You’re having lunch with three people you respect and admire. They all start criticizing a close friend of yours, not knowing she is your friend. The criticism is distasteful and unjustified. What do you do?
This happens quite a lot. Maybe not to the same extent as the question probably means. But I have friends (we’ll call them A) who absolutely do not like other friends of mine (we’ll call them B.) A hates B. B started out really wanting them to get on, but I think has pretty much given up hope about it. So I have these two groups of friends who are somewhat at odds and I listen to it.
Sometimes I let the criticisms go over my head. Sometimes they are true. Nobody is perfect; everyone has their flaws. But then I go Mom on everyone’s ass and tell them to leave B alone.
If the people I respected were not my friends, but more people whose work I had respected or something, I probably would stay quiet. But I’d have a lot less respect for them afterwards.