Dear Harlan: Do you believe that people who say bad things about other people will say bad things about you too? I’ve gotten to know someone this year. She’s kind of uncensored. Sometimes she will come off as harsh and mean. She can go off on someone like I’ve never heard. It’s a big attitude. I’m on her good side and find her rants amusing. My parents tell me to watch my back with this new friend. Whatever she says about other people she will say about me. It’s made me all paranoid about what I share with her. Do you think this is true?
— True or False
Dear True or False: Generally, I agree with your parents. How someone talks about other people is how that person will talk about you if things go wrong. She knows how to attack people if she chooses to go on the offensive. That said, your parents might be jumping to conclusions. Look at this person’s relationship resume. Does she have any old friends? Is there anyone in her life who has stuck around? How is she with family? If she has no friends, hates everyone in her past, and leaves a wake of destruction, you can trust that your parents are right. If she has a big personality and a big group of long-lasting friends, she might have a big mouth but be loyal. Like any new relationship, give it time. That’s the only way to know if someone has your back or will stab you in the back.