your value-system. Choose to operate from an abundant mentality rather than a scarcity mentality.

The better person will always win in the end.

The better person is not the one busy with the smear-campaign.

 What you don’t see with your eyes,
don’t witness with your mouth.”
A Jewish Proverb

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About Kirsten Long

Coach. Toastmaster. Prison-worker. Wife. Mother. Friend.
This entry was posted in awareness, Choices, Lessons, Life Mastery, Values. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to How to Fight a Smear Campaign

  1. Olaf says:

    Hi Kirsten.

    Brilliant advice! I was once the target of what was more of a farce than a smear campaign: neighbours two doors down the street started a truly ridiculous story that I had murdered my first wife, and presumably some other “sordid details”. The people who lived between the rumour-mongers and me told me about it. I paid no attention to this nonsense, and the whole thing died down very quickly. Maybe if the story had been less radical it might have had some effect. By the way, I still have my first wife!

    • Kirsten Long says:

      Wow Olaf….isn’t it amazing how people make huge assumptions and then speak about them as if they were facts.

      The proverb at the bottom of my post is so apt, don’t you agree?

      Well done on ignoring the whole business and on still being with your wife – in this day and age that is an achievement!

      Kirsten Long recently posted..How to Fight a Smear CampaignMy Profile

  2. Ricky Engelbrecht says:

    Hi Kirsten

    Thank you for your article. I was just about to put on my boxing gloves and defend my self. Your insite into this situation makes me look at my self and see that I am a better person for attacking, but rather focus my energy and time on delivering a better me.

    • Kirsten Long says:

      Thanks for your comment Ricky. As Steven Covey taught us – putting a space between an event and our reaction gives us time to consider how we can constructively add value.

      A reader who has been through a really tough version of the story told me that the first thing he did was to see if there was any truth in what was said. This does have merit. It can help to see it from the other side and see what they see. He also agreed with not fighting back – even though this instinct is huge.

      Good luck and hold on to the best of yourself.


  3. Hi Kirsten,
    Great article. It’s almost counter-intuitive. Most of us when attacked, want to go on the offensive and attack bag.

    But, I like this concept of do your best art/work and your values will shine through.
    Jacques de Villiers recently posted..Authentic is the new fakeMy Profile

    • Kirsten Long says:

      Thanks Jacques. Yes the instinct to fight back is huge! If we are dealing with lies and “political” games then we just climb into the same bed as those who are trying to destroy our name!

      BTW The reason why I did not mention names and places was because I did not want to start a smear campaign of my own 🙂


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