A few years back, I started working at a new place and had the distinct impression that everyone was nice. Indeed they were all nice – but only to me!
A couple of years later, I started hearing stories about what was really happening in the backstage. Suddenly the place went from being peaceful to being conflictive due to those stories being unveiled and passed on and on… until tensions were strengthened. Gossip ruled.
You might argue that it was important for me to know who those people really were. But I beg to disagree. Those people were nice to me. That was enough for me to know.
Sadly we have this tendency to want to expose and punish others once we find out about their “evildoings”. But that doesn’t change who they are. Only they can change who they are. Also the expose + punish attitude lacks compassion. I personally prefer a different approach: I protect myself and try to interact with those people only in ways that I find edifying.
You would be surprised at how much people dedicate themselves to doing good to you if you treat them with kindness. And, who knows, they might just love the feel of kindness and eventually change into a much better version of themselves.