How Do You Handle It If Your Friend Group Starts Talking Smack About Your Sibling?

Criticism and complaints are hard to avoid when friends and family hang out together.

When Ariana Madix’s younger brother Jeremy Madix asked SUR hostess Billie Lee out, it caused a lot of drama for the Vanderpump Rules crew. And a good solid hour of delicious TV.

Jeremy became the subject of gossip when SUR hostess Billie Lee revealed to Stassi and Kristen that he had asked her out on a date, and comments were made about his past behavior as a “creep.”

Of course, it all got back to Ariana, who shut that s**t down immediately, upset that her fellow SURvers would speak ill of her sibling, who actually lives with her and Tom Sandoval, who, like a good boyfriend, also defended Jeremy like a brother.

Oh, and that fire at SUR? Lisa thanked Jeremy in cash because he basically saved the place from burning down, so she loves him too.

This all started when Stassi claimed that Jeremy was talking up multiple women in a creepy way at Katie's wedding last summer. And, we know, talking smack comes with any friend group territory, like it or not, but when your close-in-age sibling is part of your social circle, what do you do when you hear that friends have been putting him or her down? Blood is thicker, after all…

“When it comes to siblings, or family, for that matter, regardless of our own feelings, when others are critical we tend to jump to defend family,” Camilla Mager, Psy.D. and Licensed Clinical Psychologist tells Personal Space. “The simplest way to intervene when you hear someone criticizing a family member is simply to call them out with, ‘Hey, regardless of what you think, he is my brother and I love him’ or ‘He is family - you’re not going to find a sympathetic ear here.’”

Good advice. Who would talk badly about family to family anyway? Of course it’s going to get back to them.

“Most people tend to understand that there are different rules when it comes to family,” Mager adds. “As much as I may criticize them, when you criticize them it’s a totally different ball game.”

Lauren Eavarone, who offers family and relationship counseling in New York City, says, “Dealing with conflict between friends and loved ones is no easy task as both social connections and family connections add value to our lives.”

She reminds us that you can’t control what others say, you can only control your reaction to it.

“An important point to keep in mind is that we can only control our own words and behaviors,” Eavarone says.

So was Ariana right to leave that drinks do with Stassi, Kristin, and Scheana? Yup.

“You can’t dictate how your friends are behaving but you can choose to assert yourself and establish boundaries within your friendships. It’s a means of establishing trust, respect and safety that is useful for any relationship,” Eavarone says. “Discuss with them how this is hurtful, not only to you, but to someone you care about. Although they may have their opinions, which you cannot change, you can make a request (avoid demands) to not speak about your sibling.”

Tell them honestly how you feel.

“Being honest with your friends about how the gossip is upsetting to you allows them the opportunity to no longer do it,” she adds. “Don’t assume that they ‘should’ know that such discussions would be hurtful as they may be assuming you think your sibling is a ‘creep’ too — so it’s no big deal. A little honesty and openness goes a long way. Speaking with a professional who specializes in relationships can be useful to help in processing the negative consequences you and your sibling are experiencing and assist in developing communication skills to help you get your experience across to your peers more effectively.”

Ariana and Tom not only have no issues with Jeremy, he currently still lives and works with them.

"He still works at SUR and then he's doing a lot of photography and video editing," Ariana told The Daily Dish earlier this season. "And he's got a lot of friends and I never see him. He's in and out all the time. Well, [he] lives with us, but he's literally never home. It's good to be busy and I want him to be busy and I want him to be pursuing all of these things that he's wanted to do. So I'm happy."

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All Posts About:
Ariana Madix Tom Sandoval Stassi Schroeder Katie Maloney-Schwartz Kristen Doute

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