How To Deal with Gossip

Gossiping is a national pastime whether people admit it or not.  Most people have been the topic of gossip at least once in their lives.  Sometimes, people gossip about another person without malicious intent.  But there are those who take pleasure in rumor mongering.
One online dictionary defines gossip as “rumor or talk of a personal, sensational, or intimate nature.”  Gossip can be idle chatting or one that involves malicious chatter.  Gossip mongers are the people who engage in this type of conversation.
How do you deal with gossip?

  • Find the source of the gossip.  If people have been gossiping about you or someone close to you, find the source.  The person who started the rumor should know that what he did was wrong and unacceptable.  Tell the person that what he is saying is hurtful and if untrue, say so.  When engaging gossip mongers, always stay calm, cool and collected.  The way you react to the gossip may be used as the next water cooler topic.  
  • Don’t gossip.  Whenever someone tries to engage you in gossiping about another person, change the subject.  If the he goes back to gossiping, let him know that you are uncomfortable with talking about other people behind their backs. Otherwise, you can tell the gossip monger to talk to the person he is gossiping about to clarify his information.
  • Keep away from known gossip mongers.  If you know of people around you who live for gossip, avoid them as much as you can.  In the office, don’t spend time around the water cooler or break room where gossiping sometimes occur.  Find a lunch partner who doesn’t engage in gossip.  Otherwise, have lunch alone and use the time to catch up on a good book or do errands.
  • Delete gossip ridden e-mails.  Some people love to pass on rumors via e-mail.  Once you receive an e-mail containing rumors about someone else, delete it.  Never pass it on.
  • Guard the information you are privy to.  When you are around other people, be careful about what you say.  Never provide people who love to gossip with information they can use in their gossip mongering activities.  If someone shares important information with you, treat it as a secret.  Don’t talk to others your conversation at all.
  • Don’t give gossip mongers fuel for their fire.  If you are the subject of gossip, be aware of your behavior.  Keep a positive attitude at all times.  Deal with other people calmly and respectfully and be an example to others.  
  • Be careful with your own secrets.   Only share your personal information, views, or feelings with people you can really trust.  Have a confidant who will not gossip about you and your business to others.
  • Learn to let go.  Gossip mongers are relentless.  They leave and breathe gossip.  If they won’t stop talking about you even after asking them to, try to forget about them.  You cannot control other people.  But you can control yourself.  Eventually, if they have no more interesting tidbits to gossip about you, they will get bored and move on to another person.

You may find engaging in occasional gossip mongering fun except when you or a loved one becomes the target of the gossip.  If people are spreading lies about you, you and the people who care for you may get hurt. Avoid gossip mongers and don’t give them a reason to talk about you.  And vow never to become like one of them.


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