In light of the prohibition against believing rechilus, one might ask: How can we ever consider such information to be constructive and permit listening to it? What purpose could there be in listening to information which one is not permitted to believe?
The answer to this is found in the halachah which differentiates between acceptance of rechilus as fact, which is prohibited, and the taking of appropriate precautions on the chance that the report may be true, which is proper. To believe rechilus is foolish and wicked; to ignore it is naive and irresponsible.
While one must not allow his relationship with the person to be affected by what was said about him, one must protect himself from the possibility of harm.