I like to take people at face value. One of the negative things about living in a small town is that you inevitably hear ABOUT some people before you hear FROM them. It's hard to give some people a fair go when your ears are ringing from warnings by the town gossips. But, nevertheless, I do try. I would hate it some people had made their mind up about me because of something (potentially) untrue that someone else had told them. That has happened because we are Christians and some locals don't like the church, so they therefore decide not to like us. It's also happened because of where Duncan works. He works for a corporate farm and some locals don't like the fact that farms were bought by a big businessman in Perth (never mind that he has brought heaps of young families to the town, but....I digress). Duncan has had to put up with a few rude comments from some old codgers.
I remember receiving a warning from two (rather gossipy) people about another woman I had got to know. As I got to know this woman, I found out that the gossip was untrue. But, after a while, when the only interaction I had with her was via Facebook, I saw a different side to her. She was quite rude to me online and I ended up unfriending her on Facebook. I realised that what the gossips were saying had some merit.
That's the hard thing about friendships. Sometimes people are nasty and start rumours that aren't true. But sometimes they are just wanting to warn people not to become friends with a toxic person. To be honest, I've wanted to warn others NOT to be friends with some people because of a negative interaction I've had. At the same time, we're all different and attracted to different qualities in our friends. A person I think is rude, you might think is lovely and vice versa.
It's a tough one.