One degree away from an outright lie is hearsay. It’s faulty information that has been lost in translation, and then mangled before some “well-meaning” gossip feels you need to hear it. If you’ve ever played the game “telephone” as a child, you know that no message, no matter how much effort is expended, retains its original meaning as it travels through the grape vine.
Do not, ever, make decisions or base your direction on heresay. If you are hearing conflicting messages about a person or event, or have not heard directly from the actual person being talked about, forget what people have told you and go to the source. It is the only way to guarantee you are receiving the most accurate account of what’s happening.
Sometimes that can be awkward. If someone has scared you into thinking a person “has it out for you”, you may be in for a confrontation. Or, you may come to realize the person you thought was an enemy actually supports you more than the rest. Do not depend on information heard second and third-hand, go to the source.